The Pell Grant

Would you like to go back to college? Are you in need of financial aid? If so, the Federal Pell Grant can help. For many students, the Pell Grant has been an essential resource to help offset the cost of tuition and books.

The Pell Grant has relatively few restrictions. You need not either pay it back nor include it as taxable income. This article will answer several questions on this grant and shares more information on it and similar federal aid programs.

What is the Pell Grant?

Happy young black woman enjoying her studies

The Pell Grant aims to provide students from low-income households with access to higher education. Students can apply for the grant once every academic year. It is available in most public technical schools, college, and universities. Check with your school to make sure it participates in the Pell Grant program.

The program is entirely funded by the federal government. Thus, individual schools do not set any restrictions on eligibility. Unlike a scholarship, you will not need to compete against other students to apply for the Pell Grant. The maximum award amount is increased yearly.

Your school has the option of applying your Pell award to any outstanding educational expenses you may have. But, if you do not have a balance due, you will receive your award as a check.

The school is legally required to pay you at least once each school term. This means that if you attend an institution that operates on the quarter system, you will receive your annual award separated into four checks. You will be issued one check during each quarter. If your school operates on the semester system, your aid will similarly be divided by semester.

Eligibility Requirements

Graduation cap, cois and diploma

There are a few requirements to apply for the Pell Grant. The first is that you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your financial eligibility will be determined according to the income information from you and your family. If you pass, a mathematical formula would be used to calculate exactly how much aid you will receive that year.

To use an example, let’s use the academic year for 2009 and 2010 academic
Students, could at the time can receive up to $5,350. In practice, the actual amount you receive may be less, depending on your individual circumstances.

The amount of the award you receive is also affected by other factors. To receive the maximum amount of the grant, you must be attending school full-time. If you are attending school part-time or if you will be enrolled for less than a full academic year, your award will decrease dramatically. Your personal costs to attend school will also have an effect on your award.

If you are receiving assistance from family members, your grant will likely be lower than someone who is personally paying for school.

In general, the Pell Grant is only available for students who pursuing an undergraduate degree. These include students who may already have an Associate’s Degree prior. Pell Grants are sometimes available for postgraduate education on a very limited basis. These come with several restrictions for postgraduate students.

Although you are not required to maintain an excellent GPA, you need to make the minimum to qualify for financial aid. At most institutions, the minimum is a 2.0 (the equivalent of a C grade). Maintaining this GPA is enough to show that you are making satisfactory academic progress. If you have trouble meeting this requirement, talk to the Financial Aid Department at your school. They will usually provide assistance to help you to bring your grades up to standards.

You will also need to show documentation of your legal eligibility. To qualify for federal financial aid, you must be any of the following:

  • A U.S. citizen
  • A legal immigrant with a U.S. registration card
  • A non-citizen with recognized circumstances, such as being a refugee or having sought political asylum

To apply, you need to meet these basic qualifications:

  • Complete a FAFSA
  • Demonstrate genuine financial need
  • Be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at a participating institution
  • Be enrolled at least part-time in school
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress
  • Be legally authorized to receive federal financial aid

How to Apply

Chubby young woman on her laptop

Since the Pell Grant is provided by the federal government, you will already have applied for one as soon as you complete your FAFSA form. You don’t need to fill out any subsequent forms after that. If the information on your FAFSA shows that you qualify, you will automatically receive the aid.

To complete a FAFSA, you will need the following information:

  • Proof of your income, from a W-2 form or a form 1099
  • Proof of your family’s income, if you are a dependent
  • Your most recent tax return
  • Your family’s most recent tax return, if you are a dependent
  • A current bank statement
  • Living expenses (mortgage information, etc.)
  • Your Social Security number and Driver’s License number
  • The Social Security numbers of your family members, if you are a dependent

If you are still dependent on your parents, it may be helpful to complete this form alongside them. Your parents will also need to sign the form with you.

Once done, take the FAFSA form to the Financial Aid Department at your school. They will then process it and send it in for review. Once your form is reviewed, you will be informed of your eligibility and the amount granted to you. This will be mailed out before you get your funds.

Related Grants

If you are eligible for the Pell Grant, you may also qualify for a Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG). The FSEOG is extended to students who demonstrate exceptional financial need and to those expecting little or no assistance from their families.

You do not need to apply for the FSEOG. It will be automatically offered if you meet the income eligibility requirements. This information will also be obtained from your completed FAFSA form. As with the Pell Grant, the annual FSEOG award is divided and paid out in intervals during the school year. Checks are issued once each school term. The total award can range from $100 to $4000, depending on your individual circumstances.

