The federal Pell Grant is a need-based program for undergraduate students who have not earned a first Bachelor’s degree. The federal Pell Grant is free "gift aid" that does not have to be repaid.
Award amounts may vary each academic year. For the 2016-2017 academic year, the Pell Grant ranges from $583 to $5,815. A student's Pell grant eligibility is determined by their Expected Family Contribution (EFC) Number from the FAFSA, as well as their enrollment status. Financial aid award offers that include the federal Pell Grant will reflect the maximum amount the student can receive for the academic year based on their EFC from FAFSA. To receive the maximum amount reflected, students must enroll full-time (12 or more credit hours). If the student enrolls less than full-time, the Pell grant will be prorated based on their enrollment level.
The federal Pell Grant will adjust to enrollment up to the last day to withdraw with a 100% refund. After that point, a student's enrollment and federal Pell Grant eligibility is frozen and will not adjust with changes in enrollment for the semester, with one exception. Per federal regulations, students that receive federal grant aid, such as the federal Pell Grant, must demonstrate academic participation in each class for which they received payment of these funds. If a student withdraws or fails a class and did not demonstrate academic participation, all or a portion of the federal Pell Grant may be returned. Click here for more information regarding academic participation.
Effective July 1, 2012, students are limited to 600% lifetime eligibility of the federal Pell Grant. This limit equates to a maximum of 12 full-time semesters (roughly 6 years) or its less than full-time equivalent.
To maintain eligibility for the federal Pell Grant, students must:
- Submit a FAFSA
- Have an EFC in the Pell eligible range, as determined by the FAFSA
- Be enrolled in a degree-bound program
- Have not earned a Bachelor's degree
- Be a U.S. Citizen or eligible non-citizen
- Be making Satisfactory Academic Progress
- Not be in default on any federal student aid