The Pell Grant is gift aid, meaning that it does not need to be repaid. It is based on a student's (and parent's if applicable) financial need as determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

2016 Maximum Pell Grant: $5,815

There is no income limit that will disqualify someone from being eligible for the Pell Grant. Eligibility is based on a student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is a number between 0 and 999,999. In order to be eligible for the Pell Grant a student must have an EFC between 0 and 2700.

To apply for the Pell Grant, complete the FAFSA. Your school will notify you if you are eligible for the Pell Grant. Generally, your Pell Grant is split between the fall and spring semesters. However, if you do not attend full time in both semesters, you may have limited Pell Grant eligibility for the summer semester.

There is a limit that restricts how many Pell Grants you can receive in your lifetime. You can only receive six full Pell Grants in your lifetime.

Basic Eligibility Criteria

  • You must have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
  • You must have an EFC between 0 and 2700
  • You must be enrolled in a program leading to your first bachelor’s degree
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • You must not be in default on a federal student loan or owe a repayment on federal grant