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Ask A CPA - College Planning & Financial Aid

What Is The Federal Pell Grant ?

A Federal Pell Grant is different than a loan and does not have to be repaid. Pell Grants are awarded only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's or professional degree. Pell Grants provide a foundation of financial aid to which other financial aid may be added. Pell Grants are awarded on a financial need basis. Financial need is calculated by subtracting the Expected Family Contribution "EFC" from the Cost of Attendance. It is the standard formula the U.S. Department of Education uses to evaluate the information you report when you apply. If your Expected Family Contribution is below a certain amount, you will be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, assuming you meet all other eligibility requirements. The maximum award for the 3011-2012 award year was $5,500. You can receive only one Pell Grant in an award year. How much you get will depend not only on your Expected Family Contribution but also on your cost of attendance, whether you're a full time or part time student, and whether you attend school for a full academic year or less. You may not receive Pell Grant funds from more than one school at a time.

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