What are Pell Grant requirements?

A college degree is needed to have a competitive edge in the workplace these days. However, getting a diploma is not that easy, and paying for higher education is undoubtedly expensive. In order to make schooling accessible to everyone, there are now various grants and scholarships offered by different institutions. The government itself has taken steps to be able to support the educational ambitions of individuals by providing the Pell Grant.

Because those who are awarded the Pell Grant do not need to repay the money spent on their education, there are strict rules that dictate who the people eligible for this are. The Pell Grant requirements are the factors that prospective students need to satisfy in order to qualify for this.

There are several Pell Grant requirements that a person will need to fulfill in order to be given this.

Financial Need

The most important qualifier is that the individual will need to establish his or her financial need. The Pell Grant is specifically designed for people who have problems with their finances, so it stands to reason why this is the factor that they pay the most attention to. The level of need of the student will be measured by the expected family contribution (EFC). Those who have an EFC below the cut-off point become eligible for being given a Pell Grant provided they satisfy all the other requirements. In general, the awards are given to students whose family incomes are below $20,000, although there have been cases of those who have an EFC of up to $45,000 that has been given financial support.

Dependency Status

A person’s dependency status can also affect his or her level of financial need. For example, a person who has applied as an independent will be looked at differently compared to the one who has applied as a dependent. Since independents do not rely on anyone but themselves for financial support, they will need to prove their financial standing by showing statements of account and such.

Schooling Status

Another criterion for the Pell Grant is for the applicant to have a high school diploma, a GED, or show that he or she has the ability to benefit from the program or training course. Individuals who can also prove that they went through a qualified homeschooling curriculum can also become eligible as long as they meet the other requirements.


The next criterion of the Pell Grant would be in terms of citizenship. The prospective student must be a United States citizen, a permanent citizen, or otherwise fit the eligible categories of a non-citizen by showing that he or she is able to live and attend school legally in the United States. The individual will need to present any of the following documents:

  • US Permanent Citizen (Alien Registration Card or I-551)
  • Conditional Permanent Citizen (I-551C)
  • Cuban-Haitian entrant with an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)

Otherwise, the prospective student has to show that he or she is a refugee, an asylum grantee, or a parolee.

Academic Progress

The prospective student must also show satisfactory academic progress. To prove this, the person must have at least a C (or 2.0) grade point average by the end of the second year if the degree is longer than two years or prove the equivalent for shorter courses.

Other Pell Grant requirements include the student presenting his or her valid social security number. For males between 18-25 years old, they need to register with selective service. The student will also need to finish filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that will show that he or she can use the federal student aid funds solely for educational purposes and that he or she is not in default of any federal student loan and/or do not owe a repayment of any federal student aid grant.

Meeting these Pell Grant requirements should put you on the right path to getting your college education supported by the government.


  • Hussain Shoaib

    Hussain Shoaib is an author and digital marketer with expertise in financial aid and education. He has extensive knowledge of the Pell grant and FAFSA, and has published numerous articles on these topics.

2 thoughts on “What are Pell Grant requirements?”

  1. If I am in my current masters degree how do I know if I quality for any pell grants? I have been getting student loans? Thanks

  2. i am 71 years old. i am a navy veteran. i am disabled. i have a 2 ba. from penn state. i wish to get my bachelors degree.

Comments are closed.