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Do you have to pay back a Federal Pell Grant? As Federal Pell Grant provides financial assistance for eligible students, it does not require paying back within usual circumstances. The said program is not a loan that needs to be repaid.

Financial assistance that was given through Federal Pell Grant is completely free for its beneficiaries. Generally, the program has an allocated budget from the federal government.

Repayment of Financial Assistance

There are some specific cases wherein eligible students need to repay their financial assistance. Refer to below for the circumstances that require repayment of the assistance from the program.

  • If a student withdraws his/her enrollment and does not finish the course.
  • If a student was not able to maintain his/her academic status and did not qualify for the program anymore.
  • If a student is overpaid through the program but still received additional funds then he/she was entitled to.
  • If a student receives other financial assistance from outside programs or scholarships and exceeds the financial aid requirements.
  • If the financial status of a student changes, it leads the student to be ineligible for the program.

When a beneficiary of the Federal Pell Grant experienced any of the mentioned circumstances above, the student will be required to repay the financial assistance he/she received. Nevertheless, as long as a beneficiary is under the circumstances, there’s no possibility of paying back the grant that he/she received.

What is a Federal Pell Grant?

Federal Pell Grant is a program funded by the federal government aiming to provide financial assistance for low-income students. It gives support and aid to students that are suffering from financial hardships in their education.

The main purpose of the program is to help each student to graduate from college without minding their financial expenses. Federal Pell Grant prioritizes low-income undergraduate students and individuals pursuing the post-baccalaureate program.

According to, over 6.8 million college students were assisted by the Federal Pell Grant. From the data, we can say that the said program is effective and efficient in terms of providing financial assistance for its eligible students.

Moreover, the said program serves as the foundation of its beneficiaries in terms of support for educational needs.

The program was created last 1965 under the Higher Education Act of 1965. Federal Pell Grant was named after the Democratic U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island.

The said program was also known as Basic Educational Opportunity Grant back then. Eligible beneficiaries can use the financial assistance from the program in approximately 5,400 participating postsecondary institutions all over the United States.

Moreover, about 62% of students from these constitutions receive financial aid from the Federal Pell Grant. As the Federal Pell Grant is not a loan, the government does not require eligible students to pay back the financial assistance that they receive. However, there are some specific circumstances wherein students need to repay the financial aid they received.

But then, The program gives huge support to eligible students to lessen their hardships in education. Beneficiaries can use the money for basic components such as tuition, food, and housing. Federal Pell Grants continue to support more students and provide assistance throughout the United States.

Am I Eligible for the Federal Pell Grant?

To be an eligible beneficiary for the Federal Pell Grant, the student must meet specific requirements. Refer to the qualification list below to know whether you can be a qualified student for the said program.

  1. Applicants must demonstrate a financial need.
  2. Applicants must be citizens of the United States or eligible citizens.
  3. Applicants must have a valid Social Security Number.
  4. Applicants must be enrolled as regular students in a degree program or certificate program.
  5. Applicants must maintain their academic progress status within their chosen degree or certificate program.
  6. Applicants must have a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) Certificate.

Students that are unable to meet the qualification above are automatically ineligible for Federal Pell Grant. However, there are still many open programs that can assist students in their education.

How can I Apply for the Federal Pell Grant?

The application process for the Federal Pell Grant can be done online. Students can apply through Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA is an open invitation from the U.S. government and is used by students to apply and know whether they’re eligible for federal grants or aid for students. You can apply by navigating to the FAFSA official website.

Within FAFSA, they will be able to know whether you’re eligible for the Federal Pell Grant. Check below for the list of requirements that serves as a basis for determining the eligibility of a student applicant.

  1. Student’s Income
  2. Student’s assets (if a student is independent)
  3. Household Income (most of the qualified students have a monthly family income of less than $40,000)
  4. Household Size
  5. Number of students in the student’s family
Required Documents for the Application

There are required documents during the application process for the Federal Pell Grant. Refer to below for the documents you need throughout the application of the said program.

  • Proof of U.S. citizenship
  • Proof of Residency
  • Proof of your Household Annual Income (must meet the standard income guidelines of the said program)
  • Proof of Birthdate
  • Proof of Enrollment
  • Social Security Number
  • Federal income from the previous year
  • Checking and savings from the bank
Tips for Applying
  1. Always ensure whether you’re eligible for the said program before applying. Must meet its eligibility rules, especially for the income qualifications.
  2. Before the application, prepare the documents that you need to submit. BE sure that all the documents are valid and true.
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