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71 Comments on “The Pell Grant”

  1. john Rogers wrote:

    Im interesting in applying for your pell grant. Do I need an application? if so please let me know, or can I go online?

  2. Hector Scolari wrote:

    I am interested in your pell grants. Would like more information on how to enroll. Or, can I go online?

    interested in the pell grant program. need some futher instructions on how to apply

  3. alejandra wrote:

    need to pay school thank you?:) a realy need the help i’am single mother parents can not help…

  4. Amber Riggin wrote:

    Im needing help with my college funds. Ive already had to pay hundreds out of my own pocket. I filled out FAFSA and they told me they had no money left. Im so hopeless it seems like theirs no way to get help. Everyone told me their are plenty of places to help me get through college. Ive loooked for hours trying to apply for things and still nothing. I want to become a Teacher so bad. Something we are in desperate need of, but I havent got any hellp.Is their anyway for me to get help?Are their numbers? Places? Can you Help Me? Im from Arkansas.

  5. damien pannett wrote:

    ive had rough at times through my live so it would be nice for a little hel[

  6. A.k. wrote:

    For a first time college student, will i be eligible? They require min gpa ect. But i’ve not attended yet. And other factors that seem to exclude me until i have actually attended. Will i face problems not having attending for the first time. What are they, how do i over come them?

  7. jessica wrote:

    I am in need of grants for graduate school…please help! I have already filled out FAFSA.

  8. Aliceson wrote:

    I am a first time college student and I have applied for FAFSA but I am currently interested in receiving pell grants and as well as applying for them.Your help is very much needed.

  9. Isaac wrote:

    Thanks for your information.
    I am a Nigerian with, can i apply to futher my education.

  10. maurice spears wrote:

    I need to apply for pell grants and i am not sure if I am eligible on either the financial or acedemic requirements. How do I know befor I turn in the application if I meet the requirements and I am attending school enough to even qualify. before I turn in my application to determine if I qualify before I turn in the application and start the process How do i predetermine so the i will not so the process in vain

    Thank you

  11. michael wrote:

    i need grants for school im at the end of my rope haha seriously though im about to just give up and live out in the desert. thanks!!!

  12. joecooper wrote:


  13. Dustin Thomas wrote:

    I am a low income working student who is in need of the Pell Grant. Will be very Thankful if you could send me a link of application through email if possibly or in the mail. Thank you so much!

  14. Laura wrote:

    I have been trying to figure out how to apply for any type of grant including the pell grant. I’m having a lot of trouble trying to think of ways I can pay for school, I really need this!

  15. Toni wrote:

    I start school in feb. I need help with some things b4 I start. I got finianial aid but won’t get until a few weeks into school. Where can I go to get some money b4 school.. Can u email me at Please help me.. Thanks

  16. akintayo olusola wrote:

    pls, Iam in need of a financial assistance. I would be glad if can assist me in my undergraduate education. I am astudent of University of Benin ,Benin City , Nigeria.

  17. sonia wrote:

    i will like to find more information to apply for a grant

  18. Todd wrote:

    I am interested in college but do want to owe money how to apply for pell grants

  19. Danielle wrote:

    I am handicapped radial club arm three fingers and cannot seem to get any help. Trying to keep on going to art school. 765-376-0996

  20. Jennifer wrote:

    I would like some information on how to obtain a pell grant application. And any schools in Maricopa, Az. that I can attend for getting a CNA certificate. If any one can help me I’d appreciate it.
    Thanks –

  21. Joshua wrote:

    I was wanting information on the best way to get your tuition paid for with a low income. Any info on this would be greatly appreciated.

  22. Kaeea McLean wrote:

    I really, really want to go back to school. Nothing would make me more happier, I love school, I love to learn.

    Im a single mother with three boys, I been out of school for eight years now time to make a change for a higher education. How can I go about getting this pell grant.Can you email me at (

  23. Joseph ScabbyRobe wrote:

    I would very much appreciate information on how I apply for pell grants, I am a low-income Native American student, I am 3/4 Blackfoot, Blood, and Lummi. I need assistance in pursuing music production and business

  24. Karen Sanches wrote:

    I”m currently going to metro state college in denver and my funds are running out for school and i really want to finish going to school because I would to be Human Service person because I would like to help people with needs. Im also waiting for a kidney transplant and going to school keeps my mind of needinng transplant. thank you please help me…

  25. Ju'Elle Allen wrote:

    I am 20yrs. old and I’m trying to further my education by going to Specs Howard school of media arts but my mom makes too much money for me to get financial aid, which is good for her but unfortunately i don’t live with my mom. She still claims me on her taxes and according to law I’m dependent on her because she pays for my dental, and health insurance. So, the school requested the parent-plus loan for my mother to apply for but she wont. She is not interested in me going to school at least at her expense. So my financial aid advisor told me i wont be able to go to school until I’m 24 and can file independent. $ more years of my life wasted. Help if you can please help. I need grants or even somewhere i can get accepted for a loan.

