Pell Grant Eligibility
Pell Grant Amount

The maximum Pell Grant award for the 2011-12 award year (July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012) is $5,550. The total amount will depend not only on your financial need, but also on your costs to attend school, your status as a full-time or part-time student, and your plans to attend school for a full academic year or less.

The maximum award amount is given for any Pell Grant eligible student whose parent or guardian died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after Sept.11, 2001. You must be under 24 years old or enrolled at least part-time in college at the time of your parent's or guardian's death.

Beginning with the 2011-12 award year, you may receive only one Pell Grant award during a single award year.

If you received a Pell Grant for the first time on or after July 1, 2008, you can only receive the Pell Grant for up to 18 semesters or the equivalent.  Beginning July 2012, students can only receive the Pell Grant for up to 12 semesters due to continued federal budget deficits.
Your school can apply Pell Grant funds to your school costs, send a financial aid check, or combine these methods. Your school must tell you in writing how much your award will be and how and when you'll be paid. Schools must disburse funds at least once per term (semester, trimester, or quarter). Schools that do not use semesters, trimesters, or quarters must disburse funds at least twice per academic year.

The Pell Grant is expected to increase every year until it reaches the maximum amount of $5,975 by 2017.  Once it reached the maximum then the Pell Grant is expected to increase based on Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA).  Due to the recent federal budget deficits, the Pell Grant increases are in jeopordy and the award amount may actual decrease in future years.  The estimated Recovery Act for 2011-2012 award year is $17,114,000,000, but in 2011 Congress levied a $5.7 billion cut to the Pell Grant Program.  The changes would take effect for the 2011-12 school year, decreasing the maximum amount of aid for the most needy students from $5,550 to $4,705 a year, a difference of $845. In addition, about 1.7 million students who receive smaller Pell Grants would become ineligible for the program.

Additional Pell Grant cuts may be on the table due to the recent federal government deficits that are taking place in 2011.  If federal financial aid funding does occur, the Pell Grant would be the program that this most impacted.