United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Nov 27, 2022

§ 1070a.
Federal Pell Grants: amount and determinations; applications
(a)
Program authority and method of distribution
(1)
For each fiscal year through fiscal year 2017, the Secretary shall pay to each eligible institution such sums as may be necessary to pay to each eligible student (defined in accordance with section 1091 of this title) for each academic year during which that student is in attendance at an institution of higher education, as an undergraduate, a Federal Pell Grant in the amount for which that student is eligible, as determined pursuant to subsection (b). Not less than 85 percent of such sums shall be advanced to eligible institutions prior to the start of each payment period and shall be based upon an amount requested by the institution as needed to pay eligible students until such time as the Secretary determines and publishes in the Federal Register with an opportunity for comment, an alternative payment system that provides payments to institutions in an accurate and timely manner, except that this sentence shall not be construed to limit the authority of the Secretary to place an institution on a reimbursement system of payment.
(2)
Nothing in this section shall be interpreted to prohibit the Secretary from paying directly to students, in advance of the beginning of the academic term, an amount for which they are eligible, in cases where the eligible institution elects not to participate in the disbursement system required by paragraph (1).
(3)
Grants made under this subpart shall be known as “Federal Pell Grants”.
(b)
Purpose and amount of grants
(1)
The purpose of this subpart is to provide a Federal Pell Grant that in combination with reasonable family and student contribution and supplemented by the programs authorized under subparts 3 and 4 of this part, will meet at least 75 percent of a student’s cost of attendance (as defined in section 1087ll of this title), unless the institution determines that a greater amount of assistance would better serve the purposes of this section.
(2)
(A)
The amount of the Federal Pell Grant for a student eligible under this part shall be—
(i)
the maximum Federal Pell Grant, as specified in the last enacted appropriation Act applicable to that award year, plus
(ii)
the amount of the increase calculated under paragraph (7)(B) for that year, less
(iii)
an amount equal to the amount determined to be the expected family contribution with respect to that student for that year.
(B)
In any case where a student attends an institution of higher education on less than a full-time basis (including a student who attends an institution of higher education on less than a half-time basis) during any academic year, the amount of the Federal Pell Grant to which that student is entitled shall be reduced in proportion to the degree to which that student is not so attending on a full-time basis, in accordance with a schedule of reductions established by the Secretary for the purposes of this division, computed in accordance with this subpart. Such schedule of reductions shall be established by regulation and published in the Federal Register in accordance with section 1089 of this title.
(3)
No Federal Pell Grant under this subpart shall exceed the difference between the expected family contribution for a student and the cost of attendance (as defined in section 1087ll of this title) at the institution at which that student is in attendance. If, with respect to any student, it is determined that the amount of a Federal Pell Grant plus the amount of the expected family contribution for that student exceeds the cost of attendance for that year, the amount of the Federal Pell Grant shall be reduced until the combination of expected family contribution and the amount of the Federal Pell Grant does not exceed the cost of attendance at such institution.
(4)
No Federal Pell Grant shall be awarded to a student under this subpart if the amount of that grant for that student as determined under this subsection for any academic year is less than ten percent of the maximum amount of a Federal Pell Grant award determined under paragraph (2)(A) for such academic year.
(5)
Notwithstanding any other provision of this subpart, the Secretary shall allow the amount of the Federal Pell Grant to be exceeded for students participating in a program of study abroad approved for credit by the institution at which the student is enrolled when the reasonable costs of such program are greater than the cost of attendance at the student’s home institution, except that the amount of such Federal Pell Grant in any fiscal year shall not exceed the maximum amount of a Federal Pell Grant award determined under paragraph (2)(A), for which a student is eligible during such award year. If the preceding sentence applies, the financial aid administrator at the home institution may use the cost of the study ab
(6)
