Pell Grant Vs FAFSA

By: Mahmuda Afreen / Read more about us.

Getting a finical aid based on your academic excellence and financial limitation is a common thing in the United State. Because the education cost of higher studies is quite high for both native and international students.

Mostly, students with financial instability choose the Pell grant. While applying for that they faced the term FAFSA and mixed up these two-term. Some of them think both are the same and some do not. Well, they are connected but share a lot of differences.

Pell Grant Vs FAFSA, the main difference is that one is financial aid provided by the US government. The other one FAFSA is used to check the eligibility of the student for grants like Pell. So, to get financial aid, one will have to go through the other process. One is not possible without the other.

Pell Grant Vs FAFSA

Higher studies are one of the stairways of life that requires the most important attention to decide. Students from all around the world want to peruse their bachelor’s degree from a renowned university that offers the maximum. Where there will be a resourceful library, lab, and highly qualified teachers and the education will be world-class.

However, not every country has the ability to provide the best of everything. Moreover, not every university has the resources to satisfy the unlimited thirst for knowledge of many students. That is why thousands of students choose countries like the USA and the universities it has.

Almost all the universities in the United States have a reputation worldwide for a high-quality education system. That is why subtends want to complete their education here. However, the tuition at universities is quite high. Many students do not have the capability to bear that cost.

Sometimes, they come to the USA by securing a place in one of the popular universities. After that, they face difficulties in arranging the cost of their living while paying the tuition fee. For those types of students, the Federal government of the USA designed so many grants and scholarships.

While searching for financial grant in the USA, Pell grant and FAFSA is two of the common name they found. Most of the time they get confused and ask about the differences in between these two. So, in this article, I will be talking about these two-term and differentiate them according to different terms.

Pell Grant and FAFSA, are they the same?

Are you looking for a reliable grant to help you with your fiancee while studying? Also, if you are confused about Pell Grant and FAFSA, let’s start with the definition of these two to encounter the variation they share and how they are connected.

Pell Grant, FAFSA in terms of definition

Pell Grants, which is a financial aid, issued by the U.S. Department of Education. It is for students having their bachelor’s and are enrolled in one of the universities in the USA. Students running graduation programs get this grant by proving that they are not financially able to continue their studies properly.

On the other hand, FAFSA is a Free Application for Federal Student Aid in full form. It is a process of checking the financial ability of the students for financial aid given by the government such as the Pell grant.

That means the Pell grant is a financial aid program and FAFSA is the process or way of checking the eligibility of financial situation of the students for the grant. For every aid, there is always a maximum and minimum income requirement. FAFSA will check that requirement and decide how much grant will be allowed to specific students.

Pell Grant and FAFSA, how do they work?

Let’s start with the FAFSA, first one will have to open an account in their portal to get the FSA ID. After digitally assigning your profile in their portal you will have to submit all the necessary documents they asked for. It can be done digitally or manually. One can also send all the paper by mail to their office. It needed to be done every year during the application period.

After submitting the application, they will give a report based on all your information. You will have to add this report with all the other documents while applying for the grant. Based on this report, the authority will decide how much will you get.

On the contrary, the Pell grant will vary from year to year. Students will get different amounts every year based on their FAFSA report. At the time of application, one will have to submit all the required documents.

The grant can be 1 year or 6 years. Sometimes college students with 2 years degree also get a grant. One can apply for lifetime aid while in 11th grade. On approval, they will get 6 years of cover and the grant will be year basis.

Pell Grant Vs FAFSA, from an overall perspective

Pell GrantFAFSA
Generally offered to undergraduate students.Undergraduate and graduate students can apply.
Eligibility is determined based on a student’s EFC.No income limits for eligibility.
Must demonstrate exceptional financial need.Financial need isn’t required to apply.
It is a financial aid program of the federal government.It is a process of checking financial eligibility for a financial grant from the government

What is the requirement of the Pell grant, who can apply for this program?

