Is There a Pell Grant GPA Requirement?

Written by Michael Bennet

Students often ask me if there is a Pell Grant GPA requirement, and the real answer is that there is, although there is no “hard” Pell Grant GPA threshold that is consistent for every single student from across the country that is trying to become eligible.

Rather one of the bedrock requirements for the Pell Grant has to do with maintaining what is considered to be “satisfactory academic progress”, as this must occur if the student is to receive their aid for any particular award term.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

To maintain satisfactory academic progress at most schools the student must keep above a 2.0 grade point average, which is typically the equivalent of keeping somewhere around a “C” average. Students who fall below this GPA threshold will most often be put on some type of academic probation, and if they don’t raise their grades by the next semester, they may not be able to move forward in their degree program, or even worse, will be eliminated all together.

  • It is important to note that what constitutes satisfactory academic progress is determined by the postsecondary institution, and not the Department of Education.

Once the college establishes that the student is not making satisfactory academic progress, they may then revoke the student’s Pell Grant aid for the following semester, and will perhaps not allow the student to receive additional aid for the following year.

This most often coincides with the student repeating the classes they failed, and perhaps even the taking of a partial schedule while they try to improve their grades. For these semesters the college may not allow the student to receive Pell Grant funding, but this is going to be up to the school, and may not be applicable to all students who aren’t able to make the grades.


The bottom line is that if you are planning on applying, receiving, or are currently receiving Pell Grant aid, then you are going to have to maintain what your college considers to be satisfactory academic progress, which typically consists of some sort of minimum GPA threshold requirement.

Once again it is your particular postsecondary institution that will make the final determination with regard to your ability to receive aid once you have fallen behind academically, and not the Department of Education. Because of this you should not hesitate to ask your own school’s financial aid department about what their Pell Grant GPA requirements are, and how they handle students who cannot make satisfactory academic progress.