No Federal Pell Grant shall be awarded under this subpart to any individual who is incarcerated in any Federal or State penal institution or who is subject to an involuntary civil commitment upon completion of a period of incarceration for a forcible or nonforcible sexual offense (as determined in accordance with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program).
(7)
Additional funds.—
(A)
In general.—
There are authorized to be appropriated, and there are appropriated (in addition to any other amounts appropriated to carry out this section and out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated) the following amounts—
(i)
$2,030,000,000 for fiscal year 2008;
(ii)
$2,733,000,000 for fiscal year 2009;
(iii)
to carry out subparagraph (B) of this paragraph, such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2010 and each subsequent fiscal year to provide the amount of increase of the maximum Federal Pell Grant required by clauses (ii) and (iii) of subparagraph (B); and
(iv)
to carry out this section—
(I)
$13,500,000,000 for fiscal year 2011;
(II)
$13,795,000,000 for fiscal year 2012;
(III)
$7,587,000,000 for fiscal year 2013;
(IV)
$588,000,000 for fiscal year 2014;
(V)
$0 for fiscal year 2015;
(VI)
$0 for fiscal year 2016;
(VII)
$1,320,000,000 for fiscal year 2017;
(VIII)
$1,334,000,000 for fiscal year 2018;
(IX)
$1,370,000,000 for fiscal year 2019;
(X)
$1,455,000,000 for fiscal year 2020; and
(XI)
$1,170,000,000 for fiscal year 2021 and each succeeding fiscal year.
(B)
Increase in federal pell grants.—
The amounts made available pursuant to clauses (i) through (iii) of subparagraph (A) of this paragraph shall be used to increase the amount of the maximum Federal Pell Grant for which a student shall be eligible during an award year, as specified in the last enacted appropriation Act applicable to that award year, by—
(i)
$490 for each of the award years 2008–2009 and 2009–2010;
(ii)
$690 for each of the award years 2010–2011, 2011–2012, and 2012–2013; and
(iii)
the amount determined under subparagraph (C) for each succeeding award year.
(C)
Adjustment amounts.—
(i)
Award year 2013–2014.—
For award year 2013–2014, the amount determined under this subparagraph for purposes of subparagraph (B)(iii) shall be equal to—
(I)
$5,550 or the total maximum Federal Pell Grant for the preceding award year (as determined under clause (iv)(II)), whichever is greater, increased by a percentage equal to the annual adjustment percentage for award year 2013–2014, reduced by
(II)
$4,860 or the maximum Federal Pell Grant for which a student was eligible for the preceding award year, as specified in the last enacted appropriation Act applicable to that year, whichever is greater; and
(III)
rounded to the nearest $5.
(ii)
Award years 2014–2015 through 2017–2018.—
For each of the award years 2014–2015 through 2017–2018, the amount determined under this subparagraph for purposes of subparagraph (B)(iii) shall be equal to—
(I)
the total maximum Federal Pell Grant for the preceding award year (as determined under clause (iv)(II)), increased by a percentage equal to the annual adjustment percentage for the award year for which the amount under this subparagraph is being determined, reduced by
(II)
$4,860 or the maximum Federal Pell Grant for which a student was eligible for the preceding award year, as specified in the last enacted appropriation Act applicable to that year, whichever is greater; and
(III)
rounded to the nearest $5.
(iii)
Subsequent award years.—
For award year 2018–2019 and each subsequent award year, the amount determined under this subparagraph for purposes of subparagraph (B)(iii) shall be equal to the amount determined under clause (ii) for award year 2017–2018.
(iv)
Definitions.—
For purposes of this subparagraph—
(I)
the term “annual adjustment percentage” as applied to an award year, is equal to the estimated percentage change in the Consumer Price Index (as determined by the Secretary, using the definition in section 1087rr(f) of this title) for the most recent calendar year ending prior to the beginning of that award year; and
(II)
the term “total maximum Federal Pell Grant” as applied to a preceding award year, is equal to the sum of—
(aa)
the maximum Federal Pell Grant for which a student is eligible during an award year, as specified in the last enacted appropriation Act applicable to that preceding award year; and
(bb)
the amount of the increase in the maximum Federal Pell Grant required by this paragraph for that preceding award year.
(D)
Program requirements and operations otherwise unaffected.—
Except as provided in subparagraphs (B) and (C), nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to alter the requirements and operations of the Federal Pell Grant Program as authorized under this section, or authorize the imposition of additional requirements or operations for the determination and allocation of Federal Pell Grants under this section.
(E)
