Federal Pell Grant
Federal Pell Grants are awarded based upon the analysis of the FAFSA and enrollment status (full time or part time). Pell Grants are awarded only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's degree or professional degree. Pell Grants often provide a foundation of financial aid to which other aid is added for the neediest students.
The United States Department of Education uses a standardized formula, established by Congress and called the Federal Needs Analysis Methodology, to evaluate the information you report on the FAFSA. The formula produces an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) number. The EFC number can range from zero to 99,999 or higher. Your Student Aid Report (SAR) contains this number and will tell you if you are eligible for a Pell Grant. You can view an online document called the EFC Formula Book, which describes how a student's EFC is calculated, by visiting the EFC Formula Guide website.
The maximum Pell Grant for 2012-2013 is $5550. The maximum Pell Grant award can change each year based upon Congressional funding levels. However, if you are eligible for a Pell Grant based upon your EFC number, you are guaranteed to receive it.
For the 2012-2013 school year, full-time students with EFCs from zero to 4995 qualify for some Pell Grant. Those with EFCs of 4996 or greater are not eligible for a Pell Grant but could be eligible for other types of aid.