  26. Allia wrote:

    i am a low income student and i have completed my fasfa and i didnt get anything back from pheea or the pell grant,if you could help me find out why contact me please

  27. Jacklyn Pugh wrote:

    I would like assistance with going back to school for Human Services and Education. If ther is anything available please let eme know. Thank you.

  28. Michael O'Hara wrote:

    I need the FAFSA application . Can it be mailed to me or emailed? Does someone here reply to these postings ?

  29. Debbie Oliver wrote:

    I would like to find out more information on how to apply for a grant

    Thank you..

  30. bobby wrote:

    how can i get free money for school

  31. Brandon Cluff wrote:

    I am very interested in getting more information about the Pell Grant. Please contact me at the email address provided and I would be more than happy to do whatever it takes to continue my education. I recently had to drop out of community college due to insufficient funds.

  32. Darrel Garrison wrote:

    Just finished filling out the FAFSA which said free online filing, but at the end it asked for a credit card and $80,

    WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    I do not have a credit card or $80, that is why I was applying for assistance. And they said the deadline was tomorrow August the 6th?!?!?! SO now what do I do?!?!?!?
    Been trying all week to get it done. It was a little confusing, but to get done then be asked for $80 was a little

  33. D'Auntra wrote:

    I am a returning student who needs help for school.I have already applied for a pell grant an was awarded but I didn’t do so good my first year in college now I don’t have a job nor can I go to school because I can’t get my assistance back. I have to pay cash that I don’t have. Can anyone help me I need it very soon.

  34. andrea horton wrote:

    2011/2012 i was a full time student, about the fouth week into the second semester i had to leave school because of sickiness that lead to surgery a month later. The school say that I owe 6 hundred dollars in order to continue my education, can i get another pell grant to pay this off to continue my education?

  35. andrea horton wrote:

    Am iI eligable for a grant to finish my education?

  36. PEGGY wrote:


  37. Kathryn Bickman wrote:

    I’m looking into going back to school for Phlebotomy. The last time I tried I couldn’t get enough school loans to go and I couldn’t afford the extra $800 a month. I have an appointment at Pima Medical Institute in September to possibly sign up for classes. It would be greatly appreciated if you would consider me for a pell grant.

  38. Elizabeth wrote:

    I would like to apply for a pell grant. I have filled out fafsas in the past. At that time I was living at home with my parents and they supported me. Now I am on my own, a full time college student, and my only job has been a little substitute teaching. My parents aren’t claiming me on their income tax this year. Will I qualify…and if so….can I change my fafsa to show that my parents aren’t claiming me?

  39. Darryl Axsom wrote:

    I’ve been using the Pell Grant for 2 years now. To fill out the FAFSA(which is required to get a pell grant). You go to It is completely free and if you go to another site to fill it out, they could charge you… so just go to the federal website at You will need to enter your income tax to determine how much of the grant you can get. It may take some time, but its worth it. Also if you are 24 or younger, you will need to include your parent(s) income setting, which will have an affect on your pell grant as well. Just fill it out, it doesn’t hurt to try. In the end you may not get the full pell, but you can still get a partial pell grant.

  40. Amy Cook wrote:

    Hi. I receive social security dissability. My kids do also. I am married. My daughter will be a senior next year. Is there any help she can get since she is my dependant on social security? My husband makes to much for a grant but we do not make enough to pay for her school. She would like to go into drug rehab councelling. Any information as to were I could go to help her would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your help Amy Cook

  41. Stephen Abifarin wrote:

    I am schooling at Ahmadu Bello University studying veterinary medicine in Nigeria. But i want to transfer to a usa vert school due to my financial problem. Please how can i get pell grant to start the application?

  42. Oneil wrote:

    I start school in April but got some balance to pay off and I can’t because financial aid did give a lot. (Still great full for financial aid) can you please help me out

  43. Concepcia Mathieu wrote:

    I have been trying to get in the nursing program for years. This year I finally get accepted and I do not have the money to pay for it. Im working per diem at a hospital. I can’t get financial aid or loans due to debts. I would be grateful if I am chosen as one of the candidates that get help.

