Pell Grants

The Pell Grant is the largest federal student aid program in United States of America (USA). Whenever we talk about financial aid or scholarship in USA, the it is the first name to address. So what is Pell Grants? How to apply for it? Who are the eligible candidates for this financial program? In this article, we answered these questions. Not only the answers, if you need step by step Pell Grants application guidance, we have got you covered. You can apply for Pell Grants by following our step by step application process from here. Pell grants is an annual award. That means winning the award for this year does not guarantee that you are going to get it in next year. In this article, we have also pointed out how to maintain the Pell Grants. In a nutshell, everything you need to know to apply for Pell Grant has been written here. Let’s have a look at the table of content for better perception.

Table of Content:

  1. What is Pell Grant?
  2. History of Pell Grant.
  3. Pell Grant Amount.
  4. Eligibility / Requirements.
  5. Application Process.
  6. Maintaining Pell Grant.

You can use this table of content to jump to any section.

What is Pell Grant?

The Pell Grant is a financial aid program for financially insolvent students. The federal government of United States of America (USA) funds and organizes it. The Pell Grant as formerly known as the Basic Educational Opportunity Grants. Later it has been renamed after Democratic U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island. In order to be eligible for a Pell grant, students must be eligible to start their bachelor’s degree. Because it is a subsidy for students to pay for college only. However, it is only for students who have not earned their first bachelor’s degree and need financial support to get admitted to college. Because of being need based financial aid scheme, Pell Grants are extremely popular among students. It is considered as full-fledged foundation of financial aid package for college students. Because it includes almost everything a student needs to get started and continue his bachelor’s degree. If you apply for Pell Grants, the United States Department of Education will determine you financial need. If you are in need of financial support, then you will be eligible for Pell Grant. Now, you may ask how the U.S. Department of Education calculates the financial need of a student. It is done using the information reported on Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). So what is Pell Grants?

The Pell Grant is a financial aid program for students who need financial support to get their first bachelor’s degree, funded by federal government of United States and administered by U.S. Department of Education.

Pell Grants – Everything You Need to Know

A Brief History for Pell Grant

One of the most popular need based financial aid program, the Pell Grant, which is helping thousands of students of financially insolvent families to actively attend bachelor’s degree, has got its modern shape through numerous development phases.

How it Started

It started in 1965 when Congress passed an act named ‘Higher Education Act (HEA)’. The purpose of this act was to develop the higher education sector of United States. The legislation of HEA says it is to help students from lower and middle-come families so that they can focus on higher studies instead of rushing for jobs. Along with grants it has another scheme to help students who did not qualify for grants. It was students’ loan with low interest scheme. Soon after the HEA was implemented as a part of the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson, the education instructions started being benefited from HEA by though federal aids. The rapid development of education sector through HEA drew everyone’s attention at that time. However, the students’ aid program was more appreciated than other activities of HEA. The student’s aid program was in the Title IV of the Higher Education Act. That is why it started getting known as ‘Title IV programs’.


In 1972, through Title IX Higher Education Amendments, the distribution of the financial aids of the student used to govern. Then Senator Claiborne Pell step forward with the movement to reform HEA. In response to Pell’s movement, an American scholar and education policy expert, Lois Rice started lobbing to reform the HEA. The initiation of Senator Claiborne Pell and lobbing of Lois Rice the ‘Opportunity Grant Program (also known as Basic Grant)’ was initiated. The purpose of this program was to provide the foundation of financial aid for undergraduate students. That means, the financial aid which is essential to get started with bachelor’s degree will be provided as grant. There will be other financial aid programs to extend the financial support when necessary. The necessity of the extension of financial support for the students used to measure using a process called reauthorization. In the reauthorization process, the Congress used to investigate the current status of the existing active financial aid program. Based on the investigation, the decision of extension of the grants or aid used to decide. Normally the duration of campus based authorization was five to six years. And this is how Pell grant were initiated.

Pell Grant Amount

You may be wondering how much the Pell Grant pays. In this section, we are going to explain the amount you can expect from this award. The Pell Grants is the largest federally funded student aid program. Unlike majority of the scholarship and financial aid programs, this grant does not bother about academic achievement, extra-curricular activities or outstanding traits. The only thing that is considered is the financial need. If an eligible student needs financial aid to continue his education, Pell Grants is for him. Every year, different amounts are allocated for Pell Grants. The total budget is distributed among eligible students based on their need. That is why we cannot predict any specific amount. However, we have collected some data for you so that you can have an idea about the Pell Grant Amount.

Pell Grants Amount

In the image above, we can see:

  1. In 1978-79, the average rage Pell Grant was $3,120 per students. And the maximum Pell Grant amount was $6,135
  2. In 1983-84, the average was $2,980 and maximum was $4,680.
  3. In the academic year 1998-99, the average Pell Grant amount was $2,900 and the maximum was $4,630.
  4. The statistics of 2010-11 shows, the average amount increases to $3,400 and the maximum about was $5,200.
  5. In 2018-19 academic year, the average Pell Grant amount was $4,160 and the maximum amount was $6095.

