Federal Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU)

New Pell Grant Regulation:
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. The new law reduces the duration of Federal Pell Grant eligibility to 12 semesters or 600% Lifetime Eligibility of Pell Grant. Beginning with the 2012-2013 school year, this change affects all students regardless of when or where they received their first Pell Grant.

Students who are affected will be notified by the Central Processing System (CPS), the system that processes your FAFSA. If you have used at least 450% of your LEU, you will be notified via email. Check the email account you provided on your FAFSA.

How is the LEU calculated?
The LEU is calculated for each academic year, beginning with 1977-1978 and is based on the annual award. Each full-time semester equates to 50% of your total LEU which yields a maximum percentage of 600% for 12 semesters. Once you have used 600% of your Federal Pell eligibility, you are ineligible for further Pell Grant awards. 

Sample annual calculations:

  • If you received a full-time Pell award for both the fall and spring semesters, you have used 100% of your 600% lifetime eligibility.
  • If you received a half-time award in the fall semester and a full-time award in the spring semester, you have used 75% of your lifetime eligibility.
  • If you received a half-time award for both fall and spring semesters, you have used 50% of your lifetime eligibility.

How to track your Pell LEU percentage:
To track your Pell Grant history and your LEU percentage, visit NSLDS Student Access at https://nslds.ed.gov/nslds/nslds_SA/. This site is updated regularly with your Pell Grant awards as they are reported.

Can I appeal my Pell lifetime eligibility?
Pell LEU is not appealable. Federal Pell Grant limits are set by Federal law.  If you rely on Pell Grant funding, be conscientious about the lifetime limits when changing majors and/or determining your course load each semester.