Dual Enrollment Federal Pell Grant Experiment

Beginning with the 2016-2017 processing year, HCC has been selected to participate in the U.S. Department of Education Dual Enrollment Pell Experiment. Under this program, Holyoke Public school students who are otherwise eligible for Title IV aid will be awarded Pell grants to help with the educational costs of the classes they are taking at HCC. Students will be awarded other funding to meet the costs not covered by Pell, as required by the experiment.

Please review the important information below regarding this experiment.

What is a Federal Pell grant? 

Federal Pell grant awards vary in amounts depending on a family's expected contribution, as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the number of college credits a student is enrolled in. These are federal funds that do not need to be paid back; however, it is important to note that lifetime limits do apply.

Why should I participate?

Students eligible for Pell grants have the opportunity to earn even more college credit while enrolled as a dual enrollment student. Students will not be limited to one course, can take additional courses over the summer, and have a greater guarantee of available funding. Furthermore, this is an opportunity to learn about the financial aid application process with the extra assistance of designated workshops and resources. 

What is the FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an online application that students and parents complete together. It is used to determine what a family may be expected to contribute towards a student's educational costs. Completing this application does not commit a family to covering any costs.

What is the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?

The expected family contribution (EFC) is determined by the FAFSA and it informs families and schools what the U.S. Department of Education determines your family can contribute. The EFC impacts the amount of Pell grant that a student may be eligible for. 

What do I need to pay?

For purposes of this program, students eligible for Pell grant funds will not be responsible for any other costs associated with their education. HCC has agreed to cover the costs that Pell grant funds do not cover. The only exceptions apply if a student withdraws or takes non-college level credits.

Will my book costs be covered? 

Students eligible for Pell grant funds will be awarded financial aid to cover the anticipated costs of required books and supplies. If the financial aid the student receives exceeds the amount needed for tuition, fees, and books, the excess will be refunded to the student for help with other out-of-pocket expenses, such as transportation.

What else do I need to do?

Students must meet the other eligibility requirements (other than high school completion) listed here. Families selected for verification may need to submit additional documentation to the HCC Financial Aid Office.

What if I am not eligible for Pell grants?

Students who are ineligible for Pell grants may have a single course covered by alternative funding sources.

Verification & Required Documentation

FAFSA provides the school with certain information and requirements. There are times when we are required to get additional documents from families/students. It does not mean you did anything incorrectly; it is simply a process that the U.S. Department of Education has in place to randomly select applications for review. We will communicate any requirements to you in the form of a letter. Information regarding deadlines for required documentation can be found here. Please feel free to contact us if you need assistance in completing any steps in the application process. 

Lifetime Eligibility Limits

The Federal Pell grant is restricted to a lifetime limit of 12 full-time semesters. Students who attend less than full time (12 credits) use up this limit on a pro-rated basis. In other words, if a student attends half-time (6 credits) then they are only using half of one of the 12 semesters of eligibility and can continue to take classes on a part-time basis for a longer period of time.

Non-college Level Coursework

Typically, the Pell grant does cover developmental courses; however, it does not for the purposes of dually enrolled students. Students are required to pay for the educational expenses related to these courses on their own, unless other funding sources are available.


A student may be responsible for charges if they withdraw from all of their courses, stop attending their courses, or withdraw from a single course while not enrolled in any other courses at the same time. The financial aid office will perform a federally required calculation when a student is determined to have withdrawn to determine how much of the Pell grant funds that student earned. If the student fails to earn all of the funds, then some or all of the funds may be returned and the student would be responsible for the outstanding balance at the college. For more information please refer to our withdrawal information.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the minimum standards required to maintain eligibility for federal and state financial aid programs. The coursework taken as a dually enrolled student impacts SAP whether the student is the receipt of Pell funds or not. There are three components to SAP:

  1. Grade-based: Students must maintain a certain cumulative GPA.
  2. Pace Toward Completion: Students must earn semester hours equal to at least two-thirds of the semester hours they attempt.
  3. Maximum Time Frame: Students must complete their program of student within 150% of the published number of semester hours (credits) required to complete the program. 

Students who fail to meet the grade based or pace standards are issued a financial aid warning before facing financial aid suspension. There is no warning for maximum time frame. Students who fail to meet the standards may appeal if they feel as though there were documented extraordinary circumstances that prevented them from meeting the standards. 

The complete SAP policy and appeal information can be found here.

HCC's Financial Aid Office has financial aid counselors available to assist you with all aspects of understanding and completing the financial aid application process. Please feel free to stop in during our normal office hours or contact us by phone: 413.552.2150 or email: financialaid@hcc.edu.  

Net Price Calculator

These calculators will help you get an estimate of the amount of grant aid you might expect to receive if you attend HCC full-time and meet all federal and state financial aid eligibility requirements.


Contact us

Questions? Contact the Financial Aid office:

Frost 201