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Graduating tomorrow but PELL has just disappeared

fafsahelpfafsahelp Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
edited September 2013 in Financial Aid & Scholarships
I attended SUMMER classes 2 weeks ago, passed all my classes and should now be graduating tomorrow (September 1st). My school gives SUMMER aid, both PELL and STATE. I filled out all the necessary paperwork to get SUMMER aid, though about 2 weeks ago I had to resubmit my SUMMER aid application because someone at my college's financial aid department lost it! I also took out a student loan to pay for my living expenses because I've been unemployed for the past year. I was up at my school a few days earlier and everything seemed to be fine. My student loan paid out first and immediately paid off almost all that I owed for my SUMMER classes, and my PELL and STATE aid were both pending. I wanted to make sure that I was for certain going to get my PELL and STATE aid, and the person at the financial aid office gave me that certainty. They also had the Bursar take off any holds on my account because my aid would be coming in next week. I'm in the process of getting a job that requires documentation that I've graduated, and I can only get this documentation if there's no hold on my account. A couple days ago I check my aid status and see that every things still there except now my loan has been refunded. My PELL and STATE aid were still there so I felt like there was no need to worry. Come today, I log on to check if my PELL has paid out but its now disappeared and there's a hold on my account. I'm and independent student, unemployed, broke and in-debt with student loans so there's no question about be being eligible for aid.
If this problem isn't remedied by Tuesday it'll have the possibility of derailing my ability to secure my job. The last thing I would want to do is sue someone but I have alot riding on this job, like paying off my students loans and being reunited with someone I may propose to. Therefore unless this problem is fixed immediately I'll feel forced to take legal action against my school.
Could this just be an easily fixable quirk in the system and so I have nothing to worry about? Any ideas, advice or help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Post edited by fafsahelp on

Replies to: Graduating tomorrow but PELL has just disappeared

  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 72,226 Senior Member
    First of all...a lawsuit would not be the quickest or best way to solve this.

    You need to go in person to the financial aid office first thing Tuesday. It is possible that this is an error, and it it possible it is not.

    There is no way for any of us to tell you what is what. You need to find that out from your school.

    BUT...I will add...did you receive a financial aid award letter from your school for the summer that includes all of the aid you think you should be getting for these summer classes? Did you accept those awards in a timely fashion? If you have that financial aid award letter, and your record of accepting the awards, take those with you Tuesday morning.
  • fafsahelpfafsahelp Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Thank you for replying. I've never received any letters from my college about my awards. I'm able to check them online. I did take screen-caps though of my awards that date to about a week ago just to be on the safe side. The people at my financial aid office are very helpful and empathetic to all the nonsense I've had to go through, but I'm wondering if I should speak to a higher-up immediately since I obviously need this taken care of ASAP?
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 72,226 Senior Member
    You need to take any documentation that you received these awards with you...hopefully they are dated.
  • 4kidsdad4kidsdad Registered User Posts: 4,602 Senior Member
    my loan has been refunded.
    Do you have the student loan refund in your bank account? Could you use it to payoff the hold on your school account? It seems quicker than you
    to take legal action against my school
  • annoyingdadannoyingdad Registered User Posts: 3,026 Senior Member
    Yes, you need to go in Tuesday and get this explained/resolved. I'm confused though why this wasn't all settled in June or July soon after the summer session presumably started. It's not clear how long the Pell and State grant were pending but I would think they would change to some other status by the time you completed the summer session. Are they now under some other status tab or been applied to a bill in your online account? I wonder too if some of this has to do with whether the school treats summer sessions as the end or beginning of the finaid year. Can't explain the account hold though.
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,992 Senior Member
    2 things to look at.

    Did you receive Pell during the regular 2012-2013 school year? If you received the full year's pell eligibility during the school year, and your school treats summer as part of the preceding year, there is no such thing as summer Pell any more. The govt cancelled the summer pell program a couple of years ago. The only way you would be eligible for Pell in the summer is if your school treats summer as part of the following year (some do) or if you did not attend full time during the regular school year.

    The other thing is the lifetime cap. Pell is capped at 600% (basically the equivalent of six years full time) of eligibility. If you have reached the cap, you are no longer eligible for Pell.
  • fafsahelpfafsahelp Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Thanks for the responses. I did receive both PELL/STATE aid for 2012-2013 and my school uses any future aid I could receive to cover for PELL/STATE in the summer. I also haven't used more than 2-3 years of financial aid.
    The reason this is all so late in the semester is due to first being mailed a verification letter that was dated much earlier than when I received it. Second, waiting for the verification to process so I could submit my request for SUMMER aid. And third, the financial aid office losing my SUMMER aid request document.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 72,226 Senior Member
    If the Pell awards for summer are part of NEXT academic year awards, did you complete a 2013-2014 FAFSA?

    I'm confused about what you mean by your state and any future Pell awards. As Swimcatsmom noted, if you have already received the full Pell amount for 2012-2013 school year, there isn't any Pell left for you to receive for the summer. If summer is part of the 2012-2013 academic year.

    If your school views summer as part of the 2013-2014 school year, you would have needed to submit THAT FAFSA...is that what was being verified?

    Usually one applies for aid first...and sometimes get selected for verification. I'm confused as to what was being verified if you did not already applied for aid.

    I am surprised your college allowed you to complete the summer courses without full payment as a certainty.

    Regardless...take paper copies of EVERYTHING with you on Tuesday...everything you sent for verification, everything.
  • fafsahelpfafsahelp Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    Thanks again for responding.
    I did fill out my 2013-2014 FAFSA and that's what was being verified. I believe my school views the summer as part of 2012-2013 year, however I couldn't apply for my summer aid unless the 2013-2014 year was verified. This is most likely because if there's no aid left from the 2012-2013 year to pay for summer my school takes the aid from the 2013-2014 year. Hope that clears up the confusion and thanks again.
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,992 Senior Member
    If your school treats the summer as part of the 2012-2013 school year for FA and you had already had the full year's Pell eligibility in the regular year, they cannot award you extra Pell in the summer. Pell has a strict limit set by the Feds. A few years ago there was summer Pell but only for a 2 year period.

    It all sounds a bit strange. There is currently no summer pell and a school cannot use next year's aid for summer aid unless they actually normally treat the summer as part of the next year.

    Did the FA dept know you would be graduating and not attending in the fall? It almost sounds like they were somehow trying to use 2013-14 aid toward 2012-13 expenses which would be breaking the rules big time.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Registered User Posts: 15,142 Senior Member
    Don't panic. Many schools use computer systems that will back things off temporarily while something is processing. Other times, the system will back something off inadvertently, and someone has to find it & fix it. Talk to the school - see if they have a person who handles Pell, as this person will be the best one to look at your situation & figure out what happened. Things are probably fine ... call tomorrow & find out for sure what is going on.

    You are graduating ... did you do a new FAFSA for grad school? If so, that is what knocked out your Pell (it happened a lot where I used to work). In that case, someone in the aid office will be able to lock in your summer Pell so it won't happen again.
This discussion has been closed.