A Federal Pell Grant can help cover some of the costs of career schools, community colleges, and universities. The maximum Pell Grant award for the 2023-2024 school year is $7,395, but this amount changes annually. The amount you may qualify for may be less than the maximum award.
You can apply for Pell Grant online through the FAFSA form each year. Your FAFSA form will determine if you meet the qualifications for a grant. The following affect your award amount:
- Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
- The cost to attend the program at your prospective school(s)
- Whether you are enrolling full- or part-time
- Whether you are attending for all or part of the academic year
For example, you will likely receive the full amount if your EFC is $0 and the cost of full-time attendance is $7,395 or more. However, the government may give you only $1,300 if the cost of full-time attendance is between $6,500 and $6,599 and your EPC is between $1,301 and $1,400.
Additionally, your Pell Grant award may be less if your enrollment is for half of the expected course load (going half-time). You can review the disbursement schedule for grant amounts online.
The government does issue up to 150 percent of a Pell Grant award under certain situations, such as going to school during the summer semester. Your award amount goes directly to your school.
The U.S. Department of Education calculates your EFC using a formula. The formula they use depends on if you are:
- A dependent student.
- An independent student without dependents.
- An independent student with dependents.
You may be a dependent student if you have the assumed support of your parents. For instance, you likely fit in this category if your parents list you as a dependent on their taxes, you are younger than 24 years of age, unmarried, do not have children, and are not an active or former military member.
The U.S. Department of Education will likely consider you an independent student if you are at least 24 years of age, married, pursuing a graduate or higher degree, a veteran or a military member, or have dependents. In some cases, you can request a dependency override, such as being homeless, a ward of the state, or having incarcerated parents.
You cannot receive funds from a Pell Grant for more than 12 terms or six years. You will not qualify for the federal grant if you are incarcerated or are involuntarily committed to an institution for a sexual offense.
Other grants are available if you have a greater need for financial assistance. Learn about the grant requirements for low-income households next.
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