Pell Grant FAQ: Pell Grant Frequently Asked Questions

by Phillip Guthrie

Before you go ahead and start planning on receiving any sort of Pell Grant aid for the upcoming school year, it is actually a very good idea to quickly go over the following Pell Grant faq so that you can gain some clarification on any unresolved questions you may have about the Pell Grant. The included Pell Grant faq was put together in an effort to try and briefly answer the most common Pell Grant frequently asked questions that students have about the Pell Grant, and we hope that you can turn to this faq when you need some fast information about the Pell Grant.

What is a Pell Grant?

The Pell Grant is a need-based federal grant that is given annually to undergraduate students from across the United State of America.

How do I apply for the Pell Grant?

You apply for the Pell Grant by filling out a FAFSA by the appropriate deadlines. The FAFSA, or free application for student aid, is the government’s universal application for financial aid, and by filling one out you will automatically be putting yourself in contention for the Pell Grant.

What is the FAFSA?

The FAFSA is the application you fill out to apply for the Pell Grant each year. FAFSA stands for free application for student aid, and it can be filled out either online, or via its written form.

What is EFC?

EFC stands for expected family contribution, and it is calculated upon the completion of your FAFSA. The EFC is supposed to be a direct indicator of the amount of money your family can contribute towards you college education, and it is taken into consideration when determining both your eligibility for the Pell Grant, and the actual amount you are able to receive.

How do I become eligible for the Pell Grant?

Whether or not you can gain a positive Pell Grant eligibility status depends on a number of factors, and they are typically broken up into two categories. First off, your EFC must be below 4,617 for the 2010-11 school year. Second, you must satisfy a litany of Pell Grant requirements that have to do with things such as your U.S. citizenship, the school you’re attending, the degree program you’re participating in, and your criminal record. See the list of Pell Grant requirements that are provided on this site for greater clarification.

What is the maximum Pell Grant amount I can receive?

The maximum Pell Grant amount for the 2010-11 school year is 5,500 dollars (2,750 dollars/ semester)

How is the Pell Grant amount I receive determined?

The actual Pell Grant amount you receive is determined by your school’s financial aid office by using certain formulas that take into account several factors. Your EFC, the cost of attendance of going to your school, and your enrollment status play the most significant roles, although other factors may come into play such as the amount of available funding your school has been given for the Pell Grant for that particular year.

What happens to my Pell Grant funding if I withdraw from a class or classes?

The Pell Grant can be fractionally prorated in regard to your enrollment status, so if it changes before you have actually received any aid from a Pell Grant, the amount you receive will simply be altered accordingly by your school’s financial aid office. If your enrollment status changes after you have received the proceeds of your Pell Grant, you will most likely have to pay back what the difference is, and if you don’t you may risk having a Pell overpayment on your record, and this can make you ineligible for any sort of future federal aid.

Will my enrollment status and the amount of credits I take affect the amount of Pell Grant I can receive?

Yes, the Pell Grant amount you can receive is fractionally pro-rated in accordance with your enrollment status.

How long can I receive the Pell Grant?

You can receive the Pell Grant as long as you are satisfying the appropriate Pell Grant requirements and can qualify for the grant on an annual basis. You can still receive a Pell Grant if it takes longer than expected to complete your degree, you just need to maintain satisfactory academic progress at your school.

What is SAR?

SAR stands for Student Aid Report, and it is the report you receive upon completion of your FAFSA. It should contain information about your Pell Grant eligibility status, and it should specify your EFC.

What is CoA?

CoA stands for cost of attendance, and it is the overall cost of attending your school of choice. It is used to determine the amount of Pell Grant funding you are able to receive upon becoming eligible for the Pell Grant.

Do I have to pay back the funding I receive from my Pell Grant?

No, because it is a grant you never have to pay it back unless you withdraw from classes by certain deadlines after you have been credited with the award’s proceeds.

Where can I find the official Pell Grant application?

The official Pell Grant application is the FAFSA, and you can find it online at the official FAFSA website, You can also request a written form of the FAFSA by going to your school’s financial aid office, going to, or by calling the number 1-800-4-fed-aid.

How will I receive the aid from my Pell Grant?

You will receive the proceeds from your Pell Grant either directly by a deposit in your student account, or via a crediting towards your student account balance. Most schools will then allow you to request a cash-release if you have any sort of additional funds in your student account after your tuition and other expenses have been paid.

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