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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). However, not everyone who applies for the FAFSA will be eligible for a Pell Grant.
Here’s what you should know about Pell Grants:
- Pell Grant eligibility
- How much money do students receive?
- Fill in any funding gaps with private student loans
Your Pell Grant eligibility is determined by:
- Financial Standing: Pell Grants are issued to students who show strong financial need. This will be determined through the FAFSA application, in which the U.S. Department of Education examines the income and assets of the student and their family.
- School’s Participation: Your school must be one of the 6,000 institutions that participate in the federal Pell Grant program in order to receive any financial aid.
- Citizenship: Only U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens will qualify for federal aid.
- 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.
- Academic Progress: You must retain certain academic standards to keep Pell Grant eligibility.
- 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:
- Still show financial need in the following school year
- Students must maintain satisfactory academic standing according to their schools
- Maintain their citizenship status
- Avoid arrests or any legal troubles.
- Stay 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. The minimum amount that can be awarded is currently $650. The maximum is $6,345 for the 2020–21 award year (July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021). Students attending school year-round — in fall, spring, and summer — can receive up to 150% of their scheduled award ($9,518).
Some factors that affect the amount of money you’re awarded include:
- Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
- Cost of attendance for your school or program
- Enrollment status (part-time or full-time)
- Plans to attend classes for a full or partial academic year
To estimate the amount that you could receive, use a Pell Grant calculator. The FAFSA4caster Calculator offered by the Federal Student Aid website can be used as a Pell Grant calculator. This will give you a better idea of the dollar amount you might be able to receive in your federal Pell Grant.
Credible also has some calculators to help you with student loans. Check them out below:
- Student loan interest calculator: See how much a loan would cost you over the life of the loan
- Student loan refinancing calculator: See how much you could save when you refinance student loans with Credible
- Student loan repayment calculator: See how long it will take to pay off the total cost of your student loans
How to fill in any funding gaps with private student loans:
After exhausting federal loan options and financial aid like grants and scholarships, private student loans could be a good way to cover any leftover college costs.
Private student loans offered by private lenders can have competitive interest rates with those on government PLUS loans for graduate students and parents.
Credible can help you save time shopping around by letting you compare offers from our partner lenders in the table below by filling out just one simple form. Checking your prequalified rates with Credible won’t affect your credit either.
|Lender||Fixed rates from (APR)||Variable rates from (APR)|
|4.25% - 12.59%9||1.13% - 11.23%9|
your credit score. 100% free!
Lowest APRs reflect autopay, loyalty, and interest-only repayment discounts where available | 1Citizens Bank Disclosures | 2,3College Ave Disclosures | 7EDvestinU Disclosures | 8INvestEd Disclosures | 9Sallie Mae Disclosures
See what your estimated monthly payment will be using our student loan calculator below.
Enter your loan information to calculate how much you could pay
With a $ loan, you will pay $ monthly and a total of $ in interest over the life of your loan. You will pay a total of $ over the life of the loan, assuming you're making full payments while in school.