From this statistics, we can come up with a probabilistic Pell Grants amounts. Those are:

  • The average Pell Grants about is around $4,000 and
  • The maximum Pell Grants about is around $6,000.

The amount we have mentioned above is based on our analysis. And they are tentative average amount. Please note that these amounts will vary year to year. We are not liable if you experience a significant deviation from the amount we have mentioned above.

Pell Grants Eligibility

Being eligible doesn’t mean assurance. That means you are eligible for a scholarship or financial aid. However, will you finally win the award or not is undecided. We can call the eligibility criteria as the first barrier of any financial aid application. You must have to cross this barrier to step forward. Enough talking about ‘what is eligibility’. Let’s focus on our topic – ‘Pell Grants Eligibility’. In this section, we are going to help you to understand the Pell Grants eligibility. You can consider it as the requirement to get the award. Let’s get started.

  1. The Pell Grant eligibility depends on ‘Federal Student Aid Program’ eligibility. That means if a student is eligible for Federal Student Aid Program, he is eligible for Pell Grant.
  2. Any U.S citizen can apply for Pell Grant.
  3. International students, who are not citizen of United States can also apply. However, there are some restriction here.
  4. Applicants must be enrolled in eligible degree or certificate program to become eligible for Pell Grant.

These are the Pell Grants eligibility. One thing everyone likes of Pell Grant is it is easy to apply. There is no complex eligibility criteria filled with hundreds of requirements. The process of applying for this award is simple and straightforward.

Pell Grant Application

Lets’ have a look at the application process of Pell Grant. We have already learned what the Pell Grant is. Then we have had a little history lesson to understand the origin of it. As we have covered up the basics, now we can move forward to application section. Instead of expressing the application process in boring description, let’s have a step by step Pell Grant Application guidance. It is easier to follow when the instructions come step by step. Here in, our main goal is to make scholarship application process as easy as possible. That is why, along with preparing contents, we do research in expressing the content in a way that everyone can understand and follow. Alright! Enough talking. Here is our step by step Pell Grant application process:

  1. First you have to complete Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Here is the link to the form: The FAFSA Form.
    1. You can fill this form online,
    1. Or you can download the form as PDF, fil it up and submit it through regular mail.
  2. After that, you will receive a ‘Student Aid Report (SAR)’. Here is the link to the ‘Student Aid Report (SAR)’ page: The SAR
  3. In the ‘Student Aid Report’ you will see your ‘Expected Family Contribution’ and the Student Aid Programs you are eligible for.
  4. If you are eligible for a Pell Grant, you will receive each and every details in the Student Aid Report (SAR) including the amount of award you are going to receive
  5. However, you must have to respond to the SAR in time to claim your Pell Grant. Remember, if you delay, there is a risk of losing the award for the year.
  6. If everything goes well, then the Pell Grant will be paid directly to your college or university.
  7. Sometimes it may happen that the amount of Pell Grant you have been awarded is more than the tuition fee of your college or university.
  8. In this case, the extra amount will be paid to you by the ‘Financial Aid Department’ of your college or university.

This is how you can easily avail Pell Grant. However, there is one more important point worth noting. That is – you must have to complete the Pell Grant application before April of each academic year. Otherwise you application will not be considered for the current academic year. However, it may be considered for the next academic year. That’s all about the Pell Grant application. If you are interested in Pell Grant, follow the steps mentioned above. And you will face no difficulty to complete your Pell Grant application.

How to Maintain Pell Grants

The Pell Grants are awarded yearly. Winning the award in this year does not guarantee that it will be awarded again in the next year. So, the question is, how to maintain Pell Grants? To maintain Pell Grants, you have to apply every year. And of course you have to remain eligible by maintaining enrollment in an undergraduate course in some U.S. educational institution. However, if you complete your undergraduate program, you can no longer re-apply for Pell Grants. That means, to maintain the Pell Grants you have to do the followings:

  1. You must remain enrolled in undergraduate program in any U.S. educational institution,
  2. You must re-apply every year,
  3. And most importantly – you must have remain eligible.

It is very important to keep in mind that Pell Grants are awarded for one year. If you do not re-apply before April of an academic year, you will not be considered as a valid candidate for that academic year.


We have covered almost everything you need to know about the Pell Grants. It is not mandatory to know everything about Pell Grant to apply for it. If you want to apply for Pell Grant, simply follow the step the step Pell Grant application process. However, it is wise to know about something before delving into it. As you are a scholarship seeker and trying to get the Pell Grant, it will be helpful for you to understand the entire process if you read this article from top to bottom. However, skipping all the details and jump right into the application section and complete your Pell Grant application process will cause no harm. You can still win the award if you are eligible.