Summer Pell Grant
Year ‘Round Pell Grant – A Grant Opportunity to Support Summer Enrollment and Timely Graduation!
Completing required courses during the summer can be a very important strategy to ensure timely graduation. Students are frequently asking for ways that they can shorten their time to degree. They know that timely graduation will minimize future educational costs and reduce overall loan debt. They are also aware that extending time to get their Bachelor’s degree will result in potential lost wages or delays in getting to graduate school.
The Federal Government recently made changes in the Pell Grant policy that can have a dramatic impact on the overall affordability of taking summer classes. Students who qualify for Pell Grant may now utilize part of their overall Pell Grant eligibility in summer if they enroll in at least 6 units. The grant can be directly used to offset part of summer tuition. Be sure to check out the Summer 2021 Cost Worksheet to determine your potential cost savings.
We encourage all undergraduates who have been awarded a Pell Grant for the current academic year to review the information below to see if attending summer is right for you. If you have questions after reviewing this site, please feel free to call us at (323)343-6260.
General Eligibility Requirements
- Must have been awarded a Pell Grant for the current academic year
- Must have used the full-time annual award amount for Fall and Spring. Students who did not utilize their full-time annual award amount must exhaust their remaining annual limit before being eligible for the additional Pell Grant Program. See the “How does it work and what is Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility” section for more details.
- Must have remaining Lifetime Pell Grant eligibility (see details below)
- Must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements
- Must be enrolled and attend a minimum of six units of summer courses. Any combination of units from any summer session counts for summer Pell Grant unless they have remaining annual Pell Grant eligibility. See How does it work and what is Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility section for more details.
How does it work and what is Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility?
Students are provided with a maximum of 12 full-time equivalent semesters Pell Grant eligibility that they may use to complete their first undergraduate baccalaureate degree. If a student enrolled full-time in the fall and spring semester each year, the lifetime eligibility rule would allow for 6 years to complete their degree. The federal government measures this in the following manner:
If a Pell Grant is disbursed in a semester:
|Units Attempted||Lifetime Eligibility Used|
|Full-time enrollment (12 units or more||50.0%|
Three Quarter time enrollment (9-11 units)
Half time enrollment (6-8 units)
Quarter time enrollment (3-5 units)
The sum of the Lifetime Eligibility Used for any term in which a Pell Grant was disbursed regardless of the institution where the grant was received may not exceed 600%.
Under new Federal Pell Grant rules, students can now use some of their lifetime eligibility early by enrolling in summer courses. Remember you must enroll in at least 6 units during summer. The Federal government did not allow the option for a Quarter time enrollment in the summer. Students should review their overall academic plan to ensure they will graduate in a timely manner as Pell Grant eligibility is capped at 600% including summer awards. The Federal Government allows for no exceptions to this cap.
Students must have exhausted their full-time Pell Grant award during the fall and spring semesters in order to be eligible for the summer Pell Grant. For example: If Mary was full-time (12 units) in the fall and only three-quarter time (9 units) in the Spring, she has 3 units of Pell Grant eligibility which she must be used during the summer, before she can utilize the summer Pell Grant award. Because she has remaining eligibility from the fall and spring terms, she is not required to enroll in 6 units. However, if she wishes to add another 3 units to summer, bringing her to 6 units, she will qualify for 3 units of additional summer Pell Grant because she is taking a total of 6 summer units.
To find out how much Pell Grant has already been used and whether or you may have remaining annual Pell Grant eligibility, students may go to the Federal NSLDS (National Student Loan Data System) website. The Financial Aid Office will also post a Summer Pell Grant award for all eligible undergraduates by early March and send a communication that includes their lifetime eligibility used at that time.
Example A: Jim is a first year freshman in 2020-21. His six years of full-time Pell Grant eligibility ends in the Spring of 2026. He takes 6 units in the Summer of 2021 and another 6 units in the Summer of 2023. He has used 1 of the 12 terms between the 2 summers. If he remains full-time, his lifetime Pell Grant eligibility will now end after the Fall 2025 semester.
Example B: Carol is a third year junior in 2020-21. Her six years of full-time Pell Grant eligibility will end in Spring of 2024. She was full-time during her freshman and sophomore years at Cal State LA. She has already used 4 terms or 2 years of Pell Grant eligibility. She decides to take 12 units in the summer of 2021 and 6 units in the summer of 2022. She has used 1 ½ terms between the 2 summers. If she remains full-time, her lifetime Pell Grant eligibility will now end after the Fall 2023 term but she will only be able to get half-time Pell Grant during that term.
