Federal Pell Grant

The Federal Pell Grant is a federal entitlement program. It provides free money if you are enrolled in an eligible program of study at approved postsecondary institutions in the United States and abroad. This is gift aid which usually does not have to be repaid. You may not receive a Federal Pell or any other grant if you already have a bachelor degree.


Your eligibility for a Federal Pell Grant is determined by a federal formula called FEDERAL METHODOLOGY. You must also meet all eligibility requirements.

You are eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant for up to 30 hours of remedial coursework. After 30 hours have been attempted, the Pell Grant will be adjusted accordingly.

Beginning in the 2012-2013 school year students are eligible to receive a Pell Grant for 12 semesters. After 12 semesters you are no longer eligible for the Pell Grant.

Equivalency is calculated by adding together the percentage of your Pell eligibility that you received each year to determine whether the total amount exceeds 600%.

For example, if your maximum Pell Grant award amount for the 2010-11 school year was $5,500, but you receive only $2,775 because you were enrolled for only one semester, you would have used 50% of your maximum award for that year. If in the following school year, you were enrolled only three-quarter time, you would have used 75% of your maximum award for that year. Together, you would have received 125% out of the total 600% lifetime limit.

Award Amount

The amount of your Federal Pell Grant is based on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and the number of hours for which you are enrolled. For a regular fall/spring term Pell Grant amounts will be adjusted based on enrollment level until the end of the drop/add period for each term.

  • A full-time student enrolls for twelve or more hours.
  • A three-quarter-time student enrolls for nine to eleven hours.
  • A half-time student enrolls for six to eight hours.
  • A less than half-time student enrolls for less than six hours.


You must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application is available at www.fafsa.ed.gov.


You will receive an award notification from the Office of Student Financial Assistance indicating the award amount.

Federal Pell Grants are usually disbursed during Fees Payment if your file is complete by August 1st for the fall semester and December 1st for the spring unless you have been selected for verification. This process can delay your assistance in any program. If your award is not ready during Fees Payment, it will be processed once your file is complete. Awards are processed on a weekly cycle throughout the semester.