Skip to main content

The Pell Grant is available to degree-seeking undergraduate students who have never received a baccalaureate degree.

The Pell Grant Program is the largest of the Federal Student Aid grant programs and provides a “foundation” of financial aid to which assistance from other federal and non-federal sources may be added. The Pell Grant is available year-round.

The maximum annual Pell Grant for the award year may change from year to year according to Congressional appropriation. Pell Grant eligibility is based on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) which is determined from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The amount of Pell Grant that is disbursed varies in accordance with a students’ enrollment status.

General Eligibility Requirements

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Meet minimum enrollment requirements
  • Be enrolled in your first undergraduate degree program
  • Meet the Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • Not be in default on a federal student loan
  • Not owe a repayment of a grant or scholarship unless satisfactory arrangements have been made to repay
  • Must not exceed the maximum Expected Family Contribution (EFC) cutoff established by the state for each award year
  • Must fall under the 600% LEU (Lifetime Eligibility Used) threshold.

Before you apply for any type of financial assistance, make sure you meet the general eligibility requirements.

How to Apply for the Pell Grant

You should start by submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. You will have to fill out the FAFSA form every year you’re in school in order to stay eligible for federal student aid.

Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility

The amount of Federal Pell Grant funds a student may receive over his or her lifetime is limited by federal law to be the equivalent of six years of full-time Pell Grant funding (or 12 full-time sections). Learn how Pell Grant Lifetime Eligibility is calculated.

Pell Grant Funding

Amounts can change yearly. The maximum Federal Pell Grant award is $6,195 for the 2019–20 award year (July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020).

The amount you get, though, will depend on:

  • Expected Family Contribution
  • Cost of attendance
  • Status as a full-time or part-time student

Year-Round Pell

In certain situations, an eligible student can receive up to 3 Full-Time Terms of Pell Grant within a given academic year or 150% of a student’s scheduled Pell Grant award for an award year. Each Full-Time Semester counts as 50% towards a student’s 600% Lifetime Eligibility Used.

After a student has used 100% of their Pell Grant eligibility in a given award year or the equivalent of 2 Full-Time semesters of Pell Grant (Fall semester counting as 50% and Spring semester counting as 50%), in order to be eligible to receive an additional 50% of Pell Grant funding students must be registered for a minimum of 6 credits (half-time enrollment). Please be aware that the additional 50% of Pell Grant eligibility will be prorated based on enrollment  and will count toward the students 600% Lifetime Eligibility Used (LEU). See examples below.

Example 1

Ima Knight is eligible for a Pell grant and is enrolled full-time for fall, full-time for spring, and half-time for summer.

Fall Spring Summer
12 credits 12 credits 6 credits
50% Pell (full-time Pell award) 50% Pell (full-time Pell award) 25% Pell (half-time Pell award)

Example 2

Cathy Knightro is eligible for a Pell grant and is enrolled full-time for fall, full-time for spring, and full-time for summer.

Fall Spring Summer
12 credits 12 credits 12 credits
50% Pell (full-time Pell award) 50% Pell (full-time Pell award) 50% Pell (full-time Pell award)

Example 3

Marty McKnights is eligible for a Pell grant and is enrolled full-time for fall, full-time for spring, and less than half-time for summer.

Fall Spring Summer
12 credits 16 credits 4 credits
50% Pell (full-time Pell award) 50% Pell (full-time Pell award) No Summer Pell eligibility*

*Must be registered for 6 or more credits to receive summer Pell if student has received two full-time terms of Pell.

Please keep in mind that your particular Year-Round Pell eligibility will depend on your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) as determined by the FAFSA form. Students with an EFC above 4,700 will require ¾ time enrollment status in order to qualify for a Pell Award. Students with an EFC above 5,100 will require full-time enrollment status in order to qualify for a Pell Award.