Pell Crossover Students

Read Time: 5 Minutes 20 Seconds

When scheduling Pell Disbursements, some students, known as crossover students, may have their payment periods span two separate award years (2022-2023 and 2023-2024). Because of this, we’re often asked – which award year does the student start disbursing Pell in? There are many different scenarios to consider when scheduling Pell disbursements. Today we’re going to explain three factors that a financial aid administrator should consider before awarding a student Pell funding. But first, what even IS a crossover student?

What is a crossover student?

A crossover student is a student who starts payment during one award year, but will not complete the hours and weeks required in the payment period until the next award year.

What is a Pell Grant?

A Pell Grant is a form of need based federal financial aid that is awarded to undergraduate students who need the money to pay for their college. Unlike loans, grants do not need to be repaid. Students must complete the FAFSA in order to confirm eligibility for the Pell grant.

Three Factors to Consider when Scheduling Pell Grants:

1. Number of payment periods– How many payment periods does your program have? If you decide to schedule all the student’s disbursements in the NEXT award year, the student could lose out on Pell funding due to the 150% Pell Rule.

The 150% Pell Rule states that any given student cannot exceed 150% Pell funding in one award year. This means that if a student previously received Pell grants from a different school or different program within the same award year before enrolling at your school, you must factor that previous Pell disbursement into your calculation.

2. Pell Lifetime Eligibility Limits – Students have a limit on how much Pell grants they are allowed to receive during their lifetime. The amount of funding a student receives for their education is limited by the federal government to the equivalent of 12 semesters of awards (or 6 years).

“When choosing which award year to schedule Pell in, ask the student if they will be continuing their education after the current program they’re enrolled in at your school. This is important so you can be mindful of the students Pell Lifetime Eligibility Limits.” – Diana Proulx

3. Continuing Education – Check in with the student. Are they planning to continue their education after they graduate from the program they are currently enrolled in? If they are, then you may not want to use up their entire Pell grant in a single award year. Think about that 150% Pell Rule!

Advice for maximizing the best Pell award for your student:

Check the student’s Pell lifetime eligibility limits, and how much Pell the student has already received for a single award year (150% Pell). Then, have a conversation with your students about their options.

Sometimes, if a student meets certain criteria, it can be advantageous for the student’s Pell to be awarded in two separate award years. This is especially true if the Pell grant increases from one award year to the next. Also remember, disbursing Pell is different than disbursing Direct Loans. Direct Loans are disbursed by the loan period, not by the payment period. It is common and very easy to confuse the two.

Pell disbursements for the 2023/24 award year are now available. FAS is here to help walk you through all the different factors and scenarios that may arise to make sure your students have the best possible aid outcome. We offer a team of seasoned professionals and Pell experts that can answer any questions that may arise throughout the disbursement process.

Our FAS team calculates Pell eligibility for funding the best possible award scenario and works to comply with the Department of Education’s regulations. Our team is a great source for ensuring accuracy and compliance. We will recommend the best solution for YOUR students based on all the information and facts we have available.

Our team offers live training and is available by phone and email! Clients can also sign up for training through our website

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