Federal Pell Grant Program

Published on AidPage by IDILOGIC on Jun 24, 2005

Administered by:

Purpose of this program:

To provide eligible undergraduate postsecondary students who have demonstrated financial need with grant assistance to help meet educational expenses.

Possible uses and use restrictions...

The student must be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen who has been accepted for enrollment in, and is making satisfactory academic progress at, an eligible institution of higher education. Eligible schools may be public or private nonprofit institutions of higher education, (such as colleges, universities, vocational-technical schools, hospital schools of nursing), and for- profit institutions (proprietary). Eligible males who are at least 18 years or older and born after December 31, 1959, can receive aid only if they have registered with the Selective Service. Graduate students and students who have already earned a bachelor's degree are not eligible for assistance. Applicants must demonstrate need according to Part F of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.

Who is eligible to apply...

Undergraduate students enrolled as regular students in an eligible program at an eligible institution of higher education and making satisfactory academic progress. The applicants must be U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens and have a high school diploma, a GED, or demonstrate the ability to benefit from the program offered.

Eligible Applicant Categories:
Eligible Functional Categories:
Credentials/Documentation

This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.

Note:This is a brief description of the credentials or documentation required prior to, or along with, an application for assistance.

About this section:

This section indicates who can apply to the Federal government for assistance and the criteria the potential applicant must satisfy. For example, individuals may be eligible for research grants, and the criteria to be satisfied may be that they have a professional or scientific degree, 3 years of research experience, and be a citizen of the United States. Universities, medical schools, hospitals, or State and local governments may also be eligible. Where State governments are eligible, the type of State agency will be indicated (State welfare agency or State agency on aging) and the criteria that they must satisfy.

Certain federal programs (e.g., the Pell Grant program which provides grants to students) involve intermediate levels of application processing, i.e., applications are transmitted through colleges or universities that are neither the direct applicant nor the ultimate beneficiary. For these programs, the criteria that the intermediaries must satisfy are also indicated, along with intermediaries who are not eligible.

How to apply...

Application Procedure:

Student completes a "Free Application for Federal Student Aid" and submits it to the agency specified on the form. Students may apply using a paper application, an electronic application, or via the Internet. The U.S. Department of Education calculates the student's financial eligibility for assistance and the agency to which the student sent the application returns a notification to the student of his or her eligibility for assistance. The student submits this notification to the institution of his or her choice in order to have his or her award calculated. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-110.

Note: Each program will indicate whether applications are to be submitted to the Federal headquarters, regional or local office, or to a State or local government office.

Award Procedure:

Institutions act as disbursing agents for the Department of Education. The institution that the student attends calculates and disburses the Federal Pell Grant, using a payment schedule developed by the Department of Education that determines the amount of the award based on the student's expected family contribution, cost of attendance, and enrollment status.

Note: Grant payments may be made by a letter of credit, advance by Treasury check, or reimbursement by Treasury check. Awards may be made by the headquarters office directly to the applicant, an agency field office, a regional office, or by an authorized county office. The assistance may pass through the initial applicant for further distribution by intermediate level applicants to groups or individuals in the private sector.

Deadlines and process...

Deadlines

Contact the program office for deadlines.

Note: When available, this section indicates the deadlines for applications to the funding agency which will be stated in terms of the date(s) or between what dates the application should be received. When not available, applicants should contact the funding agency for deadline information.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Approximately 2 to 4 weeks.

Preapplication Coordination

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-102.

Note: This section indicates whether any prior coordination or approval is required with governmental or nongovernmental units prior to the submission of a formal application to the federal funding agency.

Appeals

An institution, on the basis of supplemental documentation, may rule that an applicant is self-supporting, even though under the standard criteria, the applicant would normally be considered financially dependent on his or her parents. An institution may adjust on a case-by-case basis a student's data elements used to calculate his or her EFC and cost of attendance due to unusual circumstances documented by the institution.

Note: In some cases, there are no provisions for appeal. Where applicable, this section discusses appeal procedures or allowable rework time for resubmission of applications to be processed by the funding agency. Appeal procedures vary with individual programs and are either listed in this section or applicants are referred to appeal procedures documented in the relevant Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

Renewals

Students who have applied in the previous award year may be eligible to complete a paper or electronic renewal application which contains preprinted student data and requires students only to update certain information. However, eligibility is still annually determined.