As like every other government grant, scholarship, or private aid for students, this one also has some requirements. To be eligible for the Pell grant, the students have to fulfill all those requirements. Let’s see the requirements to check your eligibility.

  1. A U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  2. Meet the minimum enrollment requirements of any US public university.
  3. An enrolled in your first undergraduate degree program in any state university.
  4. Meet the Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress.
  5. Not be in default on a federal student loan.
  6. Not owe a repayment of a grant or scholarship unless satisfactory arrangements have been made to repay.
  7. Must not exceed the maximum Expected Family Contribution (EFC) cutoff established by the state for each award year calculated by FAFSA.

If you meet all those requirements then you are good to apply for the grant.

How to apply for a Pell Grant?

Application for every grant program of the US government is almost the same. First, you have to check your eligibility and then dig out information about the application process and then gather all the required documents. Some of the programs allow both online and offline applications. But some of them only allow offline applications.

As for the Pell grant, it is possible to apply online. After completing the FAFSA application and getting the report before 1st October, one can apply for the grant. If one fulfills all the criteria and is good enough, they will surely get the grant. However, based on the financial condition, the amount will vary from student to student and year to year.

How much one will get from the Pell grant?

The Pell grant provided by the government of education of USA government is one the most popular among native and international students. But there is no exact amount of grant provided by them. Based on the individual students Expected Family Contribution, the amount will be different. So, one cannot surely know how much they will get.

However, there is come calculative way to analyze the applicant profile and get an estimate of the grant. For now, one can know that the maximum grant per student will be no more than $6,895. It will also keep changing according to the economic condition of the country.

What to do to maintain the Pell grant?

One of the best things about pell grant is that it continues until you graduate. However, to maintain and keep getting it every year, you will have to stay enrolled and continue your study with excellency. Also, you will have to submit the FAFSA report every year to the authority.

Once you graduate from the university, the grant will be stopped. Moreover, failing or dropping out from the institution will also make you ineligible for the grant. In any of the situations, you will no longer get financial help from the government under this program.

Do we have to pay back the Pell grants?

To make it clear PellGrant is a government financial aid program. It can be considered a scholarship program to make things easier. Specifically, it is not a loan program or a private aid program, it is help from the government to the excellent student suffering financial instability. There is no requirement from the authority of paying back the money. So, you will not have to pay it back in any condition or at any time in your life.

What criteria does the pell authority check for the grant?

While processing the application of the student for the pell grant, the authority mainly focuses on some criteria. While the application, they ask for those specific documents or proof. So, one can easily guess on what basis they will decide the amount of aid for individual students. Moreover, those criteria are,

  1. The price of attendance.
  2. The family’s financial situation.
  3. Family size.
  4. Whether the student is attending full-time or part-time.

What is the percentage of Pell grant according to academic credit?

If you do not already know, the academic credit will have an impact on the amount one will get from the pell grant. The more credit hour the course will have the more percentage one will get. Let’s see the table below to check.

Actual EnrollmentPell Grant Eligibility
12+ Credit Hours (full-time)100% of Pell Award
9-11 Credit Hours (3/4 time)75% of Pell Award
6-8 Credit Hours (1/2 time)50% of Pell Award
Less than 6 Credit Hours25% of Pell Award

How do they calculate the Pell grant percentile based on family income?

One of the most important criteria for calculating the grant is the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). One can get an idea from the table below to know how much they will get based on their FAFSA report.

PercentileExpected Family Contribution (EFC)
10th Percentile  Income = $19,900 Assets = $6,100
25th Percentile  Income = $36,600 Assets = $22,800
50th Percentile  Income = $70,100 Assets = 98,500
75th Percentile  Income = $119,300 Assets = $259,300
90th Percentile  Income = $210,300 Assets = $856,900

The more the income the more the percentile and the less the income the less the percentile. One may get confused here about how can one get more money when they have more income. Well, the 10th percentile means the student will get the maximum of the grant because he or she has the poorest condition.

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