Federal Pell Grants

What is a Federal Pell Grant?

Federal Pell Grant is a type of student financial aid that does not have to be repaid. Pell Grants are typically awarded only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's, graduate or professional degree, and who demonstrate financial need. In certain situations, students enrolled in a postbaccalaureate teacher credential program may be eligible to receive a Pell Grant. For many students, a Federal Pell Grant provides a foundation of financial aid to which other aid may be added.

How do I apply and qualify for a Federal Pell Grant?

The first step is to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the annual deadline. Once your FAFSA has been processed, you’​ll receive an email from Federal Student Aid (FSA) with instructions on how to access your FAFSA Submission Summary—a document that summarizes the information you reported in the FAFSA. Beginning with the 2024-25 academic year, the FAFSA Submission Summary replaces what was known as the Student Aid Report (SAR) in previous years.

Your FAFSA Submission Summary will include your Student Aid Index (SAI), an eligibility index number that your institution's financial aid office uses to determine how much federal student aid you qualify for, including your estimated eligibility for a Federal Pell Grant and/or federal student loans. Beginning with the 2024-25 academic year, the SAI replaces what was known as the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) in previous years.

You must submit the FAFSA every year you're in school to remain eligible for federal student aid, including Federal Pell Grant awards.

How much funding does a Federal Pell Grant provide?

The amount of a Federal Pell Grant award depends on your Student Aid Index (SAI), the cost of attendance, the number of semesters or quarters in which you enroll, and your status as a full-time or part-time student. The maximum amount of a Pell Grant award can vary from year to year.

How will I receive my Federal Pell Grant?

Your university may use your Federal Pell Grant to pay your tuition and fees, provide funds directly to you (usually via electronic transfer) or use a combination of both methods. Your campus will disburse your award funds to you at least once per term (semester or quarter).

How do I maintain eligibility for a Federal Pell Grant?

To remain eligible, you must continue to the meet basic Pell Grant eligibility criteria, make satisfactory academic progress, and submit the FAFSA every year you're in school.

You can remain eligible for a Federal Pell Grant until you receive your bachelor's degree or for up to 12 full-time terms or the equivalent (roughly six academic years). Federal Student Aid (FSA) provides additional information about Federal Pell Grant lifetime eligibility.

There are certain circumstances in which you could be required to return a portion of your Pell Grant, such as if you withdraw early from your program or if your enrollment status changes in a way that reduces your eligibility (for instance, going from full-time to part-time enrollment). FSA provides additional information about these situations.