Pell Grant Amounts

During the 2009-2010 academic year (July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010), the Pell Grant award maximum per student is $5,300. The amended funding as passed by Congress, and signed by President Bush, puts the maximum student award at $5,500 for the July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011 academic year.

It is important to note that the average student award is significantly less than the award maximum. In the 2008 academic year, it is estimated that the average Pell Grant award will be $2,770, which covers approximately 42% of tuition and related expenses in the average U.S. four-year public college.

The amended legislation also provides for an increase in the maximum award of $200.00 per year, through 2012, in order to keep pace with educational costs: 2009 $4,800, 2010 $5,000, 2011 $5,200, 2012 $5,400. However, the maximum award amounts can change according to the availability of funding in the total Pell Grant funding pool.

Because the Pell Grant program was created to assist students in financial need, the amount awarded to an individual student is dependent on the total family income. In addition to income other factors apply when a student is considered for an award, i.e., whether the student is independent or dependent on the family, the cost of tuition at the school the student is attending, and whether the student is attending school full-time or part-time, among other considerations.

To establish the eligibility of the student and the amount the student will receive, the student and his/her family must complete a Free Application for Federal Aid (FAFSA). 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.

The student cannot receive Pell Grant funding more than once in any one academic year, nor can the student receive Pell Grant funding from more than one school during one academic year.

If a student is approved for Pell Grant funding, the college or university where the student is enrolled may receive the funds directly to apply to the student account, or the student may be paid directly, typically in the form of a check. It is also possible that the payment will be combined so that the school receives part of the payment and the student receives the balance.