Can I Get A Summer Pell Grant?
It is true, you can now get a summer Pell Grant, although because of the recent Congressional vote that took place in the winter-spring of 2011 you will not be able to get more than one Pell Grant award per school year.
This means that to get a summer Pell Grant you would have to either not be going to school during the spring, winter, or fall semesters, or you would have to choose to not utilize all of your Pell Grant aid during those academic terms.
The bottom line is that you can no longer get more than one full Pell Grant award per academic year, and while it is still possible to get summer Pell Grants, you must have enough aid leftover after the conventional school year has finished to utilize towards summer semesters.
Applying for a Summer Pell Grant
Because students are not able to receive more than one Pell Grant award per year due to the recent vote in Congress, applying for a Summer Pell Grant really comes down to knowing how any aid will be utilized throughout the school year. Everything else remains the same, including all appropriate deadlines for completing the FAFSA.
The two main scenarios where students will be able to benefit from a Summer Pell Grant involve when they won’t be going to class during the spring, winter, or fall semesters, and when they may have not have a use for Pell Grant aid during those semesters.
The first situation is simple enough, as any student who knows that they’ll only be attending in the summer can simply apply and receive their aid as they normally would, as it will be allocated during the summer semesters they’ll be attending without hesitation.
The second situation is a little bit more complex, as it may involve students who attend classes during the spring, winter, or fall semesters, yet don’t have a use for Pell Grant aid during such terms. This is where a certain amount of aid can be set aside for the summer semesters, and thus hopefully utilized without going to waste.
As of May of 2011, I’m still not completely sure how this is going to play out exactly. As of right now the major revision to the Pell Grant program that has come by way of the recent Congressional vote does seem to involve the elimination of a student’s ability to get a second Pell Grant award during any one particular school year.
This means that all of the details that may surround a student’s ability to get a summer Pell Grant have not been ironed out, and I will update this site once I find out some more definitive information. As of right now students and parents should simply understand that you can still use Pell Grant aid for the summer semesters, only that you cannot receive more than a full Pell Grant award for the 2011-12 school year.
Update. Please view this post about the 2011-2012 Pell Grant cuts to learn more about the impact this Congressional vote has had on the Pell Grant program.