Did you know there’s a maximum amount of Federal Pell Grant funds you can receive over your lifetime?

Learn what the Federal Pell Grant limits are and how your remaining eligibility is calculated.

Calculating Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility Used

The amount of Federal Pell Grant funds you may receive over your lifetime is limited by federal law to be the equivalent of six years of Pell Grant funding. Since the maximum amount of Pell Grant funding you can receive each year is equal to 100%, the six-year equivalent is 600%.

How is my Federal Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) calculated?
How can I see my LEU percentage?
How can I learn more about Federal Pell Grants?


How is my Federal Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility Used calculated?

Scheduled award: The maximum amount of Federal Pell Grant funding you can receive is calculated for an award year. An award year is a period from July 1 of one calendar year to June 30 of the next calendar year.

Your scheduled award

  • is partially determined by using your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) that is calculated from the information you (and your family) provided when you filed your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSASM);
  • is the maximum amount you would be able to receive for the award year if you were enrolled full-time for the full school year; and
  • represents 100% of your Pell Grant eligibility for that award year.

Percent used: To determine how much of the maximum six years (600%) of Pell Grant you have used each year, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) compares the actual amount you received for the award year with your scheduled award amount for that award year. Of course, if you receive the full amount of your scheduled award, you will have used 100%. It’s possible that you might not receive your entire scheduled award for an award year. There are a number of reasons for this, the most common of which are that you are not enrolled for the full year or that you are not enrolled full-time, or both.

If you did not receive the full amount of your scheduled award, we calculate the percentage of the scheduled award that you did receive. For example, if your scheduled award for an award year is $5,000, but because you were enrolled for only one semester you received only $2,500, you would have received 50% of the scheduled award for that award year. Or if you received only $3,750 for the award year because you were enrolled three-quarter-time and not full-time, you would have received 75% for that year.

Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU): ED keeps track of your LEU by adding together the percentages of your Pell Grant scheduled awards that you received for each award year. The table below shows examples of the LEUs of three students who received differing amounts of their scheduled awards over a four-year period. 

Examples of Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility Used

Student A

Student B

Student C

Award Year 1

Pell Grant Scheduled Award

$5,550

$5,000

$4,000

Pell Grant Amount Received

$2,775

$3,750

$4,000

Percent Used

50%

75%

100%

Award Year 2

Pell Grant Scheduled Award

$5,200

$5,000

$5,550

Pell Grant Amount Received

$5,200

$5,000

$5,550

Percent Used

100%

100%

100%

Award Year 3

Pell Grant Scheduled Award

$4,700

$5,000

$5,550

Pell Grant Amount Received

$4,700

$1,250

$5,550

Percent Used

100%

25%

100%

Award Year 4

Pell Grant Scheduled Award

$4,700

$5,000

$5,550

Pell Grant Amount Received

$4,700

$5,000

$5,550

Percent Used

100%

100%

100%

Total Lifetime Eligibility Used — LEU

Note: From 2009–10 through 2010–11, it was possible for a student to receive up to two scheduled awards in a year. So some students will have a “percent used” of up to 200% for one or more of those years.

350%

300%

400%

If your LEU equals or exceeds 600%, you may no longer receive Pell Grant funding. Similarly, if your LEU is greater than 500% but less than 600%, while you will be eligible for a Pell Grant for the next award year, you will not be able to receive a full scheduled award.

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How can I see my Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) percentage?

You can log on to National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS®) using your Federal Student Aid PIN and view your LEU. The LEU will be found on the Financial Aid Review page.

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How can I learn more about Federal Pell Grants?

Learn more about Federal Pell Grants and how much you might receive in a year. If you have questions regarding your Pell Grant or the LEU, you can also contact your college’s or career school’s financial aid office. 

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