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Federal Pell Grant Program

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Program at a Glance
download files PDF (86K, 08/2008) Source: Guide to U.S. Department of Education Programs

U.S. Department of Education: Promoting Educational Excellence for all Americans - Link to ED.gov Home Page Skip Navigation - jump to topic navigation menu

CFDA Number: 84.063

Also Known As: Pell Grants; formerly called Basic Educational Opportunity Grants (BEOGs)

Program Description

The Federal Pell Grant Program provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain postbaccalaureate students to promote access to postsecondary education. Students may use their grants at any one of approximately 5,400 participating postsecondary institutions. Grant amounts are dependent on: the student`s expected family contribution (EFC) (see below); the cost of attendance (as determined by the institution); the student`s enrollment status (full-time or part-time); and whether the student attends for a full academic year or less.

Students may not receive Federal Pell Grant funds from more than one school at a time. Financial need is determined by the U.S. Department of Education using a standard formula, established by Congress, to evaluate the financial information reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and to determine the family EFC. The fundamental elements in this standard formula are the student`s income (and assets if the student is independent), the parents` income and assets (if the student is dependent), the family`s household size, and the number of family members (excluding parents) attending postsecondary institutions. The EFC is the sum of: (1) a percentage of net income (remaining income after subtracting allowances for basic living expenses and taxes) and (2) a percentage of net assets (assets remaining after subtracting an asset protection allowance). Different assessment rates and allowances are used for dependent students, independent students without dependents, and independent students with dependents.

After filing a FAFSA, the student receives a Student Aid Report (SAR), or the institution receives an Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR), which notifies the student if he or she is eligible for a Federal Pell Grant and provides the student`s EFC.

FSA Handbook Federal Pell Grant Program

Federal Pell Grants are direct grants awarded through participating institutions to students with financial need who have not received their first bachelor`s degree or who are enrolled in certain postbaccalaureate programs that lead to teacher certification or licensure. Participating institutions either credit the Federal Pell Grant funds to the student`s school account, pay the student directly (usually by check) or combine these methods. Students must be paid at least once per term (semester, trimester, or quarter); schools that do not use formally defined terms must pay the student at least twice per academic year. Information provided by Ed.com

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