Example C: Arturo is a transfer student and enrolls full-time in 2020-21. He has already used 4 years of full-time Pell Grant eligibility at his previous institution. His six year of full-time Pell Grant eligibility ends in Spring of 2022. He decides to take 9 units in the summer of 2021. He has used ¾ of a term for the summer. If he remains fulltime, his lifetime Pell Grant eligibility will now end after the Fall 2021 term but he will only be eligible to get less than half-time Pell Grant during that term.
How much eligibility do I have remaining for summer ‘21?
Students may verify how much Pell Grant they have already used by visiting the NSLDS (National Student Loan Data System) website. The Financial Aid Office will also post a Summer Pell Grant award for all eligible undergraduates by early March and send a communication that includes their lifetime eligibility used at that time.
Students who have remaining Pell Grant eligibility based on LEU (Lifetime Eligibility Used), will be automatically awarded in early March the maximum Pell Grant amount the student can receive for the Summer Term. The award posted will be based on full-time enrollment and will be prorated to reflect the number of actual enrollment. The award will allow them to register for summer by only pre-paying the remaining amount due. Students can utilize the Summer 2021 Cost Worksheet to determine their remaining cost.
Students will only use part of their lifetime eligibility if they enroll in summer courses and a Pell Grant is actually disbursed. Student who do not wish to attend during the summer need to take no action as the award will be canceled and no eligibility will be used.
Consider the Benefits and Things to Think About:
|Benefits||Things to Consider|
How much do I still need to pay for Summer?
Summer Pell Grant will help towards offsetting Summer tuition but will not cover the full-cost. Utilize the Summer 2021 Cost Worksheet to determine your remaining cost.
Here are a few examples to illustrate the effect of Summer Pell Grant:
Example A: Susan enrolled in 15 units for Fall ‘20 and 15 units for Spring ‘21. She qualifies for a Pell Grant of $6,345 for the year. She decides to take 12 units during the Summer ‘21. Her Pell Grant eligibility is $3,173 which is the full-time award amount that she received per semester. The summer tuition for 12 units is $3,840 which means that she only has to pay $667 for the summer. That’s only $56 per unit. Susan will utilize one full-time semester or 50% towards her Lifetime Eligibility Maximum of 600%.
Example B: Mario enrolled in 12 units for Fall ’20 and 15 units for Spring ’21. He qualifies for a Pell Grant of $6,345 for the year. He decides to take 6 units during the Summer ’21. His Pell Grant eligibility is $1,587 for 6 units which is half of the full-time award amount of $3,173 per semester. The summer tuition for 6 units is $1,920 which means he only has to pay $333 for the summer. That’s only $56per unit. Mario will utilize one half-time semester or 25% towards his Lifetime Eligibility Maximum of 600%.
Summer 2021 Cost Worksheet
Input the amount of your Full-Time Spring 2021 or Summer 2021 Pell Grant award from your financial aid package in the blue box. The table below will then reflect in the yellow highlighted column how much you would need to pre-pay in order to enroll in that number of units for Summer 2021. Students receive a maximum of 12 full-time equivalent semesters of Pell eligibility of their bachelor's degree. The last column indicates the amount of lifetime eligibility that would be used.
When can I expect the summer Pell Grant disbursement and what happens if I drop below half-time?
The disbursement of a Summer Pell Grant cannot occur until the student has enrolled in and attended 6 units of summer courses. Students who are unable to enroll in a minimum of 6 units will not be eligible to receive the federal Pell Grant award disbursement.
Students who enroll in 6 units and receive their Pell Grant disbursement but withdraw from all 6 units are subject to the federal R2T4 calculation, which may reduce the award amount that they received.
Additional financial aid resources?
Loans may be available too…If you did not utilize loans offered in Fall and Spring or where not offered the maximum annual amounts, loans may be available to support your summer classes. If you are interested in utilizing your remaining loan eligibility, you must complete a Cal State LA Summer financial aid request beginning on February 18, 2021. The deadline to apply is April 23, 2021.
If you have questions after reviewing this site, please feel free to call us at (323)343-6260. If you need assistance constructing your degree completion plan, please make an appointment with your academic advisor.