Pell Grants


In order to get a Pell Grant, the student must:

  • Demonstrate financial need by submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA);
  • Be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or eligible noncitizen
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Have a high school diploma or General Education Development (GED) certificate OR demonstrate “ability to benefit” by passing an approved test
  • Meet satisfactory academic progress
  • Be enrolled in an eligible post-secondary school
  • Be working toward a first undergraduate degree or teaching credential
  • Certify that the funds will be used only for educational purposes, and
  • Be registered with the Selective Service if the student is a male between the ages of 18 and 25.

The following students are ineligible:

  • Individuals who owe a refund on a grant made by a federal student aid program under Title IV of the Higher Education Act;
  • Individuals in default on a Title IV loan;
  • Individuals incarcerated in prison; and
  • Individuals convicted of possessing or selling illegal drugs.

Determination of Award

A standard formula approved annually by Congress and applied uniformly to all students is used by the Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs to calculate the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC). FSA uses information supplied on the student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to calculate EFC.

If the student’s Expected Family Contribution is below a certain amount and the student meets all other eligibility requirements, he or she is eligible for a Federal Pell Grant.

Once the student’s EFC is established, it is subtracted from the Cost of Attendance (COA) calculated by the school’s financial aid administrator. If there is an amount left over, it is considered the student’s financial need.

The actual amount of the Pell Grant award depends on the student’s financial need and the availability of other financial aid to reduce the gap between the student’s Expected Family Contribution and Cost Of Attendance. The school’s financial aid administrator takes these factors into account when the financial aid package is structured and offered to the student.

Special Circumstances

In special circumstances, the financial aid administrator may adjust the Cost of Attendance or the data used to calculate the student’s Expected Family Contribution to influence the amount of financial aid the student can get. Students with special circumstances, such as significant medical expenses that impact their ability to contribute to their education, may wish to check with their financial aid office to inquire whether adjustments can be made. Disability related expenses can be used to alter the financial aid award. Expenses include: special equipment, transportation, and accommodations (readers, interpreters, note takers, personal attendants) that are paid for by the student.

Residency Requirement

Students must be able to live and attend school legally in the United States as a U.S. citizen, U.S. national or eligible noncitizen.

Eligible noncitizens belong to one of the following categories:

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