Federal Pell Grants are usually awarded only to undergraduate students.
The amount of aid you can receive depends on your financial need, the cost of attendance at your school, and more.
Federal Pell Grants usually are awarded only to undergraduate students who display exceptional financial need and have not earned a bachelor’s, graduate, or professional degree. (In some cases, however, a student enrolled in a postbaccalaureate teacher certification program might receive a Federal Pell Grant.) You are not eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant if you are incarcerated in a federal or state penal institution or are subject to an involuntary civil commitment upon completion of a period of incarceration for a forcible or nonforcible sexual offense.
A Federal Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid, except under certain circumstances. Find out why you might have to repay all or part of a federal grant.
How much money can I get?
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
- your Expected Family Contribution,
- the cost of attendance (determined by your school for your specific program),
- your status as a full-time or part-time student, and
- your plans to attend school for a full academic year or less.
For example, if you are eligible for a $2,000 Pell Grant for the award year, and are enrolled full-time for both the fall and spring semesters, you’ll likely receive $1,000 in the fall and $1,000 in the spring. However, under certain circumstances, you may be eligible to receive an additional $1,000 in the summer semester (resulting in your receiving 150% of your original award). You might hear this situation being referred to as “year-round Pell.” For details, contact your school’s financial aid office.
Please note that you can receive the Federal Pell Grant for no more than 12 semesters or the equivalent (roughly six years). You’ll receive a notice if you’re getting close to your limit. If you have any questions, contact your financial aid office.
If you’re eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, you’ll receive the full amount you qualify for—each school participating in the program receives enough funds each year from the U.S. Department of Education to pay the Federal Pell Grant amounts for all its eligible students. The amount of any other student aid for which you might qualify does not affect the amount of your Federal Pell Grant.