NAICU Washington Update

2015-16 Pell Grant Maximum is $55 less than expected

February 10, 2015

The Department of Education, in a Dear Colleague Letter, defined the maximum Pell Grant award, and provided detail on the payment and disbursement schedules, for the 2015-16 award year.

The Pell Grant maximum for the 2015-16 award year will be $5,775, not $5,830 as previously reported. The reduced amount is due to a lower than expected rate of inflation, not because of any Congressional action.

The Pell Grant maximum is made up of two funding streams – one set by Congress in appropriations, and one set automatically based on inflation from mandatory funds. For 2015-16, Congress allocated enough funds for a base grant of $4,860, and estimated that the mandatory add on would make the final total grant $5,830, or $100 more than last year. However, when the Office of Management and Budget released the official inflation data for 2014, the rate of growth was much lower than expected. Thus, the mandatory add on will only be $45 more than last year for a total maximum Pell Grant of $5,775.

In addition to the maximum award amount, the Department also provided the Pell Grant payment and disbursement schedules for 2015. Presidents should alert their Financial Aid Officers and Chief Financial Officers of the lower limit and schedules.

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