Maintained for Historical Purposes

This resource is being maintained for historical purposes only and is not currently applicable.

Federal Pell Grant Program - Special Program Considerations

AwardYear: 1997-1998
EnterChapterNo: 4
EnterChapterTitle: Federal Pell Grant Program
SectionNumber: 3
SectionTitle: Special Program Considerations
PageNumbers: 45-56


In the preceding section, we described Pell calculations that apply to
most postsecondary educational programs. However, some schools
may have categories of students or educational programs that require
special handling.

CONSORTIUM AGREEMENTS (BETWEEN ELIGIBLE
SCHOOLS)*1*

[[34 CFR 690.9]]
The Federal Pell Grant Program regulations prohibit a student from
receiving a Pell from more than one school at the same time.
However, a school is allowed to pay a student enrolled in one of its
eligible programs for courses taken at other eligible schools if those
courses apply to the degree or certificate in the first school's
program. To pay such a student, the school must first have a written
consortium agreement with the other school(s) the student is
attending.

[[Elements of a consortium agreement]]
A consortium agreement establishes that the "home" institution
considers the student to be enrolled in an eligible program and
unconditionally accepts the credits earned at the "host" institution for
credit towards the educational program at the home school. The
agreement should further specify which school will be responsible
for awarding and disbursing aid and monitoring student eligibility.
(Usually, the home institution is responsible for disbursements, but if
the student is enrolled for a full term or academic year at the host
institution, it may be easier for the host institution to monitor the
student's eligibility and make payments.)

Other factors that may need to be addressed in the agreement are the
applicable refund policy, satisfactory progress policy, and any
procedures for calculating the total COA and enrollment status for
the student.

The consortium agreement can be a blanket agreement between two
or more eligible schools, or it can be written for a specific student.
Such an agreement is often used when the student takes related
courses at neighboring schools or when the student is in an exchange
program with another eligible school for a term or more. The written
agreement ensures that the student will receive payment from only
one school in a given payment period. (See Chapter 3, Section 5 for
more information on consortium agreements.)

[[Cost of attendance]]
The COA is calculated in the same way as for a student taking
classes at only one school. The student's tuition and fees and books
and supplies charges at the consortium schools have to be combined
into a single charge for a full academic year for purposes of the Pell
calculation. If the student is carrying a full-time course load (based
on hours taken at both or all schools), the student's tuition and fees
and books and supplies costs would be based on actual or average
charges, depending on whether the disbursing school uses actual or
average charges for its Pell awards.

[[Prorating average charges at each school]]
ACTUAL CHARGES for a full-time student would simply be the
sum of the actual charges at the schools the student is attending
under the consortium arrangement. If the disbursing school uses
AVERAGE CHARGES, then the average charges at each of the
schools must be prorated and combined. If the student is taking an
equal course load at each school, the full-time tuition and fees
charges for an academic year at each school can be averaged to
determine the tuition and fee cost. However, if the student is taking
an unequal course load, the disbursing school must prorate the
charges based on the number of hours the student is taking at each
school.

[[The prorating charges example on page 4-47 is currently
unavailable for viewing. Please reference your paper document
for additional information.]]

Average charges should also be prorated in this way to find the
average full-time charge for a part-time student. Note that because
the Pell COA must be the cost for a full-time student for a full year,
the school cannot simply use actual charges to determine a part-time
student's COA.

[[Combined enrollment status]]
The enrollment status of a student attending more than one school is
based on all the courses taken at the consortium schools that apply to
the degree or certificate at the home institution. The disbursing
school may have to make some adjustments if the coursework at the
different schools is measured in different units. (See the examples on
the next page.)

[[The "Finding semester / quarter-hour equivalents" examples on
page 4-48 are currently unavailable for viewing. Please reference
your paper document for additional information.]]

It is the responsibility of the school that disburses the Pell award to
maintain information on the student's eligibility, how the award was
calculated, what money has been disbursed, and any other
documentation, even if some of that documentation must come from
other schools.

COOPERATIVE EDUCATION

In a cooperative education program, the school assesses the work to
be performed by the student and determines the equivalent academic
course load. The student's enrollment status is based on the
equivalent academic course load.

