The Pell Grant has been around since 1973 and is the most widely administered form of federal student aid that is available, so it is important to know how to determine your Pell Grant eligibility. There are several factors to consider when looking at eligibility including income, the type of schooling that one is doing, and other qualifying factors.

The first thing to know about Pell Grant eligibility is that it is primarily for undergraduate education. That is typically the first two years that one is attending a post-graduate school seeking either an associate’s or a bachelor’s degree. There are some post baccalaureate certification programs that are also eligible for Pell Grant assistance.

Another thing that affects Pell Grant eligibility is one’s household income. This type of student aid is predominantly for students from low-income or lower-income families. That means that the total combined income from a student’s household falls within threshold guidelines that would determine them to be low-income. However, this shouldn’t deter someone from applying who thinks that they may not qualify for the assistance because while they may not qualify for the full amount of aid, they may be eligible for partial assistance. So, all students are highly encouraged to fill out the FAFSA application to find out if they are eligible for any assistance.

One thing that could potentially disqualify an applicant is if they are incarcerated. While this is not always a disqualifying factor, often times if one is attending post-secondary school from within a detention facility, they will not be eligible for the same or as much assistance if any.

Another factor that is used to determine Pell Grant eligibility is the amount of credits and classes that a student is planning on enrolling for as well as the length of time they plan on attending school. The number of classes and credits can also be used to determine the amount of aid that the student is eligible for. Typically, a student taking full-time credits and or classes will be eligible for more assistance than those taking part-time classes or credits.

The Pell Grant can be used for a total of twelve semesters of school. This means that the length of time that a student has been in attendance, as well as the number of times that the student has already applied for and used the assistance can also affect Pell Grant eligibility.

The best way to know if you are eligible for this grant is to talk with the student aid office at the school that you plan on attending. It is important to know too, that a student can only receive the grant from one school even if you are attending more than one school simultaneously. Applying for the FAFSA each year is important because financial situations for most households have the tendency to change over time. As such, it is important to know that Pell Grant eligibility is determined over again each year and can be changed during the year if the financial situation changes.