Federal Pell Grant

Posted on Jun 20 2012 - 4:09am by admin

federal pell grant

The Federal Pell Grant is a need based grant offered to undergraduate students who do not possess a bachelors or professional degree. Sometimes a student, even though he possess a bachelors degree, can be eligible for the Pell Grant if he is enrolled in a teacher certificate program. The Federal Pell Grant will only fund a student for 12 semesters (or the equivalent).

Prior to the 2012-2013 school year, the Federal Pell Grant would fund a student for 18 semesters. This change affects all students no matter when they first received their Federal Pell Grant. This means that if you have already received 12 semesters worth of grant money you will not receive any more grant money, even if you started receiving the Pell Grant prior to the policy change. The government will be sending letters to all students who are no longer eligible to receive grant money through the Federal Pell Grant.

The government is going to use a system called the Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU) to determine how much of a Federal Pell Grant a student has used and how much they have remaining. The government considers the amount of money a student is awarded each year to be equal to 100% with a you being eligible to receive a total of 600%. LEU calculates just how much of that 600% a student has already used. Below is an example of how the Government calculates the amount of Pell Grant money a student has used and has remaining.


Student AStudent BStudent C
Year OneAward Amount$5,550$5,000$4,000
Amount Used$2,775$3,750$4,000
Total Percent Used50%75%100%
Year TwoAward Amount$5,200$5,000$5,550
Amount Used$5,200$5,000$5,550
Total Percent Used100%100%100%
Year ThreeAward Amount$4,700$5,000$5,550
Amount Used$4,700$1,250$5,550
Total Percent Used100%25%100%
Year FourAward Amount$4,700$5,000$5,550
Amount Used$4,700$5,000$5,550
Total Percent Used100%100%100%
Total LEU Used350%300%400%
Total LEU left250%300%200%


This table was adapted from: http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/PellLimit.jsp

You can determine how much you are still eligible to receive by going to http://www.nslds.ed.gov/nslds_SA/  and signing in with your Federal student aid PIN number. Your LEU will be found on the “Financial Aid Review” page.

The amount you receive will be determine by your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), the cost of attending school, your enrollment status, and how much of the year you plan to attend. Your Expected Family Contribution is determined by the federal government. It is an amount the government thinks your family is able to contribute to your post-secondary education. Your EFC is calculated off of information you put into your Federal Application for Student Aid. You will not need to repay your Federal Pell Grant.

For more information visit: http://studentaid.ed.gov/PORTALSWebApp/students/english/PellGrants.jsp

Also check out the FSEOG Grant. If you qualify for the Pell Grant you are also eligible for the FSEOG Grant.


In Layman’s Terms…

This is one of the corner stone grants of federal financial aid. If you qualify as a needy student, part of your federal student aid (student loans + any grant funding) will consist of a Federal Pell Grant. The is a max amount of Federal Pell Grant funding you can receive over the life of your school term, and it’s paid out in installments each semester. As stated in the paragraph above, the amount of funding you do receive comes from your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), the cost of attending school, your enrollment status, and how much of the year you plan to attend.



Students applying for the Federal Pell Grant will need to meet a number of eligibility requirements. To start with, an applying student needs to be a US citizen or eligible non-citizen with a valid Social Security Number. You are also required to have a high school diploma, GED or another government approved alternative and demonstrate financial need. Financial need is demonstrated when a family’s income is under $60,000 but most of the grants are given to students with a family income of less than $30,000. When looking at financial need, the number of students, from one family, attending college or university is taken into account as well.

Other eligibility requirements include: being a degree, diploma, or certificate seeking student, be enrolled in a program participating in the Pell Grant program, and maintain an academic standard. The academic standard includes a student’s GPA and how many credits you earned based on the number of credits you attempted. All males, between 18 and 25, you must be registered with the Selective Service to receive Federal financial aid. You can register using the FAFSA, visiting www.sss.gov or calling 1-847-688-6888. If you are already registered you need to provide confirmation of this.

You can be disqualified from receiving the Federal Pell Grant if you are in default on a federal student loan or if you owe the government money for a federal grant. Another reason to be disqualified is if you have been convicted of a sexual offense. If, while receiving the Pell Grant, you are convicted of a drug offense your aid can be suspended.

For more information about eligibility visit:




To apply for the Federal Pell Grant you will need to fill out an FAFSA (Federal Application For Student Aid). You can submit your application via paper or the internet. When filling out the FAFSA, it is important to fill in all required information. Make sure to follow all the directions. You are going to have to submit additional documents with your application. These documents will include copies of your: social security card, drivers license, W-2 forms, income tax returns, bank statements, etc. There is a complete list given in the FAFSA. The documents should be kept in the same order as listed in the FAFSA.

Once you have submitted your FAFSA you can track it by going to: http://www.pin.ed.gov/PINWebApp/pinindex.jsp.  Once at the website you can apply for for a Federal Student Aid PIN number.  This PIN number can be used to track your FAFSA application as well as apply electronically each subsequent year for federal aid. Your PIN number is your electronic signature, it confirms your identity to the government when you access your records.

Once the FAFSA has been processed both you and the colleges you have written down will receive a Student Aid Report. This report will contain your Expected Family Contributions.  The report will also contain a Data Release Number. This number can be used to go back and change your information.

You will have to fill out the Federal Application for Student Aid each year to continue to receive funds for the Pell Grant

The FAFSA can be found here: http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/


Award Amount

There is both a maximum and minimum amount of funds you can receive from the Federal Pell Grant, these amount can change from year to year. For the 2012-2013 school year the maximum amount you can receive is $5,550 and the minimum amount is $287. The amount of grant money you receive will be based on your expected family contributions, the costs of school, and your enrollment status (whether you are full-time or part-time), and if you are attending for the full school year. The money you receive can only be used for educational purposes. If one of your parents died do to military service you will automatically receive the maximum amount ($5,550) awarded for the Federal Pell Grant.


Receiving Funds

The government will transfer the funds for your Federal Pell Grant to the school you are attending. The school is required to tell you, in writing, the amount you are to receive. In this letter the school also has to tell you when and how they will transfer the grant money to you. The school has the choice to either directly apply the amount of your grant to your school bill or to transfer the money directly to you.



The federal government offers the Pell Grant to students with a family income lower than $60,000. This grant does not have to be paid back and will cover 12 semesters, or the equivalent. Due to a recent change in policy, the number of semesters the Federal Pell Grant will cover has changed. This change affects all students. No matter when a student first received his grant , whether before or after the policy change, as soon as a student has received 12 semesters of funding he is not eligible to receive anymore funding. The government uses Lifetime Eligibility Use to determine how much a student has used of his Federal Pell Grant and how much he has remaining. The standard eligibility requirements apply as well as the standard dis-qualifiers. If you are interested in applying for this grant you need to fill out the FAFSA. You can receive a maximum of $5,550 per year depending on your cost of attendance, your enrollment status, and your Expected Family Contributions. However, you can receive the full $5,550 if one of your parents died due to military service.  You will receive your grant money through the school you are attending.