What are the Pell Grant Requirements?

A.E. Freeman
A.E. Freeman
Woman standing behind a stack of books
Woman standing behind a stack of books

The Pell grant requirements include financial need, being a United States citizen or qualified non-citizen, and being enrolled in a qualified degree program. Other Pell grant requirements include having earned a high school diploma or equivalent and signing up for selective service. In most cases, students need to be undergraduates. To be considered for a Pell grant, a student needs to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.

Pell grants are given to students who demonstrate great financial need. The maximum Pell grant award varies from year to year, but was $5,550 US Dollars (USD) for the 2010-2011 school year. Students don't need to repay Pell grants, as they are not loans.

The amount a student receives depends on how he meets the Pell grant requirements. He may receive a greater award if he is a full-time student than if he is a part-time student. The cost of his school and his family's income also determines the amount of the award he will receive. Pell grant requirements dictate that a student must go to school at least half time, or for six credits a term, to receive funding.

The amount of a student's estimated family contribution, or EFC, determines his eligibility for a Pell grant. A student's EFC is determined when he completes the FAFSA and is based off of factors including his income, his parent's income if applicable, and the number of other family members enrolled in college. The lower the EFC, the greater his eligibility for a Pell grant.

Pell grant requirements also dictate the type of program a student can be enrolled in. Students in associate's and bachelor's degree programs can receive Pell grants, while those in graduate-level programs cannot. There are some exceptions to the rule, though. A student may be eligible for Pell grant money if he is enrolled in a post-baccalaureate teacher's certification program.

A student must meet other Pell grant requirements to continue to receive money. She must make satisfactory academic progress in a degree program, which usually means she must maintain a C average in all her classes. If she takes 90 credits, she must pass at least 60 of them to continue to be eligible for Pell grants.

Before a student can receive a Pell grant, he must certify that he will only use the money to pay for school. He also has to certify that he is not in default on any student loans. Males need to sign up for selective service if they are between the age of 18 and 25 and are not on active duty in the armed forces.

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