What is a Pell Grant?

What is a Pell Grant – Overview

Pell Grant is a kind of need-based federal financial aid. It is usually not required to be repaid by the beneficiary, which makes it extremely popular.

The U.S. Department of Education provides this grant to eligible, low-income students. This grant is used to pay expenses of college studies, including fees, tuition, room and board, along with other educational expenses.

The Pell Grant is the biggest financial grant program managed by the Department of Education for undergraduate students.

It was established in 1972 and had been awarding financial aid to thousands of deserving students every year.

Students can apply for this grant by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at the official website

Do You Need to Pay Back Your Pell Grant?

What is a Pell Grant

What is a Pell Grant – Do you need to pay back Pell Grant

No, you do not need to pay back the Pell Grant amount. This is a significant source of financial aid and part of a bigger financial aid plan.

Other types of student aid may include student loans which need to be paid back. The federal work-study program is also offered so that students can work to receive an hourly wage while attending college.

The first step in receiving Pell Grant is to complete and submit the FAFSA. In this, you may be asked to fill in details of your family, such as the number of children studying in college, annual income, etc.

These factors are highly crucial to determine if an applicant is eligible to receive the Pell Grant.

How Much is the Pell Grant?

The Pell Grant amount for a student depends on their family’s expected family contribution (EFC), the number of academic years they plan to attend college, their enrollment status and their cost of attendance at the selected educational institute.

Each year, the Pell Grant amount is calculated after taking into consideration such factors.

Successful grant recipients will need to fill and submit the FAFSA each year to continue receiving the grant amount.

As the information entered into the FAFSA may change every year, this results in changes in the student’s EFC, which in turn determines the specific Pell Grant amount.

If the Pell Grant beneficiary is receiving other forms of financial student aid, then this does not affect their ability to receive the Pell Grant amount.

In addition, the specific Pell Grant amount also depends on the budget passed by Congress each year. In December 2020, Congress passed a law that increased the maximum Pell Grant amount by US$ 150.

The maximum amount granted under Pell Grants to an individual student in 2021-2022 is US$ 6,495 while the minimum amount is around US$ 650. An EFC of 5846 is sufficient for students to qualify for Pell Grants.

In case your family’s EFC changes, such as the loss of a job for a parent or incurring noticeable medical expenses, then you can submit a fresh appeal to the school for additional financial aid.

This may even result in the student receiving a larger amount through a Pell Grant.

Who is eligible for Pell Grant?

The Pell Grant is different from other types of student financial aid because the student’s eligibility criteria remain the same across different educational institutes as long as the institute is a participant in the federal student financial aid program.

Currently, more than 6,000 schools, colleges and universities across the United States are participants in the Pell Grant program for student aid, as per the US Department of Education reports.

The eligibility criteria for a Pell Grant include students being able to prove exceptional financial need on the FAFSA. The applicant should be a US citizen and eligible non-citizen and not yet received a bachelor’s, professional or graduate degree.

In case a student decides to withdraw from the educational course they are pursuing through Pell Grant aid, then they may lose their eligibility status. This is also applicable to students who fail to continue making good academic progress, such as the inability to fulfill a college’s GPA requirements.

Where to apply for Pell Grant?

To apply for a Pell Grant, first, you need to make sure that you fulfill all eligibility criteria. The next thing to do is to fill and submit the FAFSA form from the official website link provided in the article.

Once the monitoring committee deems you eligible for the grant, you will receive a positive acknowledgment within a few days.


If you are selected to receive the Pell Grant, then you can expect to get the amount directly at any time during the semester payment period.

The specific college or school determines the time and process by which students can receive their Pell Grant amount.

Here is the List of Pell Grants by State:

Pell Grants in Alabama
Pell Grants in California
Pell Grants in Kentucky
Pell Grants in Mississippi
Pell Grants in Ohio
Pell Grants in Texas
Pell Grants in Alabama
Pell Grants in Georgia

Reference links



See Also

Pell Grants for Single Moms

Steps to Earn EMT Certification

What Happens to Unused Pell Grant Money?

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