2013-2014 Pell Grant Requirements

The Pell Grant program is available to low income undergraduate students attending a Title IV post-secondary institution.  The Pell Grant program is the single largest source of grant aid for postsecondary education.  In 2013 over 9.7 million students will receive Pell Grants worth up to $5,635. The program operates as an entitlement to eligible students once the maximum grant, award rules, and payment schedule are established. The Higher Education Act does not provide for the denial of an award to any student who meets the qualifying conditions.

The 2013-2014 award year, which runs from July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014, has a maximum Pell Grant award amount of $5,635. This is an increase of $85 when compared to the 2011-2012 school year.  If the Pell Grant costs for a given academic year exceed the corresponding appropriation, the Department uses the next fiscal yearís appropriation to cover the full cost.
Due to the federal budget challenges, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 made several statutory changes to the Pell Grant program that are estimated to produce a savings of more than $750 million in fiscal year 2013. These changes, which become effective on July 1, 2012, include:

1.  The automatic zero EFC income level has changed from $32,000 to $23,000.  This means that students (independent students) or parents (dependant students) now must show an income of $23,000 or less to qualify for a zero EFC score to receive to full Pell Grant amount. 
2.  Students now must have at least a high school diploma or GED to be eligible for a Pell Grant award.  Students who previously qualified by passing an Ability to Benefit? test are no longer eligible for a Pell Grant. 
3.  Students are now eligible to receive the Pell Grant for up to 12 semesters or equivalent instead of the previous 18 full-time semesters.
4.  Students are now required to be eligible for 10 percent of the maximum grant (previously was 5 percent) to earn the minimum award.
A Pell Grant is generally considered to be the foundation of a studentís financial aid package, to which other forms of aid are added. The amount of a studentís Pell Grant is dependent on the studentís expected family contribution? (EFC), cost of education (tuition / room and board), whether the student attends school full-time or part-time, and whether their program is a full academic year in length or less.

Pell Grant disbursements are made to students at least once every term during the award year or at the beginning and mid-point for programs without terms.  If you are eligible to receive a Pell Grant, your schoolís financial aid office will either disburse the funds through ACH / wire transfer or via check.  Many schools will deduct all school tuition and other expenses first and will distribute any remaining Pell Grant Funds.

The Pell Grant is a great option for low income students in need of additional financial aid to pay for their education.  If you are interested in applying for the Pell Grant, you will need to complete the FAFSA application either online or through paper form.  The FAFSA takes into account your income, family assets, cost of attendance, and the number of family members currently in school to determine if you qualify for a Pell Grant. 
Pell Grant Requirements