  44. Tony DiGiovanatonio wrote:

    Hello, I am inquiring on getting a grant to go back to school. I want to go to BOCES a trade school in the capital region in Upstate NY. (Albany county). I don’t know how to proceed in doing so. How can you help?

  45. Tarrell wrote:

    I’m a Psychology major with no income wanting to finish my degree

  46. Cameron Mink wrote:

    my mom is a single mom and i am a high school senior. i have a 4.0 grade average and scored a 1560 on SAT. i have been offered academic schlorships since sophomore year but i will still need money for dorm,books and gas-i have a car grandparents gave me for 18th bday. i do not want to owe a bunch of money when i get out of college. do i fill out for grant while still in high school or do i have to wait till i know what college going to?

  47. Cathy Thomas wrote:

    Hi. I’m an RN, and have worked in hospital for 8 years. I had back problems and just couldn’t continue to work in the patient care setting anymore. I manage to go back to school online and with the financial help of my husband I was able to get my teacher’s certification and now I teacher high school program called Health science in Career Technology program . The program helps high school students get a head start in the medical field, and even get their nursing assistant certification . I’m saying all this to let you know I’m interested in furthering my education to be able to teach at college level part time. This would help me to earn more money, as well as help with improving on my teaching abilities and help my students. Thank you for any help you may give, Cathy Thomas,RN

  48. traci huff wrote:

    i am applying for a pell grant.i have been out of prison now for almost 2 years and i have had my identy stolen and the past 2 years i have been fighting to get my income taxes.i still havent got ot and been livikng with people ever since.i want to try and go back to school to earn myself some money so i can have my own placeto live.i got a job when i first got out but it was taken because the tax law on tobacco e couldnt use a machine to roll cigarettes so then i was layed off of work.i havent been able to get a job ever since because of my back not sure what i can go to school for but im willing to try anything. thank you for any help that you can give me,Traci Huff

  49. James Jones wrote:

    I started a repayment program to get my student loan out of default by paying 9 monthly payment on time I won’t be out of default until October but cad program at I.T.T. Tech will start in Sept. but I need a grant to start school and hold me over until I can get another student loan to continue with the cad program.

  50. Shanikque wrote:

    I am seeking a grant to help me finish my last semester of college so that I can graduate December 11, 2015 and would like more information on how to get Pell Grant.

  51. UHHH DUHHH wrote:

    Pretty sure this is an informational sight intended for you to read. They gave everyone information on the Pell Grant above, along with instructions on where to go and how to apply. They have done an excellent job of explaining the whole process and if you were unable to follow it, you won’t make it in college anyways.

  52. Bart simpson wrote:

    When you sign up for fafsa and if you are eligible for the pell grant, fafsa will notify you of the offered grants. You have to accept the grants through your school student account before the money is disbursed. If you are over 24, you automatically get the pell grant. When I was younger and in college, I was still a dependant under my parents so I didn’t get anything. They made just the right amount to not make me eligible for any grants. Glad I took a break from school. Now I get the pell grant and California state grant. Remember, there are always scholarships that are very specific to a person’s situation or even ethnicity. Seems like the poorer you or your parents are, the more money you’ll get.

  53. kasongo kabwela wrote:

    Dear Sir/Madam Liable for Pell Grant, My name is kasongo kabwela a poor man and congolese refugee based here in zambia. I applied to nirvana machinery training academy based in south africa,by good chance they sent me an acceptance letter including their invoice fees of school. Unfortunatly i failed to attend that training. Please i beg you to assist me. Your assistance will be highly appreciated. Your study grant seeker, kasongo.k

  54. Emily Hanna wrote:

    My life is an enigma, I’m 19 years of age and living with manic bipolar. My father thought he was Jesus Christ in an episode of whatever illness and I bounce off the walls than fall down and cry. I can keep my disorder down though. I do a lot of productive activities to occupy my mind. Use your energy to the fullest.

    I live in Tacoma, Washington and cry day in and day out because I want to find inner peace . This is the ghetto, I saw two kid beating the crap out of each other and with my mania lost my temper and screamed. I wanted to help them but my mania had gotten out of hand . Than I went home and bawled.

    Besides the mental strife I derive pleasure in therapeutic healing through breeding eyelash crested geckos, and caring for my chameleon Mr. Noodle. I also have a wonderful home with my fiancee Ty and my two kittens and puppy Mia. I train Mia to do different commands and she even alerts me when she wants to go potty. I sooth my shot nerves with chamomile tea, and healthy meals.