[[Costs for a co-op program]]
If a student has a co-op job for the first term, the tuition and fees for
that period can be projected over a full academic year (of at least 30
weeks). For example, a student has a co-op job for the first quarter of
the academic year and pays a $50 fee and no tuition. The $50 fee can
be projected for each of the three quarters in the academic year for a
total tuition and fees amount of $150. This amount is then added to
the other COA components to arrive at the total cost for that term.
Note that the COA may include employment-related expenses (see
Chapter 2, Section 3). The school may also recalculate the student's
tuition and fees at the end of the first term rather than using the COA
for the period of co-op study for subsequent payment periods. This
decision must be consistent with the school's overall policy on
recalculating for changes in a student's costs. (See Section 5 of this
chapter for more information.)

CORRESPONDENCE STUDY

Students enrolled in correspondence courses are eligible for aid
under SFA Programs only if the courses are part of a program
leading to an associate, a bachelor's, or a graduate degree.

[[Half-time limit]]
An eligible correspondence program must meet the criteria for an
eligible program (see Chapter 3). A nonterm correspondence
program must require at least 12 hours of preparation per week. A
term correspondence program must require 30 hours of preparation
per semester hour or 20 hours of preparation per quarter hour during
the term. The school determines the length of the correspondence
program by preparing a written schedule for the lessons that the
student will submit. Students enrolled in programs of correspondence
study are considered to be no more than half-time students and thus
are limited to no more than half a Scheduled Award. However, a
correspondence student may receive more than half a Scheduled
Award if the correspondence program includes a required period of
residential training or is combined with classroom instruction.

Formula 5 is used to calculate payments for a payment period for
students enrolled only in a correspondence program (not including
residential components). There are two versions of Formula 5;
version A is used for nonterm programs, and version B is used for
term-based programs. (For a residential component of a
correspondence program, the school must use either Formula 3 or
Formula 4.) Formula 5 uses the same basic steps as the other
formulas discussed in Section 2.

[[Formula 5]]
Step 1: Determine Enrollment Status

As stated above, students enrolled in programs of correspondence
study are considered to be no more than half-time students. A student
enrolled only in a nonterm correspondence program is always
considered to be enrolled half time. For a student enrolled in a term
correspondence program, the school must determine whether the
student is enrolled half time (6 or more credit hours in a term) or less
than half time (less than 6 credit hours in a term). Special rules are
used to determine the student's enrollment status when the student is
enrolled in a combination of regular and correspondence coursework
(see the chart on page 4-52).

Step 2: Calculate Cost of Attendance

The COA for correspondence study includes only tuition and fees.
Room and board costs and allowances for books and supplies and
travel may be included only if the student would incur them in
fulfilling a required period of residential training. As always, the cost
must be the full-time, full academic year cost. If the student's
program or period of enrollment is longer or shorter than an
academic year, the cost is prorated using the following formula:

Hours in program's definition of academic year
Costs x -------------------------------------------------
Hours for which costs apply

Note that because there are no costs associated with weeks of
instructional time in the correspondence COA, the school will have
to prorate the cost only if the number of hours in the program is
shorter or longer than in an academic year.

Step 3: Determine the Annual Award

The annual award for a student in a nonterm correspondence
program is always taken from the half-time Disbursement Schedule
because a correspondence student may not receive more than half a
Scheduled Award. For a student in a term correspondence program,
the annual award is determined from the half-time Disbursement
Schedule or the less-than-half-time Disbursement Schedule, as
appropriate.

Step 4: Determine the Payment Periods

[[Formula 5A]]
[[34 CFR 690.66(b)]]
For a nonterm correspondence program, there must be at least two
equal payment periods. The first payment period is the period in
which the student completes the lesser of the first half of the
academic year or the program (measured in credit hours). The second
payment period is the period in which the student completes the
lesser of the second half of the academic year or the program. In
addition, the school may not disburse a Pell payment for the first
payment period until the student has completed 25% of the work in
the academic year or program, whichever is shorter. It may not make
the second payment until the student has completed 75% of the work
in the academic year or program.

