In order to determine how much federal Pell Grant you will receive, you must complete the FAFSA. Once the FAFSA is processed, there are three main ingredients which determine your eligibility for Pell. The first is the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) which is computed using a formula that takes into consideration all of the information you supply on the FAFSA. Rather than an absolute measure of how much a family can afford, the EFC is a relative measure of a family’s financial strength. Next is your enrollment status. Enrollment status, simply put, is the course load you will take while you are enrolled. Some examples are full-time, half-time or less that half time. The final piece of the puzzle is the Cost of Attendance (COA) as determined by your school. These three variables will be used by your school’s financial aid office to determine how much, if any, Pell Grant and other financial aid you may be awarded. Let’s take a look and see what that could mean for student’s attending college in the 2015-2016 academic year.
For the 2015-2016 award year (July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016), the maximum Pell Grant available is $5,775. The maximum applies to full year, full-time undergraduate students. The minimum for full-time undergraduates is $600. This year’s Pell Grant is an increase of $45 over the 2014-2015 maximum of $5,730. Every student who meets the general eligibility requirements to receive federal financial aid and is Pell eligible will receive funding.
Here are the 2015-2016 Award Year Federal Pell Grant Program Payment and Disbursement Schedules (pdf). Remember, your financial aid office has the final word on your eligibility to receive financial aid–including the Pell Grant.
Here are historical Pell Grant maximums adjusted for inflation (2014):