Federal Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility
In December 2011, President Obama signed into law the consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 (Public Law 112-74). This law has significantly impacted the Federal Pell Grant Program. Beginning in Fall 2012, students are now limited to 12 full-time semesters (or 600%) of Federal Pell Grant eligibility during their lifetime. This change affects all students regardless of when or where they received their first Federal Pell Grant.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if this affects me?
- If you have attended college for 4 years or longer and received the Federal Pell Grant each semester of attendance, you are likely to exhaust or have already exhausted your lifetime limit of 12 full-time semesters of Federal Pell Grant eligibility during the 2012-2013 school year.
- If you have attended college for 3 years or less and received the Federal Pell Grant each semester of attendance, you will likely not surpass the lifetime limit during the 2012-2013 school year.
Whether you have used all of your Federal Pell Grant eligibility or only half, please be conscious about the lifetime limit of the Federal Pell Grant when changing majors and/or scheduling classes.
How is the percentage used calculated?
The percentages are based off of the annual award at full-time enrollment status.
A student attending in the academic year 2015-2016 at full time status and receiving their maximum annual award, the percentage used for 2015-2016 is 100%.
If the student attends only 9 credits (3/4 time) for each semester, the percentage used is 75%.
If the student attends only 6 credits (1/2 time) for each semester, the percentage used is 50%.
You can also visit Federal Student Aid's webpage "How is my Federal Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility Used calculated?"
How will I know if I have reached or are in danger of reaching the lifetime eligibility?
In mid-April 2012, the Department of Education began sending e-mail messages to all 2012-2013 FAFSA applicants who appear to be Federal Pell Grant eligible and have reported Federal Pell Grant disbursements that are in excess of 450 percent of their Federal Pell Grant lifetime eligibility. This process will be repeated weekly until July for FAFSA filers and filers making corrections to their FAFSA information.
Tracking Your Lifetime Eligibility Used on NSLDS
You can find your Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) for the federal Pell Grant by going to www.nslds.ed.gov and logging into your student account using your FSA ID. The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), tracks your lifetime Pell Grants, loan usage and over payment status. If you have loans, you may also view how much you owe and to whom.
The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS)
Create an FSA ID. As of May 10, 2015, students must have an FSA ID to access the FAFSA website AND to electronically sign Federal Student Aid documents such as their FAFSA application. Your FSA ID serves as your electronic signature and provides access to your personal records with the U.S. Department of Education systems..
Click HERE to "Create An FSA ID" and/or to review Frequently Asked Questions if you have not already obtained one when you completed the FAFSA application.
Access NSLDS by going to www.nslds.ed.gov. On the NSLDS homepage click on Financial Aid Review.
Read the privacy statement and, if you agree, click Accept to find your Lifetime Eligibility Used.
Enter your FSA ID Username (or Verified E-mail Address) and Password. As of May 10, 2015, students must have an FSA ID to access the NSLDS website. If you created one after May 10th, enter your FSA ID Username (or Verified Email Address) and Password then click Login. If you have not created an FSA ID yet, click on the tab “Create An FSA ID” to create one. For additional information about the FSA ID click here.
View the Financial Aid Review screen listing your total Lifetime Eligibility Used.
For additional information on Federal Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility contact:
Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) - 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243)
Page last updated 05 January 2018 | 15:04 PM (PST)