(GEN-20-01) 2020-2021 Federal Pell Grant Payment and Disbursement Schedules

Publication Date
January 31, 2020
2020-2021 Federal Pell Grant Payment and Disbursement Schedules
The attachments to this letter contain the 2020-2021 Award Year Federal Pell Grant Program Payment and Disbursement Schedules

Dear Colleague:

Attached to this letter are both PDF and Excel versions of the Payment and Disbursement Schedules for determining Federal Pell Grant awards for the 2020-2021 award year (July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021) for full-time, three-quarter-time, half-time, and less-than-half-time students. All 2020-2021 Federal Pell Grant awards must be based on the attached schedules. With the release of the 2020-2021 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) on October 1, 2019, the Department is providing the Pell Grant Payment and Disbursement Schedules so that institutions may inform students and their families of their potential eligibility for a Federal Pell Grant.

On December 20, 2019, the President signed the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 which included a $150 increase to the maximum Pell Grant. The maximum Pell Grant award for the 2020-2021 award year is $6,345, and the corresponding maximum Pell Grant eligible expected family contribution (EFC) is 5711.

Section 401(b)(4) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), establishes the minimum Pell Grant award to be 10 percent of the maximum award amount for the award year. Because we use mid-points in both the EFC columns and the cost of attendance (COA) rows in constructing the schedules, the actual 2020-2021 award year minimum scheduled award amount will be $639.

Although $6,345 is the maximum Pell Grant scheduled award for the 2020-2021 award year, institutions are reminded that beginning with the 2017-2018 award year, a student may be eligible to receive Pell Grant funds for up to 150 percent of the student’s Pell Grant scheduled award for an award year. To be eligible for the additional Pell Grant funds, the student must be otherwise eligible to receive Pell Grant funds for the payment period and must be enrolled at least as a half-time student, as defined in 34 CFR 668.2(b), in the payment period(s) for which the student receives the additional Pell Grant funds in excess of 100 percent of the student’s Pell Grant scheduled award. For additional information see Dear Colleague Letter GEN-17-06.

As a reminder, in using the attached schedules for awarding a Federal Pell Grant to a student, the full nine-month EFC must always be used regardless of the student’s actual period of attendance. Also, the Title IV COA to be used is always based on the costs for a full-time student for a full academic year, regardless of the actual enrollment status or actual time the student will be enrolled during the award year. It is also important to note that the statutory restrictions of using only certain cost components in constructing a COA in some circumstances still apply. For example, for a less-than-half-time student, the COA includes only cost components for tuition and fees, books, supplies, transportation, room and board for a limited time period, and dependent care expenses. For more information on these COA restrictions please refer to Volume 3, Chapter 2, of the Federal Student Aid Handbook.

Also, note that a student’s eligibility to receive a Federal Pell Grant award may be limited by the statutory provision in section 401(c)(5) of the HEA that sets a lifetime Pell Grant eligibility limit of 12 semesters (or its equivalent). Institutions should review information on Pell Grant eligibility determinations and the Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) limit posted on our Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) website. For additional information on the LEU limitation see Dear Colleague Letter GEN-13-14 and Volume 3, Chapter 3 of the Federal Student Aid Handbook.

Institutions should also be aware of recently published guidance regarding the Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship which extends maximum Federal Pell Grant eligibility for certain students who have a Pell Grant-eligible EFC and who had a parent or guardian die while serving as a public safety officer. See the Electronic Announcement published on November 19, 2018, for more information regarding this scholarship.

In future electronic announcements, we will provide institutions with important information about system, web, and software modifications that will reflect the 2020-2021 Pell Grant Payment and Disbursement Schedules. These include changes to the Central Processing System (CPS), the Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) Analysis Tool, the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System, and the EDExpress for Windows software.

We appreciate your continued support in making Federal Pell Grant Program assistance available to students.


Mark A. Brown
Chief Operating Officer


Last Modified: 01/30/2020