Is a Student Eligible For Calculated Pell If the Maximum Pell Minus SAI Is Less Than the Minimum Pell Amount Before Rounding To the Nearest $5?

Award Year: 2024-25 KA-36994 Helpfulness Rating 592 page views

This guidance is specific to the 2024-25 award year and later.

No. According to guidance NASFAA has received from the U.S. Department of Education (ED), if a student's calculated Federal Pell Grant is less than the minimum award amount prior to rounding to the nearest $5, then the student is not eligible for a Pell Grant.

Using 2024-25 as an example, the FAFSA Processing System (FPS) subtracts the student aid index (SAI) from the maximum Pell amount ($7,395) to determine if the student would be eligible for a calculated Pell Grant. If the resulting figure is $740 (minimum Pell award amount) or greater, the student’s record will be flagged as Pell-eligible and any necessary rounding will then be done. However, if the result of the subtraction is below $740 (the SAI is greater than 6,655), then the student will not be eligible for Pell. For example, if the FPS calculates maximum Pell – SAI = $738, then the student will not be eligible for Pell and there would be no rounding.

Of course, there is still the possibility that the student could meet the eligible criteria for an automatic minimum Pell Grant. For additional guidance see AskRegs Knowledgebase Q&A: Can a Student Receive Minimum Pell Even With a High Calculated Student Aid Index?

Note: This Q&A uses 2024-25 Federal Pell Grant amounts. Be sure to use the correct maximum and minimum Pell amounts for future award years, as published annually in a Dear Colleague Letter. Also note that ED has indicated it will update FSA Handbook language to make the above guidance clearer.

AskRegs Q&As represent NASFAA's understanding of regulatory and compliance issues. They are FOR INTERNAL USE ONLY. While NASFAA believes AskRegs Q&As are accurate and factual, they have not been reviewed or approved by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). If you should need written confirmation of AskRegs information for audit or program review purposes, please contact your ED School Participation Division. NASFAA shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein; nor for incidental or consequential damages resulting from the furnishing, performance, or use of this material.