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Pell Grant Summer Classes

Written by: Jody Adams
Last updated: January 31, 2024

Going to school during summer break may not be your ideal way of spending a vacation, but there are several benefits to attending summer classes. These classes will help you graduate on time, have fewer academic loads during the semester, balance part-time work with studies, and potentially graduate early.

But you may wonder how to afford and search for Pell Grant summer classes. This blog gives you an overview of what financial aid is available for those who wish to take summer classes.

Overview of Pell Grant

A federal program called Pell Grants in the United States helps low-income undergraduates and post-baccalaureate students pay for college by providing need-based grants. The program is named after Senator Claiborne Pell, who sponsored the legislation that created it in 1972.

Students are awarded a maximum amount of Pell Grants each year based on their financial needs and the cost of attending their school. Pell Grants don't need to be repaid and can be used to cover various education-related expenses, including tuition, fees, books, and living expenses.

Summer Classes and Pell Grants

While Pell Grants are normally awarded for Fall and Spring semesters, they can also be awarded during a summer term. Qualified students can reach an additional 50% of their approved Pell Grant, resulting in a 150% Year-Round Pell Grant.

For example, if you are awarded $6,495 for the entire year if you qualify for Pell Grant for the summer term, you'll get an extra $3,247 for summer classes.

Note that disbursement of any Pell Grant summer classes will count towards your lifetime Pell eligibility. Each student has a maximum of 12 full-time semesters where they can receive a Pell Grant. A summer term is equivalent to one full-time semester.

Eligibility Requirements

You must meet the following requirements to receive a Pell Grant for summer classes.

Undergraduate Students

  • Complete a FAFSA
  • Meet initial Pell Grant eligibility requirements
  • Enroll in a recognized summer program
  • Enroll with at least six credits
  • Have a Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • Have remaining Pell Grant lifetime eligibility

Graduate Students

Unfortunately, Pell Grants are awarded only to undergraduate students.

Types of Summer Financial Aid

Several types of financial aid may be available to students attending college during the summer, including Pell Grants, direct federal loans, work-study programs, institutional aid, and private scholarships.

Summer Term

Summer term, also known as summer session, is a period during the summer months when colleges and universities offer courses and academic programs that are not typically offered during the fall or spring semesters. Summer term can vary in length but typically lasts between six to twelve weeks.

Students need to check with their school's financial aid office to understand what types of financial aid are available for summer classes and how to apply for them. Here are common types of summer financial aid:

  1. Pell Grants: As mentioned earlier, Pell Grants can help pay for summer classes if a student has unused funds from the academic year.
  2. Federal Direct Loans: Students may be eligible to take out federal student loans to help cover the cost of summer classes, just as they would during the regular academic year. However, it's important to remember that loans must be repaid with interest.
  3. Work-Study: Some schools offer work-study programs during the summer that allow students to earn money to help pay for their education expenses.
  4. Institutional Aid: Some colleges and universities offer summer financial aid programs, which may include scholarships, grants, or other forms of financial assistance.
  5. Private Scholarships: There may be private organizations that offer scholarships specifically for students who are attending college during the summer.

Year-Round Pell Grants

Year-Round Pell Grants are a provision of the federal Pell Grant program that allows eligible students to receive additional grant funding to help pay for college expenses during the summer or other periods of the academic year that are not covered by the traditional fall and spring semesters.

Under this provision, students who receive a full-time Pell Grant for the fall and spring semesters may receive a summer Pell Grant award of up to 50% of their annual award for the summer term if they are enrolled at least half-time.

How to Apply for a Pell Grant for Summer School

To apply for a Pell Grant for summer school, you must go through the same process as applying for any other type of federal financial aid. Here are the steps you should follow:

2022-2023 FAFSA Application Process

The first step in applying for a Pell Grant for summer school is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is available online at the Federal Student Aid website.

Complete the FAFSA for the academic year you plan to attend summer school.

Enrollment Status & Cost of Attendance Determination

The Pell Grant funding you can receive is based on your enrollment status and your school's cost of attendance (COA). Enrollment status refers to your summer enrollment status in credit hours.

Your school will determine the COA for summer school, which includes tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and other educational expenses.

Credit Hours & Minimum Credit Requirement Checklist

A Pell Grant is only available to students enrolled in at least six credit hours of summer school. Your Pell Grant award amount will be based on the number of credit hours you are enrolled in.

Your school may have a minimum credit requirement for summer school, so check with your school's financial aid office.

Tuition Balance & Federal Government Funding Eligibility Confirmation

Pell Grants are federal student aid, and the federal government determines eligibility. Your school's financial aid office will confirm your eligibility for Pell Grants and other types of federal student aid based on your FAFSA application, enrollment status, and COA.

Your Pell Grant award will be applied to your tuition balance if you are eligible. If there is any remaining balance, it may be used to cover other education-related expenses.

Managing Your Remaining Summer Aid Funds

Managing your remaining summer aid funds is an important part of maximizing your financial aid and ensuring you can cover all your education-related expenses. The following tips will help you manage your remaining summer aid funds:

Credits vs. Non-Credits Courses and Awards

Pell Grants and other types of financial aid may only be used to cover the cost of credits earned in summer courses. Non-credit courses or courses that are not eligible for federal financial aid will not be covered by Pell Grants or other types of financial aid.

Full-Time Enrollment Status Maintenance Requirements

Full-time enrollment status is defined as 12 or more credit hours per semester. You must complete and earn passing grades in all your courses to maintain full-time enrollment status. Dropping courses or failing to earn passing grades may impact your eligibility for financial aid, including Pell Grants.

It's important to apply for a Pell Grant for summer school as soon as possible, as funds are limited and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Be sure to check with your school's financial aid office to understand any additional application requirements or deadlines for summer school financial aid.

Not sure if you'll qualify for a Pell Grant? Understand in depth the eligibility requirements for Pell Grants in our blog.

If you want to know about the GPA requirements for a Pell Grant. Visit our article today to learn more.

Jody Adams
Jody Adams is an accomplished editor-in-chief with a deep understanding of social care and government benefits issues. With a background in journalism and a master's degree in Public Policy, Jody has spent her career shaping the narrative around social policies and their impact on society. She has worked with renowned publications, effectively bridging the gap between complex policy analysis and public understanding. Jody's editorial expertise ensures that vital information on social care and government benefits reaches a broad audience, empowering individuals to make informed decisions.
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