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, and other educational expenses.

The Pell Grant is the biggest financial program the Department of Education manages for undergraduate students.

The Pell Grant program was established in 1965 under the Higher Education Act.

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 that must 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 a 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 crucial to determining if an applicant is eligible for 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 considering such factors.

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

The information entered into the FAFSA may change every year, resulting in changes in the student’s EFC, which determines the specific Pell Grant amount.

If the Pell Grant beneficiary receives 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. Changes in the Pell Grant amount are determined annually through the federal budget process.

For the academic year 2022-2023, the maximum Pell Grant award was $6,895; the minimum award varies annually based on federal funding. The student’s EFC determines eligibility for Pell Grants.

If your family’s EFC changes, such as a parent losing his or her job or incurring noticeable medical expenses, 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 participates in the federal student financial aid program.

The number of institutions participating in the Pell Grant program varies; to check for participating institutions, consult the Department of Education’s website or the institution’s financial aid office.

The eligibility criteria for a Pell Grant include students being able to prove exceptional financial need on the FAFSA. The applicant must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen.

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

Where to apply for a Pell Grant

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

After the FAFSA is processed, eligibility and award decisions for Pell Grants are communicated through the Student Aid Report (SAR).


Pell Grant funds are typically disbursed to the institution and then applied to tuition, fees, and room and board, with any excess funds given to the student for other educational expenses.

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?

Current Version
August 1, 2022
Written By
Shubham Grover
March 21, 2024
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.

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