Defining a Pell Grant Overpayment

Written by Michael Bennet

A Pell Grant overpayment describes a situation where a particular student may have received Pell Grant aid when they weren’t supposed to.

This typically happens when a student drops out of school, although it can also happen when certain types of financial aid weren’t reported to the college, and when there were errors made by either the institution at hand, or by the student when applying for aid.

Denying Eligibility and Institutional Policies

A Pell Grant overpayment is stricken to the student’s record once it is established that they received Pell Grant aid that they weren’t supposed to receive, and until the money is paid back the student may not be able to get any sort of future federal student aid. This is because one of the eligibility requirements for all federal student aid involves not being in default on a federal student loan, and not owing a refund on a federal educational grant.

Most colleges have distinct policies in regard to Pell Grant overpayments, and these typically revolve around the amount of money the student received, and the dates that surrounded when the student altered their enrollment schedule. A student typically doesn’t have to worry about anything unless they dropped out of classes after a disbursement and before the deadlines that warrant a full semester’s worth of classwork.

The Opposite Effect

Students may actually be able to receive more Pell Grant aid if they alter their schedule during mid-semester if they end up taking more credits.

This is almost the opposite situation that would describe an overpayment, and make sure to inform your financial aid department of any changes that you make to your schedule during the term if you want to take advantage of your Pell Grant eligibility, and your ability to get additional money via the Pell.