The Federal Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid provided the student completes 60% of the semester. Pell Grants are awarded only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's or professional degree. (A professional degree would include a degree in a field such as medicine, law, or dentistry.) For many students, Pell Grants provide a foundation of financial aid to which other aid may be added. To determine if you are financially eligible for the Pell Grant, the U.S Department of Education uses a standard formula, established by Congress, to evaluate the information the student provides on the FAFSA. The formula produces an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) number. Your Student Aid Report (SAR) contains this number and will tell you if you are eligible.
The award can be between $598 and $5815 for the 2016-2017 award year. You can receive only one Pell Grant in an award year. How much you get will depend not only on your EFC, but also on your cost of attendance, enrollment status, and whether or not you attend school for a full academic year. You may NOT receive Pell Grant funds from more than one school at a time. These funds are divided between fall and spring semesters and are credited to the students account. Any remaining Pell Grant balance (after fees are paid) is issued to the student according to the disbursement method selected when the student's Higher One card was activated. Refunds are paid once per semester and are not issued until after the 8th week of school. To receive federal funds, you must meet all admission requirements and you must have a high school diploma or GED. Visit the FAFSA website to apply for a Federal Pell Grant.