Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced Year Round Pell grants will be available to students beginning July 1, 2017. This policy change will ensure hundreds of thousands of college students have the resources needed to finish their coursework in a timeframe that meets their individual needs.
“This decision is about empowering students and giving them the flexibility and support needed to achieve their goals,” said Secretary DeVos. “Expanding access to the Pell program, so that students who need additional resources can graduate more quickly and with less debt, is the right thing to do.”
This change in the Federal Pell Grant Program will allow an eligible student to receive up to 150 percent of the student’s Federal Pell Grant Scheduled Award beginning with the 2017–2018 award year.
To be eligible for the additional Pell Grant funds, the student must be otherwise eligible to receive Pell Grant funds for the payment period and must be enrolled at least half-time. For a student who is eligible for the additional Pell Grant funds, the institution must pay the student all of the student’s eligible Pell Grant funds, up to 150 percent of the student’s Pell Grant Scheduled Award for the award year.
Unless the student has remaining eligibility from the 2016-2017 award year, the Department strongly recommends that institutions award Pell Grant funds for this summer out of the 2017-2018 award year since the additional funding will be available later in the year (e.g., spring or summer of 2018).
Although institutions have the flexibility to assign crossover payment periods to either of the relevant award years, the new law provides that an institution must make the assignment “as it determines is most beneficial to students.” Therefore, that decision should be based on what is in the best interest of the student and maximizes the student’s eligibility over the two award years.