[[Formula 5B]]
[[34 CFR 690.66(c)(4)]]
For a term correspondence program, as for other term-based
programs, the payment period is the term. However, the school may
not disburse the Pell for a payment period until the student has
completed 50% of the lessons or completes 50% of the work for the
term, whichever is later.

[[Residential training]]
If the correspondence program has a required period of residential
training, the school must treat the residential training as an additional
payment period and determine the payment for that payment period
using either Formula 3 or Formula 4. Note that the correspondence
portion of the program is still treated as a separate portion of the
program that is divided into two equal payment periods.

Step 5: Calculate the Payment for a Payment Period

[[Formula 5A]]
[[34 CFR 690.66(a)(3)]]
For nonterm programs, this step is the same as under Formula 4. The
school first multiplies the annual award (determined from the half-
time Disbursement Schedule, in this case) by the lesser of

Weeks of instructional time for a full-time student to
complete hours in the program
----------------------------------------------------
Weeks of instructional time in program's definition
of academic year

OR

Weeks of instructional time for a full-time student to
complete hours in the academic year
-----------------------------------------------------
Weeks of instructional time in program's definition
of academic year

OR

ONE (1)

[[34 CFR 690.66(a)(4)]]
The school then multiplies the result by the following fraction:

Hours in a payment period
---------------------------------------------
Hours in program's definition of academic year

[[Formula 5B]]
[[34 CFR 690.66(c)(3)]]
For term programs, this step is the same as under Formula 3. The
school multiplies the annual award by the weeks in the term divided
by the weeks in the academic year:

Weeks of instructional time in the term
Annual award x -------------------------------------------------
Weeks of instructional time in program's
definition of academic year

If the resulting amount is more than 50% of the annual award, the
school must make the payment in at least two disbursements. A
single disbursement may never be more than 50% of the annual
award.

CORRESPONDENCE STUDY COMBINED WITH REGULAR
STUDY

[[34 CFR 690.8(b)]]
If correspondence coursework is to be combined with regular
coursework, the correspondence courses must meet the following
criteria to be included in the student's enrollment status:

- The courses must apply toward the student's degree or certificate
or must be remedial work to help the student in his or her course
of study.

- The courses must be completed during the period required for the
student's regular coursework.

When combining the number of hours of correspondence work with
the number of hours of regular coursework to determine the student's
enrollment status for a Pell, the amount of correspondence work
counted may not exceed the number of hours of regular coursework
in which the student is enrolled. (However, if the student is taking at
least a half-time load of correspondence courses, the student would
be paid as at least a half-time student, regardless of the hours of
regular coursework.)

The following chart gives examples of the above rules. The chart
assumes that the school defines full-time enrollment as 12 credits per
term, making half-time enrollment 6 credits per term. As you can see
in the second and third examples, the number of correspondence
hours that were counted in the total course load were adjusted so that
the correspondence hours never exceed the regular hours taken. Note
that in the last example, the student is eligible for payment based on
half-time enrollment in correspondence courses, despite the fact that
the student only took 2 hours of regular coursework.

[[The combined correspondence/regular study enrollment status
chart on page 4-52 in currently unavailable. Please reference your
paper document for additional information.]]

A student will be paid as a less-than-half-time student for any
combination of regular and correspondence work that is less than 6
hours.

FOREIGN STUDY

A student can be paid a Pell for study at a foreign school only if the
coursework is taken as part of an eligible program at an eligible U.S.
school. The foreign study arrangement must be covered by a written
agreement between the two schools. Such an arrangement would
have to meet the same requirements as a contractual agreement (see
the discussion in Chapter 3, Section 5).

Students enrolled in study abroad programs with costs of attendance
higher than those of the home school may receive a higher Pell
award to cover those costs, not to exceed the maximum Pell award.

JOB TRAINING (JTPA) PROGRAMS

If a program conducted with funding provided through the Job
Training Partnership Act (JTPA) is offered by an eligible school and
meets the definition of an eligible program, eligible students in that
program may receive Pell assistance.


