Federal Pell Grant

The Federal Pell Grant is a form of need-based financial aid offered to low-income students. Unlike student loans, federal grants (including the Pell Grant) do not have to be repaid. Pell Grants are available at any college or university that participates in the Title IV aid program.

Pell Grant eligibility

The eligibility for a Pell Grant is determined by a variety of factors. To be eligible, a student must:

  • Demonstrate financial need (as calculated by the school's financial aid office)
  • Be a high school graduate or hold a GED
  • Be enrolled at least half time in an eligible undergraduate (or teacher certification) program
  • Be a US citizen or eligible non-citizen

How to apply

To apply for the Pell Grant, students must file a FAFSA form, which becomes available starting January 1 of each year. Students must re-apply each year for the grant by submitting the FAFSA Renewal.

How much is awarded

The Pell Grant is need-based aid, meaning the amount a student is eligible for is determined by the family's Expected Family Contribution (EFC), enrollment status, and Cost of Attendance (COA). The maximum amount that students can receive for the 2013-2014 award year is $5,635, though students may qualify for less depending on calculated need. The award amount is then split between academic terms or semesters, with at least two disbursements per year.

Note: Students whose parent or guardian died serving in Afghanistan or Iraq after 9/11/01 are eligible to receive the maximum Pell Grant award. To qualify, students must meet Pell Grant eligibility and be under the age of 24 or enrolled in college at the time of the parent's death.

Learn more about other federal college grants and scholarships.