Note: In some instances, renewal procedures may be the same as for the application procedure, e.g., for projects of a non-continuing nature renewals will be treated as new, competing applications; for projects of an ongoing nature, renewals may be given annually.

Who can benefit...

Undergraduate students that are U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens and meet financial need criteria. Students must be: regular students in an eligible program and enrolled in institutions of higher education, making satisfactory academic progress. Incarcerated students, except those incarcerated in local penal facilities, are ineligible. Students must sign a statement of educational purpose, not owe a refund on a Title IV grant, and not be in default on a Title IV loan. Eligible males that are at least 18 years old and born after December 31, 1959, can receive aid only if they have registered with the Selective Service.

Beneficiaries
About this section:

This section lists the ultimate beneficiaries of a program, the criteria they must satisfy and who specifically is not eligible. The applicant and beneficiary will generally be the same for programs that provide assistance directly from a Federal agency. However, financial assistance that passes through State or local governments will have different applicants and beneficiaries since the assistance is transmitted to private sector beneficiaries who are not obligated to request or apply for the assistance.

What types of assistance...

Direct Payments for Specified Use

Financial assistance from the Federal government provided directly to individuals, private firms, and other private institutions to encourage or subsidize a particular activity by conditioning the receipt of the assistance on a particular performance by the recipient. This does not include solicited contracts for the procurement of goods and services for the Federal government.

How much financial aid...

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Grants ranged from $400 to $4,050 in fiscal year 2003. Average award: $2,467 in fiscal year 2003.

Note: This section lists the representative range (smallest to largest) of the amount of financial assistance available. These figures are based upon funds awarded in the past fiscal year and the current fiscal year to date. Also indicated is an approximate average amount of awards which were made in the past and current fiscal years.

Obligations

(Grants) FY 03 $11,364,646,000; FY 04 est $12,006,738,000; and FY 05 est $12,863,000,000.

Note: The dollar amounts listed in this section represent obligations for the past fiscal year (PY), estimates for the current fiscal year (CY), and estimates for the budget fiscal year (BY) as reported by the Federal agencies. Obligations for non-financial assistance programs indicate the administrative expenses involved in the operation of a program.

Account Identification

91-0200-0-1-502.

Note: Note: This 11-digit budget account identification code represents the account which funds a particular program. This code should be consistent with the code given for the program area as specified in Appendix III of the Budget of the United States Government.

Examples of funded projects...

Not applicable.

About this section

This section indicates the different types of projects which have been funded in the past. Only projects funded under Project Grants or Direct Payments for Specified Use should be listed here. The examples give potential applicants an idea of the types of projects that may be accepted for funding. The agency should list at least five examples of the most recently funded projects.

Program accomplishments...

Approximately 5,141,000 students received Federal Pell grants during fiscal year 2003.

Criteria for selecting proposals...

The Expected Family Contribution formula is set forth in Part F of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended.

Assistance considerations...

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Students are currently limited to one Federal Pell Grant during any award year (July 1 through June 30). There is no funding for students to receive a second Federal Pell Grant during a single award year. Funds for one Federal Pell Grant are usually disbursed at least twice during an award year. Students may only receive a Federal Pell Grant until they have received a bachelor's degree.

Formula and Matching Requirements

Federal Pell Grant eligibility determinations are based on Part F of the HEA, as amended. This national need analysis formula determines financial eligibility for Federal Pell grants and other Federal student aid and is applied uniformly to all applicants. This formula determines a student's "expected family contribution" (EFC). The fundamental elements of this need analysis formula are the parents' and/or the student's income and assets (excluding home), the family's household size, and the number of family members attending postsecondary institutions. The EFC is determined as the sum of: (1) A percentage assessment of net income (remaining income after subtracting allowances for basic living expenses) and (2) a percentage assessment of net assets, other than a home, (remaining assets after subtracting an asset protection allowance).

Note:
A formula may be based on population, per capita income, and other statistical factors. Applicants are informed whether there are any matching requirements to be met when participating in the cost of a project. In general, the matching share represents that portion of the project costs not borne by the Federal government. Attachment F of OMB Circular No. A-102 (Office of Management and Budget) sets forth the criteria and procedures for the evaluation of matching share requirements which may be cash or in-kind contributions made by State and local governments or other agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals to satisfy matching requirements of Federal grants or loans.

