Changes to Pell Grant Eligibility

What has happened?

This change affects all students regardless of when or where they received their first Pell Grant. Students who are currently receiving the Pell Grant in the academic year 2011-2012 and have already used 600% of their Pell Grant eligibility will no longer be eligible to receive a Pell Grant starting Fall 2012.

Who does this affect?

In December 2011, President Obama signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 (Public Law 112-74). This law has significantly impacted the Pell Grant Program. Beginning in Fall 2012, students are now limited to 12 semesters or 600% (with each full-time semester representing approximately 50%) of Pell Grant eligibility.

How is the percentage calculated?

The percentages are based on enrollment status. Students using 100% of their Pell Grant eligibility would have taken 12 semester hours (full-time enrollment) for two semesters (e.g., fall and spring) for a total of 24 (or more) semester hours in an academic year.

So 12 semester hours equals approximately 50% of Pell Grant eligibility regardless of the amount of the Pell Grant received. However, this is not a hard-and-fast rule. Each student's eligibility will be calculated separately based on their Pell Grant awards and semester hours.

Can I see how much of my Pell Grant eligibility I have used?

You may view your Pell Grant usage by logging into

How do I know if this affects me?

If you have attended college for 4 years or longer and have received the Pell Grant each year, you are likely getting close to exhausting - or have already exhausted - your lifetime limit of eligibility during the 2012-2013 school year.

If you received second summer Pell Grant awards, the percentage of eligibility you've used will be greater than students who only received one Pell Grant award during an academic year.

If you have attended college and received the Pell Grant for 4 years or less, you will likely not surpass the lifetime limit during the 2012-2013 school year.

The Department of Education is in the process of sending e-mails and letters to students who after their review have used greater than 450% of their Pell Grant eligibility. Those e-mails and letters began going out on April 15, 2012, and will continue throughout the school year.

Where can I get more information if I have questions?

MCC's financial aid staff is available to discuss the new Pell Grant eligibility regulations. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid at 254-299-8698 or e-mail