Ratable increases and decreases.—
The amounts specified in subparagraph (B) shall be ratably increased or decreased to the extent that funds available under subparagraph (A) exceed or are less than (respectively) the amount required to provide the amounts specified in subparagraph (B).
(F)
Availability of funds.—
The amounts made available by subparagraph (A) for any fiscal year shall be available beginning on October 1 of that fiscal year, and shall remain available through September 30 of the succeeding fiscal year.
(8)
(A)
Effective in the 2017–2018 award year and thereafter, the Secretary shall award an eligible student not more than one and one-half Federal Pell Grants during a single award year to permit such student to work toward completion of an eligible program if, during that single award year, the student—
(i)
has received a Federal Pell Grant for an award year and is enrolled in an eligible program for one or more additional payment periods during the same award year that are not otherwise fully covered by the student’s Federal Pell Grant; and
(ii)
is enrolled on at least a half-time basis while receiving any funds under this section.
(B)
In the case of a student receiving more than one Federal Pell Grant in a single award year under subparagraph (A), the total amount of Federal Pell Grants awarded to such student for the award year may exceed the maximum basic grant level specified in the appropriate appropriations Act for such award year.
(C)
Any period of study covered by a Federal Pell Grant awarded under subparagraph (A) shall be included in determining a student’s duration limit under subsection (c)(5).
(D)
In any case where an eligible student is receiving a Federal Pell Grant for a payment period that spans two award years, the Secretary shall allow the eligible institution in which the student is enrolled to determine the award year to which the additional period shall be assigned, as it determines is most beneficial to students.
(c)
Period of eligibility for grants
(1)
The period during which a student may receive Federal Pell Grants shall be the period required for the completion of the first undergraduate baccalaureate course of study being pursued by that student at the institution at which the student is in attendance except that any period during which the student is enrolled in a noncredit or remedial course of study as defined in paragraph (2) shall not be counted for the purpose of this paragraph.
(2)
Nothing in this section shall exclude from eligibility courses of study which are noncredit or remedial in nature (including courses in English language instruction) which are determined by the institution to be necessary to help the student be prepared for the pursuit of a first undergraduate baccalaureate degree or certificate or, in the case of courses in English language instruction, to be necessary to enable the student to utilize already existing knowledge, training, or skills. Nothing in this section shall exclude from eligibility programs of study abroad that are approved for credit by the home institution at which the student is enrolled.
(3)
No student is entitled to receive Pell Grant payments concurrently from more than one institution or from the Secretary and an institution.
(4)
Notwithstanding paragraph (1), the Secretary may allow, on a case-by-case basis, a student to receive a Federal Pell Grant if the student—
(A)
is carrying at least one-half the normal full-time work load for the course of study the student is pursuing, as determined by the institution of higher education; and
(B)
is enrolled or accepted for enrollment in a postbaccalaureate program that does not lead to a graduate degree, and in courses required by a State in order for the student to receive a professional certification or licensing credential that is required for employment as a teacher in an elementary school or secondary school in that State,
except that this paragraph shall not apply to a student who is enrolled in an institution of higher education that offers a baccalaureate degree in education.
(5)
The period during which a student may receive Federal Pell Grants shall not exceed 12 semesters, or the equivalent of 12 semesters, as determined by the Secretary by regulation. Such regulations shall provide, with respect to a student who received a Federal Pell Grant for a term but was enrolled at a fraction of full-time, that only that same fraction of such semester or equivalent shall count towards such duration limits.
(d)
Applications for grants
(1)
The Secretary shall from time to time set dates by which students shall file applications for Federal Pell Grants under this subpart.
(2)
Each student desiring a Federal Pell Grant for any year shall file an application therefor containing such information and assurances as the Secretary may deem necessary to enable the Secretary to carry out the functions and responsibilities of this subpart.
(e)
Distribution of grants to students

