Starting Fall 2012 and continuing Spring 2013, the duration of eligibility for Federal Pell Grants has changed from 18 semesters to 12 semesters, or 6 years. After you have received a Pell Grant for 12 semesters, or the equivalent, you are no longer eligible to receive additional Pell Grant funds.
The equivalent is measured by the total percentage of Pell Grant funds you have received in your lifetime. You are eligible for a total of 600% of an annual Pell Grant.
Each year, the full Pell Grant you can receive is equal to 100%. If you accept the full amount of a Pell Grant in one year, you use 100% of your lifetime Pell Grant limit and have 500% eligibility left. If you were to only use a partial award each year, for example, 50% your first year and 75% your second year, you would have received 125% of your Pell Grant and have 475% eligibility left.
This eligibility limit applies to all students.
For more information on Pell Grants, see http://studentaid.ed.gov/types/grants-scholarships/pell
Direct Student Loan Changes
Loans to graduate students and students in professional programs that paid out on or after July 1, 2012 will no longer be subsidized. However, students in graduate and professional programs still qualify for unsubsidized loans.
Undergraduate students will also see a change in their loans. Direct Subsidized Loans that paid out after July 1, 2012 and before July 1, 2014 will now be charged interest during the 6-month grace period after a student graduates or is no longer enrolled in school. After this grace period, students must begin paying back their loans. These loans have a 3.4% fixed interest rate.
For more information on Direct Student Loans, go to http://studentaid.ed.gov/types/loans/subsidized-and-unsubsidized
For news and announcements on federal student aid, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/about/announcements/recent-changes