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Federal Pell Grants

The Federal Pell Grant is a federal entitlement program. It provides free money if you are enrolled in an eligible program of study at approved postsecondary institutions in the United States and abroad. This is gift aid which usually does not have to be repaid. You may not receive a Federal Pell or any other grant if you already have a bachelor’s degree.


Your eligibility for a Federal Pell Grant is determined by a formula called FEDERAL METHODOLOGY. You must also meet all other Federal eligibility requirements.

You are eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant for up to 30 hours of remedial coursework. After 30 hours have been attempted, the Pell Grant will be adjusted accordingly.

Students are eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant for the equivalent of 12 semesters. Your Pell Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) percentage is calculated by adding together the percentage of your maximum Pell award that you receive each academic year. Once you reach 600 percent, you can no longer receive a Pell Grant.

For example, if your maximum Pell Grant award for the academic year is $5,500, but you receive only $2,750 because you were enrolled for only one semester, you would have used 50 percent of your maximum award for that academic year. If in the following school year, you were enrolled only three-quarter time each semester, you would have used 75 percent of your maximum award for that year. Together, you would have received 125 percent out of the total 600 percent lifetime limit.

Award Amount

The amount of your Federal Pell Grant is based on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and the number of hours in which you are enrolled each semester.

  • A full-time student enrolls for twelve or more hours.
  • A three-quarter-time student enrolls for nine to eleven hours.
  • A half-time student enrolls for six to eight hours.
  • A less than half-time student enrolls for less than six hours.

The Pell Recalculation Date is the date in the semester when Big E Central at Eastern Kentucky University is required to evaluate your Federal Pell Grant eligibility based on your current enrollment status. If the Pell Grant you were awarded does not match your current enrollment status, your award must be adjusted. Pell Recalculation Dates coincide with the drop/add deadline each fall and spring semester:

  • Fall 2023: August 20, 2023
    • Fall 2023 B-Term Only: October 16, 2023
  • Spring 2024: January 22, 2024
    • Spring 2024 B-Term Only: March 21, 2024
  • Fall 2024: August 25, 2024
  • Spring 2025: January 27, 2025
  • Fall 2025: August 24, 2025

Any course(s) added after the Pell Recalculation Date will not count towards your Federal Pell Grant eligibility, regardless of the start date for those course(s). If you drop, withdraw from, or do not attend classes you were enrolled in, your Pell Grant may be adjusted.


You must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application is available on the at the Federal Student Aid website.


You will receive an award notification from Big E Central indicating the award amount.

Federal Pell Grants are usually disbursed during Fees Payment if your file is complete by August 1st for the fall semester and December 1st for the spring unless you have been selected for verification. The verification process can delay your assistance in any program. If your award is not ready during Fees Payment, it will be processed once your file is complete. Awards are processed on a weekly cycle throughout the semester.