Pell Grant Qualifications

Welcome to where you can determine if you meet the qualifications to receive a Pell Grant award.  The Pell Grant is a Federal grant that was created to provide additional money to low-income undergraduate and certain post-baccalaureate students.  There are approximately 5,400 participating post-secondary institutions in which students may use their award. 

Grant amounts are dependent on:

1)     The student's expected family contribution (EFC)

2)     The cost of attendance (as determined by the institution)

3)     The student's enrollment status (full-time or part-time)

4)     Whether the student attends for a full academic year or less.

So the question still remains, Do you meet the Pell Grant Qualifications?  Well, you must meet the following requirements in order to qualify for the Pell Grant.

Pell Grant Specific Qualifications

1)     Student must be either an undergraduate or be enrolled in an eligible post-baccalaureate teaching credential program.

2)     Student must not be incarcerated in a federal or state penal institution.

If you meet the two qualifications above then you are on the correct path.  The next Pell Grant qualification is that there has to be a financial need.  The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) formula is the standard formula used to determine the financial need for the Pell Grant. 

The lower the EFC, the greater the studentís financial need.  For example, the neediest students will have a EFC score of 0 and may be eligible for the maximum Pell Grant award if their cost of attendance is high enough and if the student attends an accredited institution full time for a full academic year. 

When the EFC score increases, the studentís need is less and so the amount of the Pell Grant award will decrease.  After the maximum EFC score of 3,850, eligibility for a Pell Grant becomes zero. 

In order to receive an EFC score, students must complete and submit the FAFSA (Free Application For  Federal Student Aid) Application.  This application takes into account both quantitative (current income, total savings, total assets, etc) and qualitative (total number of family members in school, first family member in college, etc) measures to determine how much you should be able to contribute towards your education.  Once the application is submitted to the Department of Education, you will receive a SAR (Student Aid Report), which will show the EFC Score for the upcoming scool year. 
You and your college's financial aid office will receive a copy of the Student Aid Report.  The data shown within this report determines the total financial aid amount, including the Pell Grant, that you will receive for the upcoming school year.  All federal financial aid, which include Pell Grants, is based on the EFC score.  If you are in need of financial assistance then you will want an EFC score of 0, since this score will grant you the maximum Pell Grant award amount.

The maximum amount a student can receive from a Pell grant will increase by $500 to $5,350 for the 2009-2010 academic year. It will go up to $5,500 for the 2010-2011 & $5,550 during the 2011-2012 academic year thanks to the stimulus package signed into law by President Obama in February 2009.   

Other Useful Pell Grant Resources:  Pell Grant Requirements | Pell Grant Online |
Pell Grant Qualifications