If you're looking into applying for a federal Pell Grant, you may also be concerned about budgeting out your college expenses. What should you expect, exactly, from a Pell Grant? How helpful could it be?
Here, we'll outline the steps to figuring out what the Pell Grant can do for you. Read on for more information on Pell award amounts, and instructions on how to figure out what your grant will look like.
How Much Money Can You Get?
I'll cut right to the chase: for the 2015-2016 academic year, the maximum Pell Grant amount is $5775, whereas the minimum is $600. The average award amount for 2013-2014 was $3541. The maximum/minimum award amounts are periodically updated, however - every so often, the grant award will increase to account for inflation and other factors.
If you're eligible to receive the grant, your award amount depends primarily on something called your Expected Family Contribution, or EFC. Your official EFC is generated when you apply for the Pell Grant via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA; learn more about how to submit a FAFSA here. For the 2015-2016 academic year, your EFC must be at or below $5081 to qualify for the Pell. I'll go over how to estimate your eligibility in the next section.
Your enrollment status (full-time versus part-time) will also affect how much Pell Grant money you're eligible for - full-time students will get more aid than part-time students. See our Pell Grant Chart for more detailed information about award amounts based on enrollment status.
How Do I Estimate How Much I'm Eligible For?
An extra $5775 a year to pay for school sounds great, right? Unfortunately, not everyone will get the maximum award amount; the good news is that you can estimate your award before you even apply.
The best way to estimate your Pell Grant eligibility, as well as your eligibility for other types of federal financial aid, is through the FAFSA4caster. Our Pell Grant Calculator guide will walk you through using this tool.
If you already know your EFC and whether you'll be a full-time or part-time student, you can check out our Pell Grant Chart for an estimate of how much grant money you'll receive each semester.
Not this kind of 4caster
Knowing how much financial aid you can get is one thing; knowing how to actually get financial aid is quite another. Check out our Pell Grant eligibility guide for important information on how to qualify for federal financial aid.
Once you've got those eligibility requirements locked down, you have to actually submit your application, right? Learn how here.
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Francesca graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and scored in the 99th percentile on the SATs. She's worked with many students on SAT prep and college counseling, and loves helping students capitalize on their strengths.