Year-Round Pell After the Continuing Resolution
Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) that funds the Federal government for the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2011 and eliminates two Pells in an award year beginning with the second scheduled award for the 2011-12 academic year. Although final guidance from the Department of Education is still pending, schools should still be able to award second Pells from the 2010-11 award year for summer 2011 payment periods that either end before July 1, or that cross over July 1 and are placed in the 2010-11 award year.
Related to the year-round Pell elimination, the CR also includes a provision to lift existing Pell Grant crossover regulations for the summer of 2011. Institutions will not be required to assign a student in a 2011 crossover period to the award year which yields the higher Pell payment for the crossover period. If year-round Pell would have been eliminated without addressing the crossover regulation, a student in a crossover period with a higher payment for the crossover period from the 2011-12 award year would have been forced to receive funds from that year, potentially leaving them short of Pell funds in the spring. With the suspension of those regulations, schools can pay a student's remaining 2010-11 funds, including second scheduled awards, for the crossover payment period.
Assigning summer 2011 to the 2010-11 award year also opens the possibility of paying one more ACG or SMART Grant award for the summer period to students who qualify. Eligibility for these programs depends in part on Pell Grant eligibility in the same award year. The ACG and SMART Grant programs cease to exist at the conclusion of the 2010-11 award year.
While elimination of second Pells is permanent beginning with the 2011-12 award year, further action by the Department of Education (ED) is necessary to revert crossover rules permanently. ED will likely release its plans with regard to crossover Pells shortly. It is extremely important that institutions wait for guidance from ED before implementing any changes.