Pell Grant

DEFINITION of 'Pell Grant '

A program that awards money to eligible undergraduate and, in certain situations, post-baccalaureate students. Unlike other Federal financial aid, the The Federal Pell Grant Program does not need to be repaid. Pell Grants are needs-based grants that are intended to provide low-income students access to post-secondary education. Grant amounts are determined by the students' expected family contribution (EFC), the cost of attendance, whether the student is full- or part-time and whether or not the students attends a full academic year.


Students can receive Pell Grant funding from one school at a time. Higher education institutions that participate in the Federal Pell Grant Program can credit the Pell Grant to the student's school account or pay the student directly, typically by check. The school must release funds at least once per term (semester, trimester or quarter), or at least twice per school year where semester, trimester or quarterly terms are not defined.