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Summer Federal Pell Grant

The Federal Pell Grant may be available year-round for undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's degree. Please note that some students may be required to enroll at least half-time in degree-pursuant courses to receive the Pell Grant for summer.

Federal Pell Grants for Summer

During the summer semester, students eligible for the Pell Grant may receive up to 150% of their scheduled award each year, but what exactly does that mean? If a student is eligible for Pell during the fall and/or spring semesters, they may qualify for Pell Grant for summer as well! Here is an example:

Jane, a Pell eligible student, was enrolled full-time during fall and full-time during spring, so she received $2500 for fall and $2500 for spring in Pell Grant. Under the 150% eligibility, Jane could receive up to another $2500 for summer (depending on enrollment). If she enrolls full-time in degree-pursuant courses, she could receive the full $2500. If she enrolls half-time in degree-pursuant courses, she could receive half of that amount ($1250).

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To be eligible for summer Pell, students must:

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Important Things to Keep in Mind

  • If a student has unsatisfied requirements for financial aid eligibility on the 2023-2024 financial aid year, they may need to satisfy those requirements before their Pell Grant eligibility can be determined.
  • Usually the Pell Grant alone is not enough to cover the full cost of attendance for summer, so students should consider other potential summer aid and options such as paying the remainder out-of-pocket, the monthly payment plan, and/or loans to cover summer expenses.
    • Many students use their full loan eligibility for the aid year during the fall and spring semesters. This means they do not have remaining subsidized and/or unsubsidized loans to help with summer expenses. Please see our summer financial aid webpage for annual loan limits.
  • The maximum amount of time a student can receive the Federal Pell Grant (prior to achieving a bachelor's degree) is known as their "Lifetime Eligibility." Students can receive the grant for up to the equivalent of twelve full-time semesters. Receiving Pell for attending one semester at full-time status means a student uses 50% of their Pell Lifetime Eligibility. Twelve full-time semesters equal a 600% maximum. If a student attends half-time, then that utilizes 25% of their 600% eligibility.
  • If a student completes the credits required for their bachelor's degree, they are no longer eligible for the Federal Pell Grant.

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Monitor Remaining "Lifetime Eligibility" for Pell

Students can monitor their lifetime eligibility used by logging in to the Federal Student Aid website using their Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID). This is the same username and password students use to submit the FAFSA. Students can see how much of their overall Pell eligibility they have used - their "lifetime eligibility" - after they log in to the Federal Student Aid website by looking at the "MyAid" section of the Dashboard, clicking on View Details, then clicking on the "Grants" tab.

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Minimum Enrollment

Students must enroll in a minimum number of credits in degree-pursuant courses for summer Pell consideration. The minimum credits are determined by their Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and enrollment during the prior fall and spring semesters. These courses you enroll in must be federal-aid eligible courses required for your degree completion.

  • If a student was enrolled full-time (12 or more credits) and received a full-time Pell Grant for both the fall 2023 and spring 2024 semesters, they must enroll at least half-time (6 or more credits) for summer in degree-pursuant courses to receive Pell.
  • If a student enrolled part-time (less than full-time) during fall 2023 and/or spring 2024, there is not a minimum credit requirement for summer to receive Pell, but enrollment must still be in degree-pursuant courses for Pell eligibility. These students would still have Pell eligibility remaining from their fall and spring semesters to use for summer.

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How Enrollment Impacts Pell Amounts

Pell Grant eligibility is based in part on the courses in which students begin attendance. Prior to the first course a student attends for a semester, eligibility could also be impacted by:

  • Adding additional courses that increase enrollment status;
  • Dropping courses that decrease their enrollment status;
  • Adjustments to cost of attendance (COA). COA is determined by a variety of factors, but in summer, it is particularly impacted by changes in enrollment – both the amount of hours and how long the courses go throughout the summer (which impacts how many weeks of living expenses can be budgeted in the cost). If those are reduced, aid may need adjusted because aid cannot exceed cost.

Pell Grant eligibility for the semester will be calculated based on the classes the student has begun attending by the first add/drop date that applies to the student’s enrollment. After this add/drop period, the Pell Grant may be reduced if a student does not begin attendance in their registered coursework, partially withdraws from coursework, or fully withdraws from the semester.

Pell Grant Amount Based on Enrollment

However, this can be impacted if enrollment changes, even if the enrollment changes after the grant disburses.

Degree-Pursuant Hours at Time of Disbursement Pell Grant Paid Degree-Pursuant Hours Change Pell Update
Full-Time (6 hours start in May, 6 hours start in June) Full-time amount Drops 6 hours that start in June before those classes begin Reduced from full-time to half-time amount
Half-Time (6 hours start in May) Half-time amount Adds 3 hours that start in June No change to amount
Full-Time (9 hours start in May, 3 hours start in June) Full-time amount Drops 3 hours that started in May and 3 hours that start in June Reduced to three-quarters-time amount
Full-Time (6 hours start in May, 6 hours start in June) Full-time amount Drops 6 hours that started in May and receives a “W,” then drops 6 hours that start in June before they begin Recalculated based on percentage of courses completed

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Dropping, Withdrawing, or Failing Classes

If you do not complete the classes that you are registered for during summer, you may owe money back for all or part of your Federal Pell Grant if it has disbursed. Financial aid is disbursed in good faith based on anticipated completion of the courses. If students do not earn credits for those courses due to dropping, withdrawing, or failing, they may have to repay aid funds. The amount that must be returned will be calculated based on the drop date, the number of credits, and the last day that you attended class.

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