Created in 1972 and named after Senator Clairborne Pell of Rhode Island, the Pell Grant is the most extensive grant program offered by the U.S. Department of Education. It is a form of financial aid awarded to low-income undergraduate students to help them afford college tuition fees and other educational expenses.
The Pell Grant is highly sought after as, unlike a typical student loan, it does not need to be repaid. Read on to know about the application process, eligibility requirements, and more.
You need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to apply for a Pell Grant. This form requires details like your personal information, your parents’ information, financial information, and more. Note that you need to keep filling out this form every year to show that you have not dropped off from school to continue receiving aid.
You can qualify for Pell Grants if you are a first-time undergraduate who displays a high level of financial need and are a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen. In some cases, you may receive a Pell Grant if you are a student enrolled in a post baccalaureate teacher certification program.
Another factor is your Expected Financial Contribution (EFC). It is calculated from the information provided in your FAFSA form and the results that will decide your eligibility for the Pell Grant Program.
Note that you may lose your eligibility for this program if you fail to make satisfactory academic progress, withdraw from courses, or not maintain your enrollment status.
You will not be eligible for Pell Grants if:
The Pell Grant is only available for 12 terms (approximately six years), after which you do not remain eligible to receive an award amount.
The amount you can get varies yearly and depends on the following factors:
In certain situations, you can receive up to 150 percent of your scheduled grant payment for an award year. For example, if you are eligible for a $5,000 Pell Grant for an award year and are enrolled full-time for both the Fall and Spring terms, you may receive $2,500 in the fall and the spring. However, you may receive an extra $2,500 in an additional term within that year in certain circumstances. This situation is referred to as “year-round Pell.”
You will receive the total Pell Grant amount you are entitled to as each school that participates in this program receives sufficient funds from the U.S. Department of Education. However, you should note that you may not receive Pell Grants from more than one school at a time.
Your Federal Pell Grant award amount will not be affected by any other student aid you may receive.
The Pell Grant may be paid to you directly, or your school can apply for the Grant funds to cover your school costs, or it can be a combination of both.
You may be eligible for a larger Pell Grant if –
If you meet the above stipulations and meet the eligibility requirements of the Pell Grant. In that case, your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will be recalculated as zero, and your payments will be calculated accordingly.