Failed a Class While on a Pell Grant? Understand Your Options

VD November 11 2021

If you fail while being in school under the federal Pell grant fund, the situation can be uncontrollable for you. But don't worry. This article will explain how you can still keep the grant if you fail a class or if your GPA is dropped below the required criteria.

Before we jump into the details, let's just understand what GPA is and how it is used to know the student's academic progress.


What is GPA and why is it important

Grade point average (GPA) is calculated by taking the mean of all the grades you have earned in the previous classes. There are 95% chance that if you fail a class, your GPA will drop below the eligibility criteria. 

Another important aspect to understand here is the eligibility criteria. Every year the federal government sets the maximum grade point average required for students who are on a Pell grant fund. The basic eligibility criterion states that if you have not failed any class in the past, your GPA should be 2.0 or above. This means that you should have gotten at least D grades in all the classes taken previously to maintain this requirement of basic eligibility. If you fail a class, then your GPA will drop below 2.0 and hence it would become difficult to keep the grant money coming into your account every term.

Therefore, if you are using any government grant, it is recommended to maintain your GPA above the eligibility criteria. If you have failed a class and your GPA is still above the eligibility criteria, you will probably not lose the funding. 

How do you still get pell grant if you fail class

Appealing the decision

In case you have failed the class after the last warning, the first thing you can do is to appeal the decision through the student advisor of your school. However, most of the schools do not allow this, but you can still try your luck and ask your student advisor to help you in this regard.

Suppose the facility of appealing the decision is present in your school. In that case, you can appeal the decision using multiple reasons such as accident, emergency, injury, illness of family member, death, and similar reasons.

Note: You should have all the valid proofs if you are taking the facility of appealing the decision through a student advisor because all the proofs will be attached with your application, and the decision will be based on that.

Reinstate the Pell Grant 

If you have failed a class, that already means you have put all the financial aids you are getting at stake because their only requirement is good academic progress, and you have failed to do that. But in some ways, you can reinstate the Pell grant.

Firstly, you have to improve your grades - there is no shortcut. Once you have improved your grades and you are eligible for the financial grant, you have to apply to file the FAFSA failing a class cannot help you through. You don't have to feel bad and don't apply next year; it is a part of the process to get things back into the routine.

Why we recommend you to apply again and again is based on students' experience. If financial aid stops for any reason, it takes very long to get it back, but as long as you perform well in academics, the option is still open for you.

Taking leave

It is possible to take a leave due to the fact that you cannot fail any class if you are on Pell grant fund. You can ask your school administration for taking a leave, and they will let you go only if your GPA falls below the eligibility criteria or if it falls below 2.0 because you have failed a class after the last warning.

If your school allows students to take leaves under special circumstances, then you should be able to get back the money in some other way, but this is likely not allowed by most of the schools.

Also, there are chances that your school does not accept leaves granted through third-party sources such as the military or workforce so do not waste time in convincing them about the special case.

Transferring the credits

If you fail a class on Pell grant and your GPA is above the eligibility criteria, there is another way of keeping grant money coming to your account each term. This way is by transferring the credits from that failed class into some other credit-bearing course offered at your school. You can also do this with two or more courses if you fail multiple classes after the last warning.

However, note that while taking this step, your credits should not exceed 12 within an academic year. If it does, then use it only for one course; otherwise, you will lose all the funding at once. Also, if any particular course has already been attempted more than twice previously either before or during enrollment under Pell grant fund, then that course cannot be transferred and it cannot be counted as a part of the program credits.

Taking summer courses

If you manage to drag yourself into another wacky semester, then there is another way of avoiding losing the Pell money by taking summer courses instead of semester-length classes. This can help in transferring the failed credits into something useful. Also, this will increase your GPA to the eligibility criteria once again, if not above it.

There are many other ways that students use for getting around this little detail where they fail a class while on Pell grant fund, but these are by far the most popular ones recommended here today. If you have any other doubts or questions about how to avoid falling while on Pell funding, feel free to ask them down below in the comments.



Losing the Pell Grant will not only affect the chances of attending classes, but it also shuts the option of running a side business with the money you will spend on the education. 

Therefore, we always recommend students remain proactive and never let anything disturb their grades. Moreover, you can also talk to your financial aid advisor in school and ask about the other ways to afford your studies. 

We hope you are now familiar with this government grant and we sincerely hope you will keep all these things in mind while you are in school.