Pell Grant Eligibility

A federal Pell Grant is offered through the Federal Department of Education to students considered low income.  A Pell Grant, unlike a student loan, does not have to be repaid and can be used towards any school related expenses.  Students can use their Pell Grants towards tuition, school textbooks, school electronic devices, or other educational related items.  Please note that students do not have to justify their purchases and receipts do not have to be saved when using their Pell Grant funds. 

The maximum Pell Grant award amount is based on financial need, CoA (Cost to Attend school, student enrollment status (full-time or part-time student), and plans to attend school for a full academic year or less.  Students that show the most need, are enrolled in school full-time, and plan to attend school for a full academic year will receive the maximum Pell Grant award amount. 
To become eligible for a Pell Grant, students must complete the FAFSA application.  The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Students Aid) is a federal financial aid application that determines a studentís eligibility for federal financial student aid.  Students must complete the FAFSA each school year to still be eligible for the following school year.  Students can complete the FAFSA online or through paper application.  Most financial aid offices and school counselors recommend students complete the online application, since the processing time is less, students receive instant confirmation that the application has been received, and students can check their application status at any time online.
The information reported in your FAFSA is used to determine your EFC (Expected Family Contribution) score. Your EFC score is calculated by a formula established by law and is not the amount of money that your family must be able to contribute towards your education.  The EFC is an index that colleges use to determine how much financial aid you would receive if you were to attend their school.  If you EFC score is below a certain number then youíll be eligible for a Pell Grant.  The qualifying score changes each school year, so itís important to know the current yearís qualifying EFC score for a Pell Grant.

Students that are eligible for a Pell Grant will receive a financial aid award letter from their schoolís financial aid office showing their award amount.  Most financial aid offices will hold the studentís Pell Grant award to pay for their tuition and school fees.  All remaining Pell Grant funds will be distributed to the student during the first few weeks of the new semester.  If you are expecting to receive a Pell Grant disbursement, contact your financial aid office to determine exactly when they will send you the remaining balance.

The Pell Grant eligibility changes every school year.  Weíve detailed the Pell Grant eligibility for each school year, so you can have a clear understanding of what is required to qualify for a Pell Grant.  

2011-2012 Pell Grant Eligibility
2012-2013 Pell Grant Eligibility
Pell Grant Requirements