[[Tuition and fees charges for JTPA programs]]
The amount of a Pell for a student in a JTPA program is calculated
just as for any other Pell recipient. A school may include a tuition
and fees charge in the COA for a Pell recipient only if that charge is
actually made to the student and is paid either by the student or by
some type of student financial assistance (such as JTPA). The
existence of such a tuition and fees charge must be documented in
the same way as for any non-JTPA student--for instance, in the
school's contract with the student or in the agreement with the JTPA
agency. (If the school charges the student for tuition and fees, the
school would have to expect the student to pay the charge if the
JTPA agency or other source of assistance does not pay on the
student's behalf.)

On the other hand, if the school does not actually charge the student
for tuition and fees (either because it is prohibited from doing so
under the JTPA contract, or for other reasons), then no tuition and
fees component would exist for the Pell COA. Even if there is no
tuition and fees component, the student's COA includes the other
components described in Chapter 2. Note that if there is no tuition
and fees component, the school would be required to use the
Alternate Federal Pell Grant Schedule for programs with tuition
charges of less than $150. See "Dear Colleague" Letter POL-97-1,
provided as Appendix E.

[[Reimbursement contracts]]
Certain JTPA contracts operate on a reimbursement basis; that is, the
student must fulfill the terms of the contract before JTPA will
reimburse the school for tuition and fee costs. If the student does not
fulfill the terms of the contract, the school is left with an unpaid
tuition and fees charge. The school is not permitted to hold the
student liable for the unpaid tuition and fees. Contracts are
established this way to offer schools an incentive to properly train
and place students enrolled in the training programs. As mentioned
previously, if a tuition and fees charge is included in a Pell recipient's
COA, the student is liable for any outstanding charges if JTPA does
not pay them. Therefore, schools that enter into reimbursement
contracts MUST REMOVE THE TUITION AND FEES component
from the Pell COA because, under these contracts, schools are
prohibited from holding the student liable for outstanding charges.

REMEDIAL COURSEWORK

A noncredit remedial course is one for which the school allows no
credit toward a degree or certificate. A reduced-credit course is one
for which the school gives some credit toward the degree or
certificate, but not as much as would normally be given based on the
workload required by the course.

[[Enrollment status]]
When figuring enrollment status, the school must include any
reduced-credit or noncredit remedial coursework designed to
increase the student's ability to pursue his or her program of study.
Chapter 2 explains how to include these courses in enrollment status,
as well as the limits on the amount of remedial coursework that can
be included.

[[ESL as an eligible program--34 CFR 668.8(j)]]
Schools may pay Pells to students enrolled in ESL programs if such
programs consist solely of ESL coursework, meet the definition of an
eligible program (see Chapter 3, Section 1), and enroll only
undergraduate students who need the program to be able to use
already existing knowledge, training, or skills. To apply for a
determination of the eligibility of an ESL program, the school should
contact the Institutional Participation and Oversight Service.

TERMS WITH CLOCK HOURS

[[NEW]]
The amount of a Pell for a student enrolled in clock-hour term
programs is calculated under Formula 4, as discussed in Section 2.
The payment period for these programs is no longer the academic
term. Instead, the payment periods are determined in the same way
as for nonterm clock-hour programs. The student must complete all
the clock hours in the payment period before receiving any more Pell
funds. Previously, if a student did not complete all clock hours
scheduled for a term, the subsequent payment period was shortened
to realign the payment periods with the terms. As of July 1, 1997, the
subsequent payment period is not shortened. Instead, each payment
period contains the same number of clock hours originally
scheduled, even if this means that none of the student's succeeding
payment periods coincide with the terms.

[[The terms with clock hours example on page 4-55 is currently
unavailable for viewing. Please reference your paper document
for additional information.]]


*1* If the written agreement is with an ineligible school, see the
discussion of contractual agreements in Chapter 3, Section 5. A
school may not enter a contractual agreement with a school that has
LOST its eligibility. In a contractual agreement with an ineligible
school, the student must be enrolled for the entire program at the
eligible school, even though a portion of the program is provided by
contract with the ineligible school. Thus, the student's enrollment
status and COA are based on the hours taken at, and the costs in, the
eligible program.

Last Modified: 07/28/1998