Pell Grant Eligibility

To determine your eligibility for the Pell Grant program you must first complete a Free Application for Federal Aid (FAFSA) form. If you have not yet completed your FAFSA application, go to the website (, and complete your FAFSA using the instructions provided in the “Fill out a FAFSA” section. When you complete your first FAFSA application, you will answer questions to determine your eligibility for the Pell Grant among other government grants and funding. After you save and submit your initial FAFSA application, you will be notified by email or regular postal delivery if and when you receive Pell Grant funding.

Students with a total family income up to $50,000 may be eligible for Pell Grants, though most Pell funding goes to students with a total family income below $20,000.

Other eligibility requirements include the following: You must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or an eligible non-citizen, i.e., U.S. permanent resident with an Alien Registration Card I-551, a conditional permanent resident with an I-551C card, possess Arrival Departure Record I-94 from the Immigration and Naturalization Service one of the following designations: asylum granted, parole, refugee, entrant from Cuba or Haiti. You may also be eligible if you live independent of your parent or guardian, and/or if you have your own dependents.

To receive a Pell Grant, you must be an undergraduate student, and in some cases, a student completing your first professional degree, e.g., pharmacy or dentistry.

You must be enrolled in a program that will lead to a certificate, diploma, or degree at any institution eligible to participate in the Pell Grant Program, and maintain satisfactory academic progress as defined by the grant program. You must also sign a statement indicating that you are not in default on a federal loan, and that the financial aid will be used only for educational purposes. Finally, you must not have been convicted for the possession or sale of illegal drugs while receiving federal financial aid.


The way the government and school determine your Pell Grant eligiblility is from your EFC. Your EFC is a number that is given to you at the end of your FAFSA and it stands for Expected Family Contribution. It is not a dollar amount, but a number. The best case senerio is to get a Zero EFC.