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Know Your Limits

Financial aid programs have limits after which students are no longer eligible to receive. It is important that you are aware and plan accordingly.

General

You may not receive Federal aid from more than one school at a time for the same period of enrollment or when enrollment overlaps.

Federal Pell Grant

The amount of Federal Pell Grant funds you may receive over your lifetime is limited by federal law to be the equivalent of six years (12 full-time semesters) of Pell Grant funding. Since the maximum amount of Pell Grant funding you can receive each year is equal to 100%, the six-year equivalent is 600%.

If your Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) equals or exceeds 600%, you may no longer receive Pell Grant funding. Similarly, if your LEU is greater than 500% but less than 600%, while you will be eligible for a Pell Grant for the next award year, you will not be able to receive a full scheduled award.

You can log on to National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS®) using your FSA ID and view your LEU. The LEU will be found on the Financial Aid Review page.

Federal Direct Loan Subsidized

If you are a first-time borrower on or after July 1, 2013, there is a limit on the maximum period of time (measured in academic years) that you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans. You may not receive Direct Subsidized Loans for more than 150 percent of the published length of your program. This is called your “maximum eligibility period.” Your maximum eligibility period is generally based on the published length of your current program. You can usually find the published length of any program of study in the school’s catalog.

For example, if you are enrolled in a four-year bachelor’s degree program, the maximum period for which you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans is six years (150 percent of 4 years = 6 years). Because your maximum eligibility period is based on the length of your current program of study, your maximum eligibility period can change if you change to a program that has a different length. Also, if you receive Direct Subsidized Loans for one program and then change to another program, the Direct Subsidized Loans you received for the earlier program will generally count toward your new maximum eligibility period.

Federal Direct Student Loan Limits

there are limits on the amount in subsidized and unsubsidized loans that you may be eligible to receive each academic year (annual loan limits) and the total amounts that you may borrow for undergraduate study (aggregate loan limits). The actual loan amount you are eligible to receive each academic year may be less than the annual loan limit. These limits vary depending on

  • what year you are in school and
  • whether you are a dependent or independent student.

The following chart shows the annual and aggregate limits for subsidized and unsubsidized loans.

Year Dependent Students (except students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans) Independent Students (and dependent undergraduate students whose parents are unable to obtain PLUS Loans)
First-Year Undergraduate Annual Loan Limit $5,500—No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $9,500—No more than $3,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Second-Year Undergraduate Annual Loan Limit $6,500—No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $10,500—No more than $4,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Third-Year and Beyond Undergraduate Annual Loan Limit $7,500—No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $12,500—No more than $5,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.
Subsidized and Unsubsidized Aggregate Loan Limit $31,000—No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans. $57,500 for undergraduates—No more than $23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans.

If the total loan amount you receive over the course of your education reaches the aggregate loan limit, you are not eligible to receive additional loans.

Federal Work-Study (FWS)

Students with federal work-study are limited to working a maximum of 20 hours per week. FWS can be earned from the first day of classes in the fall to the last day of finals in the spring. It is not available for summer employment, nor can it be earned any semester/term the student is not enrolled full time.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

You need to make satisfactory academic progress in order to continue receiving federal student aid. In other words, you have to make good enough grades, and complete enough classes (credits, hours, GPA, etc.), to keep moving toward successfully completing your degree.  All Federal and State financial aid programs are subject to Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards. The academic progress are reviewed at least once annually, primarily at the end of the academic year. Please review our Satisfactory Academic Progress webpage for detailed information.