Are you eligible for the Federal Pell Grant?
Paying for college may be one of the biggest headaches for the current generation, and it seems to only be getting worse. That’s why we’re giving you the 411 on the Pell Grant and how you can apply to the federal aid program every year that you plan on attending school.
What is the Federal Pell Grant?
The Pell Grant is a need-based form of financial aid that is not meant to be repaid, making it a big win for students who are eligible to receive it. The program is designed to support students from low-income households and help them pay for costs associated with college. Costs could be anything from tuition to room and board.
The Pell Grant is a key source of financial aid that the government offers, so it can only be accessed if you submit your FAFSAⓇ (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) first. Even though it may not be enough to cover all your financial needs, the Pell Grant can be extremely helpful in covering some significant out-of-pocket costs each year.
While the Pell Grant is the largest federal grant program awarded by the Department of Education and has been around since 1972, it’s actually just one of many forms of aid out there and receiving it will not affect the amount of other federal financial aid available to you. Basically, it does not hurt to go for it!
How Much is the Pell Grant?
The amount students can receive in their Pell Grant changes annually and is administered on a sliding scale. For the 2021-2022 award year (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022), the maximum Pell Grant was $6,495, which was then increased to $6,895 for the 2022-2023 award year. However, not all students qualify for that amount. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average Pell Grant for undergraduate students was $4,491 in the 2019-2020 school year.
There’s also the Summer Pell or Year Round Pell that’s available for students who take an additional term within the award year. Depending on your specific program, you can receive up to 150% of your original award.
What a lot of students don’t know is that there is also a maximum amount of Pell Grant funding that can be distributed over their lifetime. As detailed by Federal Student Aid, students are eligible to receive a Pell Grant for the equivalent of six years of full-time enrollment. If you’re getting close to your limit, you’ll receive a notice.
Be sure to check with your school about how they apply federal aid and issue refunds to students.
Who is Eligible for a Pell Grant?
The Pell Grant is for undergraduates and students who are enrolled in specific post-baccalaureate programs (be sure to check if your program qualifies).
Your eligibility for the Pell Grant award will depend on several important factors:
- Financial need (your Expected Family Contribution, or EFC, determined by your FAFSA)
- Student status (whether you’ll be a full-time or part-time student)
- The cost of attendance at the school (this is determined by your school or program)
- Semester enrollment plans (will you be enrolling in the full academic year or part of it?)
A student may lose Pell Grant eligibility if:
- They withdraw from enough courses to change their enrollment status
- They fail to continue progressing through their degree
If you’re unsure about your eligibility, be sure to reach out to your school’s financial aid office.
How Do I Apply for a Pell Grant?
Your gateway to the federal Pell Grant is through FAFSA. Here’s what you need to do to:
- Submit your FAFSA at www.studentaid.gov after it opens for submission on October 1 each year.
- Receive a notice from your school’s financial aid office letting you know how much money you may be eligible to receive for the academic year you apply for.
Don’t forget: Filling out the FAFSA is your ticket to seeing if you qualify for any forms of federal aid, including other federal grants, federal student loans, and financial aid from your state (additional applications may be required). Some schools use the FAFSA to award institutional financial aid. It’s absolutely free to apply, so make sure you do it every year you intend to be in school!
Am I Eligible for a Pell Grant and How Much Can I Expect?
As we said before, your eligibility for a Pell Grant is based on numerous factors that will be calculated when you submit the FAFSA. Those factors include your financial need, which is based on your Estimated Family Contribution, the cost of your program, and your student status.
Federal Student Aid provides detailed Pell Grant award tables for the 2022-2023 school year. These are used to determine Pell Grant award amounts based on the factors mentioned above.
If you’d like to directly contact the federal Pell Grant Program, contact information and additional resources can be found on the Federal Pell Grants page on benefits.gov.
Financial Aid Support: Who Should I Contact?
Of course, your first point of contact if you have any questions about your specific Pell Grant is to talk to a financial aid administrator at your school. Your school’s financial aid office should be able to address any questions you have about your financial aid, the Pell Grant in general, and other resources that may be available to you as a student.
If you plan on becoming a Campus Scholar and have more financial aid questions, we have resources that can help, too! Reach out to email@example.com or (888) 675-2460 for more information.