Cash contributions represent the grantees' cash outlay, including the outlay of money contributed to the grantee by other public agencies, institutions, private organizations, or individuals. When authorized by Federal regulation, Federal funds received from other grants may be considered as the grantees' cash contribution.

In-kind contributions represent the value of noncash contributions provided by the grantee, other public agencies and institutions, private organizations or individuals. In-kind contributions may consist of charges for real property and equipment, and value of goods and services directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to the grant program. When authorized by Federal legislation, property purchased with Federal funds may be considered as grantees' in-kind contribution.

Maintenance of effort (MOE) is a requirement contained in certain legislation, regulations, or administrative policies stating that a grantee must maintain a specified level of financial effort in a specific area in order to receive Federal grant funds, and that the Federal grant funds may be used only to supplement, not supplant, the level of grantee funds.

Post assistance requirements...

Reports

Institutions will be required to furnish reports, periodically, on the disbursement of funds, as well as to furnish any other reports the Secretary requires. No reports are required of students.

Note: This section indicates whether program reports, expenditure reports, cash reports or performance monitoring are required by the Federal funding agency, and specifies at what time intervals (monthly, annually, etc.) this must be accomplished.

Audits

Annual audits will be made.

Note: This section discusses audits required by the Federal agency. The procedures and requirements for State and local governments and nonprofit entities are set forth in OMB Circular No. A-133. These requirements pertain to awards made within the respective State's fiscal year - not the Federal fiscal year, as some State and local governments may use the calendar year or other variation of time span designated as the fiscal year period, rather than that commonly known as the Federal fiscal year (from October 1st through September 30th).

Records

All records pertaining to the eligibility of each Federal Pell Grant recipient and all fiscal management records must be maintained by the institutions for a period of 3 years or until an acceptable audit has been completed, whichever is later. Selected students will have the information on their applications verified.

Note: This section indicates the record retention requirements and the type of records the Federal agency may require. Not included are the normally imposed requirements of the General Accounting Office. For programs falling under the purview of OMB Circular No. A-102, record retention is set forth in Attachment C. For other programs, record retention is governed by the funding agency's requirements.

Regulations...

Authorization

Higher Education Act of 1965, Title IV, Part A, Subpart 1, as amended.

Note: This section lists the legal authority upon which a program is based (acts, amendments to acts, Public Law numbers, titles, sections, Statute Codes, citations to the U.S. Code, Executive Orders, Presidential Reorganization Plans, and Memoranda from an agency head).

Regulations, Guidelines, And Literature

The Federal Pell Grant Expected Family Contribution formula is set forth in Part F of the Higher Education Act of 1965 as amended. Regulations governing administration of the Pell Grant Program are found in 34 CFR 600, 668, and 690. The Student Guide; Free Application for Federal Student Aid (no charge); "The Expected Family Contribution Formula"; "The Student Financial Aid Handbook."

Contact information...

Web Sites
Regional Or Local Office

Federal Student Aid Information Center. Telephone: 1-800-433-3243. Regional Director, Federal Student Aid, the Director of Student Financial Aid at the institution the student wishes to attend, high school guidance counselors, or directors of State agencies.

Note: This section lists the agency contact person, address and telephone number of the Federal Regional or Local Office(s) to be contacted for detailed information regarding a program such as: (1) current availability of funds and the likelihood of receiving assistance within a given period; (2) pre-application and application forms required; (3) whether a pre-application conference is recommended; (4) assistance available in preparation of applications; (5) whether funding decisions are made at the headquarters, regional or local level; (6) application renewal procedures (including continuations and supplementals) or appeal procedures for rejected applications; and (7) recently published program guidelines and material. However, for most federal programs, this section will instruct the reader to consult the so-called Appendix IV of the Catalog due to the large volume of Regional and Local Office Contacts for most agencies. This information is provided in Additional Contact Information (see below).

Headquarters Office

Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20202. Telephone: (800) 433-3243.

Note: This section lists names and addresses of the office at the headquarters level with direct operational responsibility for managing a program. A telephone number is provided in cases where a Regional or Local Office is not normally able to answer detailed inquiries concerning a program. Also listed are the name(s) and telephone number(s) of the information contact person(s) who can provide additional program information to applicants.

Additional Contact Information (Appendix IV)

Due to the large volume of regional and local office contacts for most agencies, full contact information is also provided separately here in a PDF format: