Taken from The Student Guide of the U.S. Department of Education
What is a Federal Pell Grant?
A Federal Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. Pell Grants are awarded only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor’s or professional degree. (A professional degree would include a degree in a field such as pharmacy or dentistry.) For many students, Pell Grants provide a foundation of financial aid to which other aid may be added.
How do I qualify?
To determine if you’re eligible financially, the U.S. Department of Education uses a standard formula, established by Congress, to evaluate the information you report when you apply. (See "Financial Need" on page 6.) The formula produces an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) number. Your Student Aid Report (SAR) contains this number and will tell you if you’re eligible.
How much money can I get?
Awards for the 2001-2002 award year (July 1, 2001 to June 30, 2002) will depend on program funding. The maximum award for the 2001-2002 award year was $3,750. You can receive only one Pell Grant in an award year. How much you get will depend not only on your EFC but 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.
How will I be paid?
Your school can either credit the Pell Grant funds to your school account, pay you directly (usually by check), or combine these methods. The school must tell you in writing how and when you’ll be paid and how much your award will be. Schools must pay you at least once per term (semester, trimester, or quarter). Schools that do not use formally defined, traditional terms must pay you at least twice per academic year*.
Can I receive a Federal Pell Grant if I am enrolled less than half-time?
Yes, if you’re otherwise eligible. You won’t receive as much as if you were enrolled full-time, but your school must disburse your Pell Grant funds in accordance with your enrollment status and cannot refuse you an award simply because you’re enrolled less than half-time.