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Can a Student Receive a Pell Grant for a Second College Degree?

Mark Kantrowitz

October 01, 2012

Students can see their current LEU percentage by logging into the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). The LEU is listed on the Financial Aid Review page. If a student’s LEU equals or exceeds 600%, the student is no longer eligible for the Pell Grant. If a student’s LEU remaining is less than 100%, the student will be eligible for less than a full Pell Grant.

The LEUs are measured against the amount of Pell Grant funding the student would have received if the student were enrolled on a full-time basis for a full award year. The LEUs are not measured against the maximum Pell Grant. So a student may wish to turn down a small Pell Grant to preserve future eligibility for the Pell Grant if the student expects to be eligible for a larger Pell Grant in the future. (A student might expect to be eligible for a larger Pell Grant if a change in the student’s financial circumstances will lead to a lower expected family contribution.)

To decline Pell Grant funds, the US Department of Education requires the student to sign a “written statement clearly indicating that the student is declining Pell Grant funds for which he or she is otherwise eligible and that the student understands that those funds may not be available once the award year is over.” A student can return already disbursed Pell Grant funds by signing a similar statement, provided that the funds were received during the current award year. Students may not return Pell Grant funds from prior award years.

Student Aid for Military Spouses

Students who are married to members of the US Armed Forces may be eligible for some forms of military student aid. For example, if the servicemember served at least 90 days after September 10, 2001, the servicemember may be able to transfer benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill to the servicemember’s spouse or other dependents. Also called spouse tuition assistance, Military Spouse Career Advancement Accounts (MyCAA) provide student financial aid of up to $4,000 for military spouses who are seeking a degree, license or credential that leads to employment in a “portable” career field. Other programs include DEA, SOC, SEAP and EAP. There may also be funding available from state and private scholarship programs, such as NMCRS (including STAP and the VADM E.P. Travers Scholarship).

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