Pell Lifetime Eligibility

Effective with the 2012-13 academic year, Congress has changed the law to reduce the duration of a student’s eligibility to receive a Federal Pell Grant from 18 full-time semesters (or its equivalent)* to 12 full-time semesters (or its equivalent)*. The calculation of the duration of a student’s eligibility will include all years of the student’s receipt of Federal Pell Grant funding, regardless of when they first received a Pell Grant award.

*Two semesters of half-time enrollment equals one semester of full-time enrollment. Likewise, two semesters of less than half-time enrollment equals one semester of half-time enrollment.

What has happened?

In December 2011, President Obama signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 (Public Law 112-74). This law has significantly impacted the Pell Grant Program. Beginning with the fall 2012 semester, students are now limited to 12 semesters (or 600%) of Pell Grant eligibility during their lifetime. This change affects all students regardless of when or where they received their first Pell Grant. Students that are currently receiving the Pell Grant in the academic year 2011-12 and have already used 600% of their Pell Grant eligibility will no longer be eligible to receive a Pell Grant starting fall 2012.

How is the percentage used calculated?

The percentages are based off the annual award at full-time enrollment status. Learn more about the Pell grant lifetime limits at this Federal Student Aid webpage.

Whether you have used all of your Pell Grant eligibility or only a portion, please be conscious about the lifetime limit of the Pell Grant when changing majors and/or scheduling classes or if you plan to transfer on to a four-year school.

Can I see my lifetime Pell Grant used?

You may view your lifetime Pell Grant percentage used by logging into will include all Pell grants received over your lifetime from any College, not just LFCC. As long as you have not reached 600% of Lifetime Eligibility, you will still have some Pell Grant eligibility remaining.

Please contact the Financial Aid Office at 540-868-7130 or with any questions.

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