If you are considering the Pell Grant to help offset the cost of your post-secondary undergraduate education, you might be interested in knowing what the Pell Grant income limits are. You might also be surprised to find out that the government does not have hard income limits for this program, so it is important to understand what information they look at and how they consider income to determine eligibility.
The Pell Grant has been around for more than forty years and is the most widely used federally funded student aid program in the country. While income is one of the determining factors for eligibility, the Pell Grant does not have specific income limits, though if your income is above a certain threshold for your household, you may not qualify for aid. Essentially, what they are looking for is for the student to be able to demonstrate a significant financial need that shows that they would require some sort of aid to be able to cover the costs sustainably to be able to attend college.
There is a calculation that is used to determine the need for each student that takes into consideration the income of the household and also their expected contribution as well as the income of the student and their expected contribution. They also consider the cost of attendance for each student as well. In order to determine the cost of attendance they look at the tuition amount and the number of classes/credits the student intends to take as well as the indirect costs such as textbooks and living expenses.
They take the expected family contribution (the total income) and subtract the cost of attendance and then use this calculation to determine if you are eligible and how much you are eligible for. Because eligibility is based on the total calculation, there are not set Pell Grant income limits.
The program was designed to help lower income families afford post-secondary education without taking on the extreme burden of student loans, or at least mitigating some of that expense. However, it has been demonstrated that almost everyone who applies will qualify for some amount of aid.
While there aren’t specific Pell Grant income limits, there are a few things that are certain. If a household has an adjusted gross income below $26,000 per year, then they are able to qualify for the full amount of aid at $6,345 per year. If the household adjusted gross income is above $60,000 per year, it is likely that the student will not be eligible for assistance. However, any household income amounts between those two thresholds will likely result in a partial grant amount to the student with the funding based both on the income and the total cost for their attendance. Other factors may be considered as well such as how many classes and credits the student is enrolled in as well as the length of time that they plan on attending school. Pell Grant income limits can be difficult to determine on your own, but since most everyone qualifies for some form of aid, it is encouraged to complete the application each year.