Pell Grant EFC Requirements

Students must complete and submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to become eligible for the Pell Grant.  The FAFSA takes into account your income, assets, and cost of attendance to determine if you qualify for a Pell Grant.  The Pell Grant is only available to low-income undergraduate students attending an approved Title IV post-secondary institution, so showing a low income on the FAFSA will increase your chances of receiving a Pell Grant.  Once the applicant has submitted the FAFSA, the Department of Education will provide a SAR (Student Aid Report) to the applicant showing all of the financial information provided in the FAFSA.  This is the applicant’s opportunity to correct any mistakes reflected in the report.  Applicants are also able to find their EFC score, which will determine if they are eligible for a Pell Grant and other federal financial aid. 

FAFSA EFC Calculation and Decisive Factors

The FAFSA EFC found within the SAR is the score used to determine if you are eligible to receive a Pell Grant.  The lower your EFC score the greater your chances are of receiving a Pell Grant.  Applicants that receive a score of 0 are eligible to receive the maximum Pell Grant amount.  The maximum EFC score changes each school year and is based on the fiscal Pell Grant budget provided by congress. 

The EFC calculation is based on many different factors and uses both quantitative and qualitative information provided within the FAFSA to determine an applicant’s eligibility for a Pell Grant.  The following are the items that are used when calculating an applicant’s EFC score:

Student Status (Part-time or Full-Time)
Cost of Attendance
Income and Assets provided in the FAFSA
Number of family members that are dependants in school
Independent or Dependant status

The maximum income level applicants can receive for an automatic zero EFC score can change each year.  Having an automatic zero EFC will qualify an applicant for the maximum Pell Grant award amount. 

Pell Grant Calculator





We’ve provided a Pell Grant calculator that determines if you are eligible to receive a Pell Grant based on your cost of attendance and your EFC score.  A Pell Grant calculator is great because it’s able to determine how much in Pell Grant funds you will be eligible to receive based on two numbers.  This takes away the long calculation that the Department of Education has and can determine your Pell Grant award amount within seconds.

If you need additional information about the EFC score you should contact your school’s financial aid office.  They will be able to help guide you in how the calculation is computed and answer any additional questions you may have about the EFC (Expected Family Contribution) score.
Pell Grant Requirements