What is Federal Pell Grant?

Federal Pell Grant is the best suited for students as it has liberal rules and procedure. It offers many other benefits which makes students choose this aid the most.

Updated by Navya B on 29th June 2018

What is Federal Pell Grant?

Federal Pell grants are for undergraduate students. And unlike other financial aids like Perkins and Stafford students need not pay back the aid.

A student who has a graduate degree will not be allotted with Federal Pell Grants. The amount of money given to students is not like the loans pledged to the students. Loans have interest rates and payback periods, but Pell Grants are mainly for economically weak students.

The family financial status or the educational expenses depending on the college or universities are also cross-checked. The attendance matters a lot. Sometimes attendance will help you earn a grant or an award.

Participating Colleges

Few of the colleges that offer Federal Pell Grant

What are the basic rules to apply for a federal Pell grant?

  • This Grant is unlike a loan, there is no need to pay back the aid money.

  • The amount received is basically based on the student’s personal financial status. 

  • The Federal-aid received by the students also depends partially on the cost of what the school provides about how much a student wants to attend.

  • If a student’s status while studying is a full-time or part-time then it will also help decide the amount given by the Pell grant organization.

  • Students should plan to attend school/college normally for a most happening academic year.

  • Students who want to apply for a federal Pell grant should have been enrolled in an undergraduate program or must be a student in a school which accepts federal Pell grant aid.

Pell Grant Eligibility

  • Students must be able to prove they have a financial need by submitting a FAFSA form.

  • Students have to be a United States citizen or an eligible non-citizen. This is for those who were born in American Samoa or in one of the Samoan islands in America, or people who have a residency card.

  • Students need to be able to show they are enrolled in a certificate or degree program at a vocational school, career school or at a participating college.

Who does not qualify for Federal Pell Grants?

  • People who are currently in jail and the ones who have had addictions to drug or other offenses in the past or present. Qualification is decided on an individual level basis.

  • Few people won’t get qualified because of their intellectual disabilities on the individual basis.

  • Non Residents of United States will not be allowed to apply for a federal Pell grant.

How to apply for a Federal Pell grant

A student who is applying for Federal Pell grant should fill an application and if the funds are limited one should try to fill an application form as early as possible.

The steps to fill a Federal Pell grant are

Step1: A student must fill out the form and then submit it. This can be done online or the student can download the form from the official website and then fill the form accurately and send it in the mail to the federal Pell grant conducting office.

Step 2: After completing the FAFSA, the student will have a unique recognition code. Within 1 or 2 weeks you will receive an electronic mail and SAR (Student Aid Report) will be produced to you. Based on that you can calculate the estimated amount or loan you might receive. It will also help you to understand if you are eligible for an aid from a deemed college or not.

Step 3: The amount will be disclosed to the student once they are eligible for all relevant details, it will be present in Student Aid Report. Students should be available to respond in a time to time manner to claim their Pell grant or they might be at the risk of losing the award of that particular year.

Step 4: The amount or the award will be paid directly to the student’s college or university in prior to the commencement of the semester, say 2 to 4 weeks. Any remaining Funds will be distributed to the student financial aid department.

Benefits of Federal Pell Grant

Applying Federal Pell Grant has many Benefits when compared to other aids

  • Low-interest rates

    • Most of the federal Pell grant need not be paid back. If a Student has to pay the loan for Pell grant loans generally they offer lower interest rates than consumer independent private loans.

  • Applying is a Snap

    • Applying for a federal Pell grant is very easy. You should fill out a FAFSA form. The application is available in most of the college/university libraries, secondary, post-secondary and government agencies. The application can also be downloaded online.

  • Flexible Terms

    • It is not as strict as other financial student aids; they are very flexible and liberal. Students need not pay back the loan until they are graduated.

  • Receive money when you want

    • Other scholarships usually provide money at the end of the academic year. But in case of Federal Pell grant, a student receives money at least once in a semester.

  • Funds can be transferred

    • In case if a student should get transferred to another school/college then the student can transfer the grant or award what they received in the previous college. But one can get Pell grant funds for more than one institution. 


All of the aids have their own importance and differences, a student can opt for what is clearly suitable on the basis of what they are studying as well as the individual’s financial status and family financial status. Federal Pell Grant is one of the privileges for those who feel loans are burdensome, as this aid need not be paid until you are graduated. 


  1) What does Federal Pell Grant pay for?

These grants cover costs of tuition and normal fee, books, living expense, transportation, and other miscellaneous educational expenses.

  2) How does a Pell Grant work?

It is the money that government gives to students who need to pay for their educational expenses. Unline loans grants do not have to be repaid. Students who are eligible receive specified amount yearly.

  3) Is Financial Aid and Federal Pell Grant the same thing?

No, they are both different Pell Grant is a part of Financial Aid, Financial Aid is a broad concept which includes Grants, Scholarship. Financial Aid includes FAFSA as you need to apply for FAFSA for financial aid. So, if you qualify for financial aid then you will get the Pell Grant.

  4) How much do you get for a Pell Grant?

The maximum that you can get from a Pell Grant depends upon your financial need, cost to attend the college, status as a full-time or part-time student, and plans to attend school for a full academic year or less.