    My main objective on this planet is to become an educated being and impact the lives of those around me. I love the mentally challenged and adore the psycopaths. I understand them in their enterity. Life is not easy for me as I am a 19 year old who remodled an uninhabitable house from scratch. I am a woman of diginity and self respect. I view the world as whole because that is the only way to impact the lives of others. I can express much gratitude that my mental illness hasnt destroyed me. I’m very strong and I kiss the ground the I walk on because their will be a silver lining for me. I am smart and I will become a psychologist and make a difference.

  55. Emily Hanna wrote:

    In others lighter words, I’d like to apply for a pellgrant for a school in the Puget Sound. I don’t have a stable enough income to provide education for myself and I won’t be indebted.

    Help me and I will help others.

  56. G Dicker wrote:

    I am looking to ask a few questions directly? Can you point me in the direction of the most reliable source?

  57. Payam Larijani wrote:

    I am working towards a second PhD in Classical Music starting August 2017. I need grant to help me financially and just completed FASFA application.

  58. Emili A Bryant wrote:

    I am a single mother of a 16 month old baby. I receive no child support. Father is in prison for 8-15 years. I am currently being supported & living by my mother who is on disability. My grandparents assist when possible but this assistance will cease soon due to their income situation. I am desperately and eager to continue my education, including obtaining my GED and attending Cosmetology School so I can provide for myself and daughter without depending on anyone. I love my daughter with every fiber of my body and she deserves a good life that “I” single handle can provide for her. Please assist me in obtaining a “grant’ so I can be a competent parent and not depend on government assistance or anyone to take care of myself and my daughter.

  59. Elizabeth Schaeffer wrote:

    I would like to know why it now takes three weeks to have my pell disbursed to me. When I started college three years ago it was two. That was long enough, especially since it takes another week to get to my bank account. Now it is fully a month into school before I can expect any money and in the mean time I don’t have enough money to eat lunch. Answer me then, how is this money really helping with school-related expenses?

  60. Andriana Anderson wrote:

    The unique thing that separates me I believe is that I am trying to do this all on my own. I moved from Cleveland to California with no parents or anything no ones helping me so the unique thing about me is that I haven’t gave up and I do feel like I can do this on my own even though some help would be beautiful and very helpful but Im strong enough dedicated enough and I won’t quit. I am 19 years old and going to college for the first time. I am going to college for my Associates Degree, I am just asking for a little help! Some help is better than where Im at right now which is getting no type of help paying for school at all. Thank you!

  61. jordan wrote:

    I am graduating high school and need funds to help pay for my bachelors degree I will be getting in computer science or marine biology with a minor in business.

  62. Lex wrote:

    If you currently meet the requirements to receive a Pell Grant, how do you apply for one? The only thing you will have to do is complete the FAFSA. Since the Pell Grant is provided by the federal government, you will already have applied for one as soon as you complete your FAFSA form. There are no additional forms for you to fill out. If the information on your FAFSA shows that you qualify, you will automatically receive the aid.

  63. David wrote:

    I need help on how to get a grant here in Nigeria,Just finished high school…Please contact me on David.

  64. Syetta Ruggs wrote:

    Hello, I am in my last semester of college, I have a 7 year old son and I have been in college since 2011, i have completed all my class but I just need to complete one more semester till its over. It has been so frustrating because im trying to finish and make my family proud and of course at the very end i run out of money to pay for college. Please Help

  65. daimond adams wrote:

    Hi I would like to apply for the Pell Grant I am 18 years old and I just graduated in June of this year. Can you please give me a number I can contact? My email is

  66. Laura wrote:

    Please contact me. I need direction I tried Job and family to no avail Ty

  67. chandra adkins wrote:

    Iwill be attending john Casablancas Centers.the fee is over 2000.dollars I on a fixed income Iam very Interested in this program for success, Iam trying to design my own clothing Line this program will help, with the fee of 2000.dollars, can you help! is there any grants available for people like me. please reply.

  68. Hezron wrote: Hezron student at kibabii University need help for fee payment and rent payment.Get me on 0712112422

  69. Kendell Rummage wrote:

    My mom and I could really use this grant to help get me through school. I am a twin, so this makes it harder for my mom to help pay for our tuition when she only makes about $10000 annually. We struggle enough trying to pay for bill and necessities.

  70. EVANS wrote:


  71. Stephanie wrote:

    My dream is becoming a nurse. I got accepted in a nursing program this year. I do not have the money, or financial aid to paid for the nursing program. I would be grateful if I can get any kind of help.
    Thank you

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