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Summary: Central Processing System (CPS) Changes Necessary for Implementing the 2008-2009 Federal Pell Grant Maximum Award

Publication Date: December 27, 2007

Author: William Leith, Acting General Manager, Application, Operations and Delivery Services, Federal Student Aid

Summary: Central Processing System (CPS) Changes Necessary for Implementing the 2008-2009 Federal Pell Grant Maximum Award

Posted on 12-27-2007

The recently enacted Federal Fiscal Year 2008 appropriations bill that provides funding for the Title IV student aid programs sets the maximum 2008-2009 Federal Pell Grant award at $4,241. This amount is slightly less than the $4,310 appropriated maximum for 2007-2008. However, because the College Cost Reduction and Access Act (CCRAA) provided for a Pell Grant add-on of $490 for the 2008-2009 award year, the actual maximum Pell Grant award for 2008-2009 will be $4,731, an increase of $421 over 2007-2008. Within the next several weeks, we will be posting 2008-2009 Pell Grant Payment and Disbursement schedules to our Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) Web site.

Because of the short time between the enactment of the appropriations bill and January 1, 2008, when our FAFSA application processing system and Web application products (FAFSA on the Web) go into production for the 2008-2009 award year, we are unable to immediately make changes to the 2008-2009 Pell Grant eligibility parameters used by the Central Processing System (CPS) to determine estimated Pell Grant eligibility for applicants. We anticipate having all necessary changes to the CPS and on the Web in place by January 13, 2008.

Between January 1 and January 13, 2008, the CPS will use the 2007-2008 award year maximum Pell eligible expected family contribution (EFC) of 4110 to determine whether an undergraduate applicant may be eligible for a Pell Grant. Such applicants will receive a comment on the FAFSA on the Web confirmation page and on their Student Aid Report (SAR) indicating that they may be eligible for a Pell Grant in 2008-2009. However, because under the law the maximum eligible EFC is set as 200 points less than the appropriated maximum award, the maximum Pell Grant eligible EFC for 2008-2009 will be 4041. Therefore, applicants with an EFC between 4042 and 4110 will not be eligible for a Pell Grant in 2008-2009 even though for the first two weeks of processing the system will inform them that they may be eligible. To help explain this change and reduce any potential confusion to the estimated 600 students who may be affected between January 1 and January 13, 2008, we will add a message to the 2008-2009 FAFSA on the Web home page alerting applicants that there have been changes to 2008-2009 Pell Grant awards. The message on the FAFSA on the Web home page will say the following:

"At the end of your application we will tell you about your Federal Pell Grant eligibility. Click on this link for more information about important changes to 2008-2009 Pell Grant awards."

When the student clicks on the link, the following text will be provided:

"One of the eligibility criteria for a Federal Pell Grant is the student's expected family contribution (EFC). Within the past few days the law that sets the maximum EFC for a 2008-2009 Pell Grant was changed. We are in the process of making modifications to our systems to conform to that change. However, until that happens students with an EFC between 4042 and 4110 will not be eligible for a Pell Grant in 2008-2009 even though our processing system may indicate otherwise. Your school will be able to confirm your eligibility for a Pell Grant."

Contact Information

If you have questions, please contact the Research and Customer Care Center (RCCC) at 800/433-7327 or by fax at 202/275-5532. You can also e-mail the RCCC at fsa.customer.support@ed.gov. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, excluding Federal holidays.

Last Modified: 12/26/2007