Payments under this section shall be made in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Secretary for such purpose, in such manner as will best accomplish the purpose of this section. Any disbursement allowed to be made by crediting the student’s account shall be limited to tuition and fees and, in the case of institutionally owned housing, room and board. The student may elect to have the institution provide other such goods and services by crediting the student’s account.

(f)
Calculation of eligibility
(1)
Each contractor processing applications for awards under this subpart (including a central processor, if any, designated by the Secretary) shall, in a timely manner, furnish to the student financial aid administrator (at each institution of higher education which a student awarded a Federal Pell Grant under this subpart is attending), as a part of its regular output document, the expected family contribution for each such student. Each such student financial aid administrator shall—
(A)
examine and assess the data used to calculate the expected family contribution of the student furnished pursuant to this subsection;
(B)
recalculate the expected family contribution of the student if there has been a change in circumstances of the student or in the data submitted;
(C)
make the award to the student in the correct amount; and
(D)
after making such award report the corrected data to such contractor and to a central processor (if any) designated by the Secretary for a confirmation of the correct computation of amount of the expected family contribution for each such student.
(2)
Whenever a student receives an award under this subpart that, due to recalculation errors by the institution of higher education, is in excess of the amount which the student is entitled to receive under this subpart, such institution of higher education shall pay to the Secretary the amount of such excess unless such excess can be resolved in a subsequent disbursement to the institution.
(3)
Each contractor processing applications for awards under this subpart shall for each academic year after academic year 1986–1987 prepare and submit a report to the Secretary on the correctness of the computations of amount of the expected family contribution, and on the accuracy of the questions on the application form under this subpart for the previous academic year for which the contractor is responsible. The Secretary shall transmit the report, together with the comments and recommendations of the Secretary, to the Committee on Appropriations of the Senate, the Committee on Appropriations of the House of Representatives, and the authorizing committees.
(g)
Insufficient appropriations

If, for any fiscal year, the funds appropriated for payments under this subpart are insufficient to satisfy fully all entitlements, as calculated under subsection (b) (but at the maximum grant level specified in such appropriation), the Secretary shall promptly transmit a notice of such insufficiency to each House of the Congress, and identify in such notice the additional amount that would be required to be appropriated to satisfy fully all entitlements (as so calculated at such maximum grant level).

(h)
Use of excess funds
(1)
If, at the end of a fiscal year, the funds available for making payments under this subpart exceed the amount necessary to make the payments required under this subpart to eligible students by 15 percent or less, then all of the excess funds shall remain available for making payments under this subpart during the next succeeding fiscal year.
(2)
If, at the end of a fiscal year, the funds available for making payments under this subpart exceed the amount necessary to make the payments required under this subpart to eligible students by more than 15 percent, then all of such funds shall remain available for making such payments but payments may be made under this paragraph only with respect to entitlements for that fiscal year.
(i)
Treatment of institutions and students under other laws

Any institution of higher education which enters into an agreement with the Secretary to disburse to students attending that institution the amounts those students are eligible to receive under this subpart shall not be deemed, by virtue of such agreement, a contractor maintaining a system of records to accomplish a function of the Secretary. Recipients of Pell Grants shall not be considered to be individual grantees for purposes of chapter 81 of title 41.

(j)
Institutional ineligibility based on default rates
(1)
In general

No institution of higher education shall be an eligible institution for purposes of this subpart if such institution of higher education is ineligible to participate in a loan program under part B or D as a result of a final default rate determination made by the Secretary under part B or D after the final publication of cohort default rates for fiscal year 1996 or a succeeding fiscal year.

(2)
Sanctions subject to appeal opportunity

No institution may be subject to the terms of this subsection unless the institution has had the opportunity to appeal the institution’s default rate determination under regulations issued by the Secretary for the loan program authorized under part B or D, as applicable. This subsection shall not apply to an institution that was not participating in the loan program authorized under part B or D on October 7, 1998, unless the institution subsequently participates in the loan programs.

(Pub. L. 89–329, title IV, § 401, formerly § 411, as added Pub. L. 99–498, title IV, § 401(a), Oct. 17, 1986, 100 Stat. 1309; amended Pub. L. 100–50, § 3(a), June 3, 1987, 101 Stat. 337; renumbered § 401 and amended Pub. L. 102–325, title IV, §§ 401(a)–(h), 402(a)(3), July 23, 1992, 106 Stat. 479–482; Pub. L. 103–208, § 2(b)(1)–(5), (k)(1), Dec. 20, 1993, 107 Stat. 2458, 2485; Pub. L. 103–322, title II, § 20411(a), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 1828; Pub. L. 105–244, title IV, § 401(a)–(f), (g)(3), (4), Oct. 7, 1998, 112 Stat. 1650–1652; Pub. L. 110–84, title I, §§ 101(a), 102, Sept. 27, 2007, 121 Stat. 784; Pub. L. 110–315, title I, § 103(b)(3), title IV, § 401(a)(1), (b), (c)(1), Aug. 14, 2008, 122 Stat. 3088, 3188, 3189;
cite as: 20 USC 1070a