2021-2022 Catalog

Financial Aid - Pell Grant Lifetime Limits

In December 2011, President Obama signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 (Public Law 112-74). This law has significantly impacted the Federal Pell Grant Program. Beginning in Fall 2012, 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. Since this is a lifetime limit there are no grandfather clauses; it includes every semester a student has ever received a Pell Grant Award.

Students who have exceeded their lifetime limits have been alerted via email by the U.S. Department of Education during the processing of their FAFSA financial aid application. The percentages are based on the annual award at full-time enrollment status. For students with an annual award for the 2017-2018 academic year, attending 12 or more credits in each semester (Fall and Spring for example), the percentage used for the 2017-2018 academic year is 100%. If a student only attended 9 credits for each of the two semesters, the percentage used for the academic year would be 75%.

Effect on Students

Students should be conscious about the lifetime limit of their Pell Grant eligibility when changing majors and/or scheduling classes.

For the 2018-2019 financial aid awarding cycle, students who exceeded the lifetime limits or whose limits are greater than 450% have been identified in the College’s database and will be notified by the College regarding their percentage of Pell eligibility.

Students are encouraged to view the percentage of Pell Grant used by logging into NSLDS.ed.gov. The ‘Lifetime Eligibility Used’ percentage will be displayed in the ‘Grants’ section.

Financial Aid Policy on Repeat Coursework

Effective July 1, 2011, federal regulations (34 CFR Section 668.2(b)) limit student eligibility for repeated coursework. Only one repetition is allowed for a course that has been previously taken and passed. This change does not limit students from retaking previously passed coursework multiple times; it simply limits federal Title IV payment for previously passed courses.

Important points in this regulation:

  • There is no limit on the number of times that financial aid can pay for repetition of a course that has not been passed.
  • However, financial aid will pay for only one repetition of a course that was previously passed. (Passing includes grades of A, B, C or D.)
  • This regulation applies to both full-time and part-time students.
  • Full-time, for the purpose of determining repeat course eligibility, is defined as 12 credit hours.
  • A student who is enrolled in 15 credits, for example, including a repeat course, will not be impacted because the student is enrolled in 12 credit hours which are not repeats.

Federal Title IV aid will be based on the student's adjusted enrollment status. This recalculation will be applied regardless of whether a student received aid for previous course enrollments. Students will be notified by mail if they are receiving Title IV aid and enrolled in non-repeatable coursework for a term.

Example 1:

A student takes a course and receives a grade of ‘D’. The student needs a ‘C’ in the course to count toward requirements for the degree. The student retakes the course (and receives aid) and earns another ‘D’. Although the student still needs to retake the course, s/he is no longer eligible to receive federal aid for that course.

Example 2:

A student repeats a previously passed course. The student receives an ‘F’ on the second attempt. The student attempts the course for the third time. The third course attempt will not be counted in the total enrollment hours and the student will not receive aid for that class.


Example 3:


A student repeats a previously passed course. The student withdraws from the course on the second attempt. The student attempts the course for the third time. The third course attempt will not be counted in total enrollment hours and the student will not receive aid for that class.


Appeals: will be considered for students with extenuating circumstances and proper documentation of new program or transferring degree requirements and who are making Satisfactory

Academic Progress for financial aid.


With respect to Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) and these new regulations: a repeated course (along with the original attempt) must be counted towards maximum time frame and completion rate. In other words, if a student does NOT receive additional credit, the repetition may count toward total credits attempted in a semester, but NOT toward the total number completed. A student may fall into trouble with SAP if s/he repeats a significant number of classes for which credit has already been received.