The Three Main Categories of Eligibility Criteria

Written by Michael Bennet

Getting a Pell Grant for college is something that most undergraduate students should at least consider if they may have difficulty coming up with the money that is needed to pay for school.

The Pell Grant is a federal education grant that is given to roughly 11 to 12 percent of all undergraduate students from across the country, and it can provide a significant amount of capital to put towards what are considered education related expenses.

To get a Pell Grant students must satisfy various eligibility criteria that fall into one of three categories:

  • Category One: General Federal Student Aid Criteria
  • Category Two: Financial Need Criteria
  • Category Three: Other Pell Grant Specific Criteria

The first category includes the list of general federal student aid eligibility criteria that all students who wish to become eligible for not just the Pell Grant, but for other types of federal aid as well, must satisfy. I have provided a listing of each of these items here.

The second category involves the financial need standards that must be met before eligibility can be established. The Pell Grant is heavily based on financial need, and to become eligible your EFC must be below 5,081. Here you can read more about financial need and the expected family contribution.

The last category plays reference to the two other Pell Grant specific eligibility requirements that don’t have anything to do with financial need. They are as follows:

  • The student must not have graduated with their bachelor’s degree, although some professional programs may still qualify, such as pharmacy and dentistry.
  • The student cannot be incarcerated in a state, or federal prison.
  • Once you have successfully navigated through these three categories of eligibility requirements you should be able to get a Pell Grant for college with relative ease. Just remember that the actual amount you receive will be calculated independently of your eligibility, despite the fact that it will still be heavily based on your level of financial need, and EFC.