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Federal Pell Grants are a great way to receive funding for a college education that does not need to be repaid. Students can apply for Pell grants by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application. However, not everyone who applies for the FAFSA will be eligible for a Pell grant.

Your Pell grant eligibility is determined by:

  1. Financial Standing: Pell grants are issued to students who show strong financial need. This will be determined through the FAFSA application in which the US Department of Education examines the income and assets of the student and their family.
  2. School’s Participation: Your school must be one of the 5400 institutions that participate in the federal Pell grant program in order to receive any financial aid.
  3. Citizenship: Only US citizens or eligible non-citizens will qualify for federal aid.
  4. Legal Status: Students may not be subject to any legal action, may not have history of arrests, and cannot have any convictions related to drug or sexual offenses in order to be eligible.
  5. Academic Progress: You must retain certain academic standards to keep Pell grant eligibility.
  6. Special Circumstances: Students who have a parent that perished in the Iraq or Afghanistan wars are eligible for a Pell grant. Also students with intellectual disabilities are eligible for Pell grants.

In order for any student to be eligible for a Pell grant they must be eligible for any type of federal aid.

All students must reapply for their FAFSA each academic school year to continue receiving any money through a Pell grant. In order to retain eligibility student must:

  1. Still show financial need in the following school year.
  2. Students must maintain satisfactory academic standing according to their schools’
  3. Maintain their citizenship status.
  4. Avoiding arrests or any legal troubles.
  5. Staying in good standing on federal loans.

How Much Money Do Students Receive?

There are a number of factors that go into deciding the award amount for Pell grant recipients. Currently the minimum amount that can be awarded is $573 and the maximum is $5775 for the 2015-2016 school year. Some things that can dictate the amount of money you are awarded are:

  • Tuition and school expenses.
  • Student’s financial need, which is determined by the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) on the FAFSA application.
  • Student’s enrollment in school either part time or full time.
  • Whether or not the student plans to attend classes for a full academic year.

To estimate the amount that you may receive, you can use a Pell grant calculator. The FAFSA4caster Calculator can be used as a Pell grant calculator; this tool is offered by the Federal Student Aid Office, FAFSA website. This will give you a better idea of the dollar amount you may be able to receive in your federal Pell grant.

We at Credible have also built some calculators to help you with student loans. Check them out below:

Credible is a multi-lender marketplace that allows borrowers to get personalized rates and compare loans from lenders, without affecting their credit scores.