What you need to know

Federal Pell Grant funding is limited to the equivalent of 12 full-time terms (life-time eligibility), starting from the first time you received Federal Pell Grant funding. If you have already received the equivalent of or exceeded the 12 full-time term limit, you will no longer be able to receive Pell Grant funds. Pell Grant payments can be viewed on NSLDS.

There are no appeals or exceptions to the life-time eligibility Pell Grant rule.

The Federal Pell Grant is gift aid that does not need to be repaid and is based on enrollment and an expected family contribution (EFC).

Students who have already earned a bachelor, master, or professional degree are not eligible for the Federal Pell Grant.


To be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, you must meet these requirements each academic year:

  • Complete a FAFSA.
  • Be a U.S. Citizen or an eligible non-citizen.
  • Be a degree-seeking student or enrolled in an eligible certificate program.
  • Have a Pell-eligible Expected Family Contribution (EFC), as determined by the FAFSA.
  • Have not have previously received a bachelor's degree or higher.
  • Must not owe a repayment or be in default under any state or federal grant or loan program.
  • Must be meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress.

More information on Federal Pell Grants

For additional information regarding HCC policies, financial aid topics, health and safety, and student outcomes, please visit Consumer Information.