Can You Get More Than One Pell Grant Per School Year?

Can you get more than one Pell Grant per school year? Right now, the answer is still “no,” but if higher education officials still working on some new rules can come to an agreement, the answer may change to “yes.” If that happens, students may become eligible for two Pell Grants in the same school year.

The first couple of eligibility requirements are likely to be:

  • Enrollment in an accredited certificate, associate degree, or bachelor degree program
  • Enrolled at least half-time for more than one academic year, more than two semesters, or the equivalent time during a single award year

What is a “single award year”?

The school year, called an “award year” by the U.S. Department of Education, runs from July 1st through the following June 30th, a little longer than the typical traditional college year of September to May. The award year covers the two traditional college semesters plus summer school.

Some schools, rather than having fall and spring semesters plus summer sessions, may divide their school year into quarters. This type of school year is also covered by the Department of Education award year of July 1st through June 30th.

What’s the part of the new Pell Grant update that the officials can’t agree on?

The purpose of the 2-Pell-Grants-per-year proposal is to help students “accelerate” their degree completion — and it is the definition of “accelerate” that is still being debated (no agreement yet). As far as this specific update is concerned, federal legislators define “accelerate” as helping students complete their degree faster than is normal — that is, ahead of other students in the same program. But non-federal college officials define “accelerate” as helping students complete their degree faster than they would have otherwise, if they had not gotten the extra financial aid.

College authorities do not want part-time students to lose out on qualifying for two Pell Grants per school year just because they are completing their degrees at a slower pace than fulltime students.

Should a second Pell Grant be awarded only to help students finish their degrees sooner than their fellow students who didn’t get Pell Grants? Or should a qualifying student be eligible for a second Pell Grant when the grant becomes the difference between staying in school part-time or being forced to drop out due to lack of money? That seems to be the question.

What would Senator Pell do?

We’ll have to wait a little while longer for the answer. The discussion between federal and college officials is still ongoing, but the official schedule dictates they will have to come to an understanding by the end of the year.

25 comments to “Can You Get More Than One Pell Grant Per School Year?”

  1. Please I need financial help to go back to school. I’m married and my husband and I both work more than 40 hours a week, and still can’t seem to ever get caught up! I’m trying to make a comfortable salary and can’t seem to. We don’t do much for fun. Not even with our son because we just don’t have the money. This opportunity to go back to school would do more than just help us out of debt. It would give me more self assurance and confidence as my role of a mother and a wife, and more leway for family fun. I understand my next statement is a totally different subject, but it puts a big dent in our budget. I, myself and for my son pay 432 a month for health insurance. This is so outrageous I’ve been contemplating cancelling it and going without. One thing at a time and going back to school would give me an education for life. Please help.

    Jennifer Weber

  2. A brilliant idea and timely

  3. Hi Jennifer,
    We don’t provide financial aid here at EducationGrant, but we can point you in the right direction! Check out the blog-post You Can Still Apply for Free Financial Aid for tips on how to get started. It all begins with filing a FAFSA. The U.S. Department of Education awards $100 billion in new financial aid to nearly 14 million higher education students and their families every year. Good luck!

  4. Can you go to two schools simultaneously? i have an award, but my 4 yr school is an hour away. I need so many gen eds that I could take a few the the comm cliiege and transfer. Can t get a straight answer as to whether i can take a course at a comm school while I am going to the 4 yr school.. Also is there a limit on credits you can transfer from a comm college?

  5. Hi, Jo,
    These are some good questions, but they can probably only be answered by your school(s). It seems highly unlikely that you could get financial aid for 2 schools at the same time, but you may want to call the federal financial aid customer service center and confirm that with them. Their number is 1-800-433-3243. Regarding a limit on the number of credits you can transfer— only the school you want to transfer the credits to can answer that. Each school evaluates transferable credits on a case-to-case basis from one student to the next. But the 4-year school can likely advise you about which credits to complete at your nearby community college before you enroll anywhere else. In fact, your 4-year school may want you to officially transfer back to the community college so that you’re enrolled in only one school. Either way, the 4-year school can confirm for you that they have a credit-transfer partnership with the community college you’re considering. Good luck with all your education endeavors! The EducationGrant Editor

  6. If I have received grants for school before and completed that particular certification course, can I get grants to go back to school and take courses towards a degree and not just a license?

  7. Hi Alicia,
    Yes, you sure can. You apply for financial aid for a degree program the same way you did for your certification course: start with filing a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The report you get back will tell you if you qualified for a Pell grant or any other federal grants, and most state, school, and private grants and scholarships require you to apply for federal financial aid first, anyway. Best wishes, the EducationGrant Editor

  8. If i had a pell grant at one time and lost it due to poor attendance can I receive another one to try again?

  9. Hello Reader,

    Thank you for reading the EducationGrant Blog. We strive to provide financial aid information, news, and research resources. For advice regarding your personal situation, you should always speak directly with a counselor in your school’s financial aid office. It is the financial aid office’s job and responsibility to explain and help you understand all your college costs and financial aid options.

