Pell Grant

The Pell Grant is a need-based federal grant for low-income students who require financial support to pay for college.

Pell Grants are awarded to undergraduate students who have not received their first bachelor’s degree and to some students who are enrolled in qualifying post-baccalaureate programs.

To receive the Pell Grant, you must demonstrate significant financial need, and the funds you receive do not have to be repaid.

Benefits of the Pell Grant

benefits of the pell grantThe value of higher education is universally understood and appreciated; yet the cost to obtain higher education has never been greater. Tuition and fees at a private college or university can top $50,000, and the total cost rises when books, study materials, room and board, and living expenses are factored in.  Students who attend in-state public universities can save on tuition, but their costs could still reach nearly $20,000 a year.  With the cost of college only continuing to rise, applying for a Pell Grant could be very helpful in financing an education. Grants are the best source of financial aid, as they are essentially ‘free money’ awards – if you receive a Pell Grant, it does not have to be paid back.

Financial Aid


There is no direct application process for a Pell Grant; every student is considered after completing and submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. This application provides key information on a family’s income, assets, and expenses, and it allows both federal and institutional aid officers to determine how much financial assistance the student needs. Pell Grants are reserved for students from low-income families, so you must demonstrate exceptional financial need on your FAFSA to qualify for one. Unfortunately, Pell Grants are not terribly common, and as such are reserved for those with the greatest financial need.

How much support should I expect?

what to expectThe maximum amount awarded for a Pell Grant during the 2013-14 school year is $5,645. The size of a student’s Pell Grant is dependent on the student’s expected family contribution (EFC), the cost of attendance (COA), the student’s enrollment status (full-time or part-time), and whether the student attends for a full academic year or less. While a Pell Grant is a great source of funding for low-income students, it will not cover the entire cost of college. Many students still need much more financial assistance to attend college, which can be found in forms of financial aid like other grants, scholarships, and student loans. When searching for sources of funding for college, always pursue free money awards first, such as grants and scholarships, and if those sources are not enough, pursue federal student loans. If federal student loans do not fully cover the cost of college, you can turn to private student loans to fill the gap between any aid received and your tuition bill.


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