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Are You Eligible For The Federal Pell Grant?

The Federal Pell Grant serves as a great resource for students to obtain funding to help offset college costs. The maximum amount of Pell Grant currently available to a student on a yearly basis is $5,645 (which is an increase of $95 from last year – woot!?). In many cases, the Federal Pell Grant in conjunction with the Federal Direct Student Loan Program can easily cover all the tuition costs incurred by a student depending on the college or university they choose to attend.

Even though the Pell Grant is a very common term in the higher education community – that was not always the case. The following is a quick timeline of the how the Federal Pell Grant program came to be known:

  • 1965 – President Lyndon B. Johnson implements the Higher Education Act which includes federal grant and loan support for college bound students
  • 1972 – Senator Claiborne Pell (Rhode Island) initiates a reformation of how federal aid is distributed
  • 1978 – President Jimmy Carter signs the Middle Income Student Assistance Act and provides additional support for more educational grant monies to be made available
  • 1978 – In honor of Senator Pell’s work on this education funding initiative the Basic Educational Opportunity Grant is now referred to as the Pell Grant.
  • 1978-1979 – The average Pell Grant was $814 and it was awarded to 1,893,000 students
  • 2010-2011 – The average Pell Grant was $4,115 and it was awarded to 8,873,000 students

Now that you know the history of the Pell Grant, what is in it for you utilizing today’s figures? The calculation that decides how much Pell monies you are eligible to receive comes from doing your FAFSA each and every year. The Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) number that is generated dictates the amount of Pell Grant funding you will receive. So, once you know your EFC number, you can utilize the following chart to determine how much Pell Grant you will qualify to receive. The most you can get is $5,645 and the least you can get is.. well… ummm.. zero..  And yes, it is probably important to mention that if you are reading this article from the confines of a jail cell, you are not eligible for the Pell Grant. However, you may have other options at your disposal.

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