    Best wishes for your college success, the EducationGrant Editors

  10. Hi, I have not attended college (yet), but would love to get a bachelor’s in Human resources, but I also want a RN Associates degree. Would financial aid pay for more than one major? Like If I got the bachelor’s first in human resources and wanted to go back to college for a different major and get a RN Associates degree?

    I’m just wondering if I would still get financial aid if I was to get a bachelors degree in one field but lets say IF i was unable to find a job, I’d still be ‘underemployed’ BECAUSE of LACK OF EXPERIENCE, would they pay for me to go back so I could get associates degree in ‘healthcare?’

  11. You cannot qualify for a Pell Grant after you have a bachelors already so what I would suggest, if time is not an issue is to stretch out your education as long as you can. I mean if you need help to pay for it then just don’t finish your bachelor’s until your nursing degre is almost finished. plan things so that they both nearly finish at the same time that way you can get the majority of it paid for with financial aid. But the Pell Grant and lots of financial assistance is for undergrads only so just something you will want to check into. On the other hand, there are many awards that are for only grad students so if you want to get your degree first then apply for grad student awards then do it that way. Good luck either way!

  12. Sorry, I should have said this one more thing. I re read your post and if it were me what I would do is this: The RN degree requires about two years of prerequisite science, math, English, Speach, and some other courses but then so would your Human resources degree. So, you might want to take the prereqs and get them out of the way then get your nursing degree, you can then get working adn start making some decent money. Now, you’re in a good position because many places that you would find work, (hospitals and such) will pay for your college classes, especially if you want to get a BA in Human Resources and work in admin for that institution later on. That is how I would do it, having gone to most of my nursing for LPN but deciding later o that I didn’t really like nursing. ;-)

  13. Hello,
    I am really wanting to go back to school but being in debt scares me. I’m a single mom and having a huge loan to pay back at the end scares me with the way this economy is going. I may not get a job right away. What would make me much more comfortable is knowng a good amount of my program cost could be covered. Well my main question is if I am in a two year program can i apply for the pell grant twice and get it twice for the same program? Just curious. I literally can’t make ends meet for me and my son and want to pay off some debt I already have get an education that could very much benefit my son and I. Thank you.

  14. Hello, Thanks for reading!
    As of fall 2009, you are only able to receive one Pell Grant per school year. Things may change going forward if education officials change the Pell Grant policy. For more information and assistance, contact your financial advisor.
    Best of luck,
    EducationGrant Editor

  15. I recently received a pell grant to complete my cosmetology license.Would I be eligible for a second pell grant for a different course certification? Or are pell grants only good for a one time use at either a certification or a degree?

  16. If you receive a federal pell grant can you receive any other kind of grant that is not federal like a state grant ect…?

  17. As long as you are a single mother you will not have to pay back your student loans until your last child reaches the age of 18. All you have to do is every 6 months call and have the loans deferred.

  18. My son filled out the FASA application and was denied for a federal pell grant. Is ther any other educational aid available for him so he may finish his college education? This will be his scecond year in city college.

  19. Hi,

    Thanks for reading. I would contact the financial aid department of your son’s school and ask if they have any specific scholarships or grants that you can apply for. Look for scholarships specific to his major. Also, look in your community, and (if applicable) ask your religious establishment if they have any scholarships. Local businesses and other organizations/companies may also sponsor scholarships that might not be listed online – call them up and ask around! Researching takes time, but every penny you can receive through scholarships or grants counts!

    Best of luck,
    EducationGrant Editor

  20. I received a pell grant and loans for this year. My wife would like to start school in jan. can she also receive a pell grant for this coming year? in other words can both my wife and i receive two seperate pell grants for the same year?

  21. I’m about to finish a technical degree in january and want to start right over a bachelors degree in nursing so i was wondering if i would qualify for a pell grant right away, if not, how much time do i have to wait to apply again?

  22. Hello, stopped on by today and I want to say thank you. Really makes you wonder. yours truly, Brandon Williams.

  23. can i get a pale grant again if i droped out of school before and now want to go to a diffrent school

  24. Odd question, I attended to a community college and got a degree in liberal arts. I then transfered to a university, and am close to getting my BA is psychology. If after I receive my BA, and I want to go back to the same community college for a degree or certificate in business, would I still be eligible for grants? I would like to get the business education at a community college, as the cost at my university is much higher.

  25. I currently have a 4 year degree in Business Administration. My plans were to go back to school and complete my Masters with a specialization of Nursing Home Administrator. Those plans changed when I lost my job of 13 years as a Manager. I now work at a near by nursing home that I like, however, I can not live on the pay. I am wanting to get my LPN then RN degree. This will broaden my education and will allow me to find a job with a more desirable salary. Once this is completed and I have gained experience in the feild, I would like to go on with my Masters plan and some day manage a Nursing Home. The question is: where do I go from here? Can I do this and get grants to help me althogh I already have a 4 year degree? Will my credits transfer over, and is there any type of credential I should be looking for? I do not want to go backwards, but the demand for nursing is way higher than the need for an administrator in my surrounding areas. Do you have any advice for me.

    Thank you, Kathy

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