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Year-Round Pell Signed as A Provision of the Budget, We Render Our Opinion of How Procedures May be Applied


We have discussed the year-round Pell in past reports but now that it is going to happen in 2017-18 we will try to provide more detail. The final procedures for the program are expected to be published in a Dear Colleague Letter on or before July 1, 2017 so anything listed below is our judgement as to what to expect. Please remember that the remarks are our opinion, not fact.

The basic rule states that students who attend more than one academic year during the fiscal year (July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018) could receive up to 150% of whatever Pell they are eligible to receive. There is no acceleration clause and students may not receive an additional full Pell if they are in attendance for more than one payment period after the original academic year has been completed.

For example, if a student were eligible for a full Pell payment for two semesters, three quarters in 30 weeks or, 900 clock hours in 26 weeks and they began classes early enough in the fiscal year to complete that academic year before the fiscal year’s end, the student could receive an additional year-round Pell payment of 50% of the Pell eligibility for the period of attendance which began after the completion of the original academic year’s attendance.

We are assuming, but not sure, that students in a quarter term program would be able to receive one-third of a Pell for the additional quarter they attend and if that quarter’s term ended before June 30 and a new quarter began before June 30 the student could receive an additional seventeen percent of the year-round Pell which would bring the year-round Pell payment to fifty percent of the annual Pell award.

If a clock hour student began a program after July 1 and completed 900 hours in a minimum of 26 weeks before June 30, the student, we assume, would be able to receive an additional Pell payment for the next segment of hours completed. Since many clock hour programs are 1500 hours this example would allow the student to receive year-round Pell for the 901-1200 segment (300/900 X Pell award) and if any of the remaining hours (1201-1500) occurred before June 30, 2018 an additional amount for the balance up to 50% could be paid from the year-round Pell. Thus, the final year-round Pell payment would be for 17% of the full award. This student would basically receive 150% of their annual Pell eligibility.

Our final example is the student who began classes in the summer with summer classes being deemed a header on the academic year. If the student earned 12 credits during the summer term and 12 credits during the fall term and the full attendance for that academic year were a minimum of 30 weeks, the student will receive a full Pell payment from 2017-18 and then if the student continues attendance after the fall term they could receive an additional 50% of their Pell eligibility from the year-round Pell funds.

The above is hypothetical and subject to change when the final rules are released before July 1, 2017 so our readers should understand that even with our years of experience the situations may change as the bureaucrats apply their wisdom.

An area for all financial aid counselors to be aware of is the application of the Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) rules where a student may not receive more that 600% of their total Pell eligibility. If in the process of earning a degree or transferring to one or more schools using the year-round Pell payments could impact the student’s ability to receive funds. This situation needs to be addressed on an individual student basis as it could be unfortunate if a student were near graduation and were unable to receive additional Pell payments.

As a final example of the LEU situation let’s assume that the student transferred schools one or more times and in the processed changed their major program of study. If in the process the student may have received eight Pell payments which would be 400% of the Pell awards. Then add to the assumption to replace lost time with accelerated attendance the student used four year round-Pell payments of 50% each. This situation would put an end to that student’s Pell awards because they had received 600% of a full Pell. (400% from regular payments and 200% from year-round Pell.) This is all hypothetical but very real for students.

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