Federal Pell Grant Eligibility 2011-2012 School Term
There have been minor changes made to the Pell Grant Eligibility during the 2011 - 2012 school term. While the SAFRA (Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act) implemented many favorable changes for the 2010-11 school term, a recent vote in Congress has reformed the Pell Grant program again. This change no longer gives students the ability to receive two Pell Grant awards for any one particular school year.
The maximum Pell Grant amount, EFC threshold, and application process will remain the same. Students that will attend summer school, will only be eligible if they did not receive an award during the previous spring, winter, or fall semesters.
Pell Grant Enrollment Eligibility
The minimum enrollment hours that were required to receive a Pell Grant have been eliminated. Students can now receive a Pell Grant even if they are going to school on a half-time or less-than-halftime basis. Students that are below the half-time status are now eligible to receive the Pell Grant, since the number of credits taken no longer affects eligibility.
Summer Pell Grants
Students can now receive a Pell Grant even if they are enrolled during the summer term with the current changes. Students in other non-traditional semester formats are also eligible to receive the Pell Grant.
Students will not be able to receive two Pell Grant awards during any one particular school year due to the recent government acts passed by congress. Students will not be eligible to receive a Summer Pell Grant if they already received a full award during the previous spring, winter, or fall semesters.
SAFRA: The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility ACT
The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009 (SAFRA) is a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives of the 111th United States Congress by Congressman George Miller that would expand federal Pell Grants to a maximum of $5,500 in 2010 and tie increases in Pell Grant maximum values to annual increases in the Consumer Price Index plus 1%. It would also end the practice of federally subsidized private loans, using all federal student loan funding for direct loans and potentially cutting the federal deficit by $87 billion over 10 years.
On September 17, 2009, the House approved the bill by a 253-171 margin. SAFRA was included in the health care reconciliation bill that passed on March 21, 2010 by a vote of 220-211 and signed into law on March 30, 2010 by President Obama.
The most critical revisions made to the Pell Grant have to do with the maximum EFC cutoff threshold, and the maximum Pell Grant amount, as both of these have been increased for the 2010-11 school year.
The maximum EFC cutoff threshold has been raised to 5,273 from 4,617, and will make the Pell Grant available to many more undergraduate students. This threshold of 5,273 is the maximum EFC value that you can exhibit in order to receive Pell Grant eligibility funding status. Any student with an EFC score of 5,273 or lower will now be able to qualify for a Pell Grant.
The maximum Pell Grant amount has also been increased from the SAFRA legislation, and now has a maximum of $5,550 dollars for the 2011-2012 school year.
Other 2011-2012 Pell Grant Eligibility Changes
Major changes to the Pell Grant relates to the amount of enrollment hours that must be completed during traditional school terms as well as the number of Pell Grants that students can receive for any one school year. Students now are no longer eligible to receive more than one Pell Grant during a school year. Students interested in taking summer school courses may not be eligible during the 2011-2012 school term if they receive a full Pell Grant during the school term.