IMPLEMENTING YEAR ROUND PELL GRANTS

Year Round Pell Grants - Higher Ed Executives

As we first reported in May, Year Round Pell got a reboot recently with the passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017. Students can now get an extra semester’s worth of Pell Grants beginning on July 1st 2017. Recently, the Office of Postsecondary Education provided implementation guidance to schools and colleges so that they can begin implementing changes to their systems, policies and procedures. Here’s what you need to know:

Year Round Pell gives students up to 150% of the student’s Pell Grant Scheduled award for an award year, beginning with the 17-18 award year. To be eligible a student must meet all of the usual criteria for Pell eligibility, for instance having a clean (17/18) ISIR on file with a Pell eligible EFC and must be enrolled at least half time during the payment period in which the student receives any Pell grant funds in excess of their Pell Grant Scheduled Award.

DCL GEN 17-06 provides guidance on payment periods that include both June 30 and July 1 which overlap two award years. These are known as crossover payment periods and typically an institution assigns the payment period to either the ending/preceding award year or the new one. But the guidance issued under YRP allows institutions to assign the crossover payment period on a student by student basis even if the crossover payment period is ultimately assigned to a different award year than the award year used for the student’s other Title IV aid for that period. In other words, a student can get loans from say 2016-2017 and still get Pell from 2017-2018 (don’t forget you need that valid ISIR for 17/18).

Keep in mind though that the new law states an institution MUST make the assignment of crossover payment periods “as it determines is the most beneficial to students” and that means that the decision should maximize the student’s aid eligibility over the two award years and do what is in the best interest of the student.

The implementation guidance also explains how YRP works for transfer students, including internal transfers (i.e. a student who transfers from one program to another at the same institution) as well as external transfers (i.e. those transferring in from another college). Beginning with the 2017-2018 award year, a student who transfers can get their remaining Pell up to 150% as long as they are otherwise eligible and enrolled at least half time in the payment period for which the student receives the additional Pell grant funds. Awesome right? But don’t forget, any Pell Grants received count towards the Pell Lifetime Eligibility Limit which has not changed and is still capped at twelve semesters or 600%.

For more information check out DCL GEN 17-06