Financial Aid Gurus Wanted

<p>An acquaintance asked me these questions, and I really don't know the answers. If a student who has taken several years of leave from college and is now independent wants to go back to school, what would his PELL and Stafford limits be? What would they be if he went part time? This student has never used either of those programs in those first years at school. Is there a time limitation for PELL and Stafford? A maximum amount? A number of credits limitation? </p>

<p>Most of what I know pertains to traditional students.</p>

<p>There is no age limit to Pell grants. You can still get them if you are an older non traditional student (but only if you do not already have a bachelors degree). They are based on the student's EFC which for an independent student would be based on their own income and assets (and spouse if there is one). The limit for the number of Pell grants you can get is very generous - something like 18 semesters. Whatever amount of Pell a student is eligible for (if any) is reduced proportionately for a part time student depending on how much they were attending. As far as I can recall you can get Pell based on full time, 3/4 time, half time, less than half time.</p>

<p>There is also no age limit on Stafford loans. For an independent student the limits are:
Freshman $9500 of which up to $3500 may be subsidized
Sophomore: $10,500 of which up to $4500 may be subsidized
3rd year and beyond: $12,500 of which up to $5500 may be subsidized.
Aggregate limit: $57,500 of which up to $23,000 may be subsidized.
Stafford require at least half time attendance.</p>

<p>As far as credit limits this depends on the school. Each school has to have a SAP policy (satisfactory academic progress) that determines their student's eligibility for financial aid - any aid including loans. This includes maximum number of credits attempted - this is all credits ever attempted at any college including any withdrawals - it generally seems to be in the region of 150% of the credits required for the degree. So if the degree is 120 credits then once the student hits 180 they are not eligible for aid. (but each school has their own policy). It will also include things like minimum GPA etc and some schools may have a time limitation.</p>

<p>The cap on Pell awards does not include the Pell grants from the past (starts this year). </p>

<p>Often independent students without a dependent other than a spouse get hit hard due to their income. Friend definitely needs to run numbers through an EFC calculator.</p>

<p>Thanks. I don't know his income but it can't be that much seeing where he works. I don't think he ever had Pells before but may have taken some Staffords. It's been a while since he's been out of school.</p>