What is a Federal Pell Grant?
A Federal Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. Pell Grants are typically awarded only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's degree. Under certain conditions, students enrolled in a post baccalaureate teacher credential program may be eligible to receive Federal Pell Grants. For many students, Federal Pell Grants provide a foundation of financial aid to which other aid may be added.
How do I qualify?
To determine if you're eligible, the U.S. Department of Education uses a standard formula, established by Congress, to evaluate the information you report when you apply. The formula produces an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) number. Your Student Aid Report (SAR) contains this number and will tell you if you are eligible. You will receive an email notification of your SAR in about one week when you file your FAFSA electronically. You will receive your SAR at your home address about 4 weeks after mailing your FAFSA to the federal processor.
How much money can I get?
Awards for the 2016-2017 award year (July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017) will range from $590 to $5,815. How much you get will depend on your EFC, your cost of attendance, the period of time (number of semesters, quarters) in which you enroll, and the number of units in which you enroll for each term. You may not receive Pell Grant funds from more than one school at a time. Students may only receive up to six years of full eligibility or its equivalent determined by the Federal Department of Education.
How will I be paid?
Your school can credit the Pell Grant funds to your school account, pay you directly (usually by electronic transfer to your bank account), or combine these methods. The school must tell you in writing how and when you'll be paid and how much your award will be. Schools must pay you at least once per term (semester, trimester, or quarter).
Can I receive a Federal Pell Grant if I am enrolled less than halftime?
If you are an undergraduate and otherwise eligible you can receive a Federal Pell Grant for less than halftime enrollment. You won't receive as much as if you were enrolled full time since your school must disburse your Pell Grant funds in accordance with your enrollment status. Post baccalaureate students enrolled in teacher credential programs must be enrolled at least halftime to receive a Federal Pell Grant.