Full-time status, as a school that utilizes standard terms, is based upon taking 12 credits per semester and each semester is 17 weeks. If a school’s summer term is 9 weeks long, can the institution consider 6 credits in summer to be full-time status?
Yes, however, for calculating Federal Pell Grant awards, if you are currently a Formula 1 or 2 school, making this change to the summer definition of full-time enrollment would require your institution to use Formula 3 for all terms. This change to the definition of full-time enrollment would also make the program nonstandard. The 2015-16 FSA Handbook, page 3-58 states:
“Term schools: using the formula for summer session
If your school offers a summer term in addition to fall through spring terms that qualify for Formula 1 or 2, you will calculate the student’s payment for the summer term using the same formula that you used to calculate payments for the other terms in the award year to which the summer term is assigned. If you use Formula 3 for Pell Grant calculations in any of the terms in an award year, then you must use Formula 3 for all terms in that program that occur in that award year, including the fall through spring terms. (Note that if your program is a standard-term program in the fall through spring and does not define full-time enrollment in the summer as at least 12 credit hours, you must use Formula 3 for Pell calculations for all terms in the award year.) With regard to enrollment status, your school must apply its definition of full-time status for the summer term consistently for all FSA program purposes.”
For more information on summer aid processing, pre-register for NASFAA's June 10 Summer Aid Issues webinar. It is free to all NASFAA members!
Publication Date: 5/20/2015