For the First Time Since 2011, Qualified Students May Be Eligible for Additional Summer Pell Funds

NASFAA encourages Pell-eligible students to speak to financial aid administrators about the costs and benefits of enrolling over the summer. 

May 21, 2018 — While many students celebrate the arrival of summer break, for others it can be a stressful time. The costs associated with enrolling in and paying for summer classes can be a real challenge for low-income students. But this summer, Pell-eligible students will have more options than in past years.

Students and families will be able to make use of the expanded Pell Grant eligibility that was reinstated last year via the fiscal year (FY) 2017 appropriations process. Taking advantage of the newly available funds means that some students can take classes year-round—and graduate that much quicker, potentially saving them thousands of dollars on college costs for additional semesters.

The FY 2017 omnibus appropriations bill approved in May 2017 restored students’ access to additional Pell Grant funding in an award year, also known as “year-round Pell,” beginning with the 2017-18 award year. What this means for qualified financially needy students is that for the first time in seven years, Pell Grant funds can be used during the summer term.

Year-round Pell allows a student to receive more than one scheduled Pell Grant in an award year, up to an additional 50 percent of the student’s Pell Grant award. The current grant maximum is $5,920, which increases to $6,095 July 1 due to additional funding from Congress in FY 2018. The additional funds would count toward a student’s Pell Grant lifetime eligibility limit.

Lawmakers instructed the Department of Education (ED) to “implement this provision to maximize flexibility for institutions of higher education and avoid unnecessary administrative burdens while ensuring the best interests of students.”  

“NASFAA and its members have been advocating on Capitol Hill for many years now for the restoration of year-round Pell eligibility,” said Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. “Giving our nation’s neediest students access to their educational grant funding when they need it, rather than making them wait until the following fall semester to use it, will enable students to complete their education more quickly and take on less debt in the process.”

For more information about summer Pell eligibility, students and families should speak to their institution's financial aid office.

For more information or to speak to a NASFAA spokesperson, please email powerse@nasfaa.org or call (202) 785-6959.

About NASFAA  

The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) is a nonprofit membership organization that represents nearly 20,000 financial aid professionals at approximately 3,000 colleges, universities, and career schools across the country. NASFAA member institutions serve nine out of every ten undergraduates in the U.S. Based in Washington, DC, NASFAA is the only national association with a primary focus on student aid legislation, regulatory analysis, and training for financial aid administrators. For more information, visit www.nasfaa.org.

Publication Date: 5/21/2018


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