What Happens When Your Pell Grant Gets Suspended?

Pell Grants are intended for academic books, tuition, housing and other college expenses.
Pell Grants are intended for academic books, tuition, housing and other college expenses. (Image: Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Pell Grants are funded by the federal government and intended for students with low Expected Family Contributions, or EFCs. If a student does not meet minimum requirements for credit hours or is on academic suspension, his Pell Grant might be suspended until he requalifies. For students that rely heavily on the funds from their Pell Grants, a grant suspension might prevent them from paying tuition or housing.


Students are typically given the chance to appeal the suspension of their Pell Grants. The appeal process depends on the college, but a student usually fills out a form that requests specific information regarding her financial aid suspension. For instance, if a student's grade point average falls below a certain amount, she must explain on the form what led to the decline and what she's doing to correct the problem.

Fund Disbursement

The most significant effect of a Pell Grant suspension is the halt of financial aid funds to a student or parent's bank account. If a student's Pell Grant is suspended by his university, the grant funds dispersed by the federal government to the university are returned to the government. A student cannot reclaim returned Pell Grant funds if his suspension is lifted.

Status Review

Student status reviews are usually necessary once a Pell Grant is suspended. To qualify for the Pell Grant again and lift a suspension, a student must correct the initial problems that led to the suspension. For instance, if a student doesn't meet the academic requirements of the university, an advisor might be assigned to check the student's progress during the next semester to see if she is eligible for a Pell Grant again. Status reviews typically follow the appeals process.

Other Financial Aid

The suspension of a student's Pell Grant typically does not affect the disbursement of federal loans to the student. For example, if a student receives $10,000 of his financial aid from federally subsidized loans and $2,000 from Pell Grants each semester, the suspension of his Pell Grant will not stop his lender from giving him his $10,000 loan. Other grants and scholarships might be affected, however, if a Pell Grant is suspended, particularly if the reason for the suspension is academic performance.

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