Sallie Mae Home  Undergraduates  Smart Option Student Loan  Career Training Smart Option Student Loan  Graduates  Smart Option Student Loan  Medical Residency and Relocation Loan  Dental Residency and Relocation Loan  Bar Study Loan  Parents  Sallie Mae Parent Loan  K-12  Managing Your Loans  Banking  Insurance  Credit Card  Upromise Rewards  Plan for College  Saving for College  Scholarships for College  College Grants  Financial Aid  Types of Student Loans  The College Planning Toolbox  How America Pays for College  How America Saves for College   Sallie Mae Sweepstakes and Scholarships  Contact Us  Feedback 
Manage & Pay Loans
To log into your student loan account, go to the home page and tap Login again. We’re sorry for this temporary technical issue.
Banking  Upromise Rewards  Finish a saved loan application  Cosign a student loan application  Check loan application status 

What is a Pell Grant?

Federal Pell Grants are the largest source of federally funded grants, so chances are good that if you are eligible, you’ll receive some federal aid.

They do not have to be paid back, and they are awarded based on your financial need (academic grades and extra-curricular activities are not a factor). The maximum award for the 2016-2017 academic year is $5,815.2

Who is eligible to apply for a federal Pell Grant?

The U.S. Department of Education determines your eligibility based on your answers on the . You must also meet general federal student aid eligibility requirements.3

Complete and submit the FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1 of the year before you plan to start school.

Eligible students for a Pell Grant

  • Students pursuing their first undergraduate degree
  • U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens
  • Students with a high school diploma, GED, or can demonstrate the ability to benefit from the program offered

Ineligible students for a Pell Grant

  • Owes a refund on a Title IV grant
  • In default on a Title IV loan
  • Male who has not registered with the Selective Service
  • Currently incarcerated (in jail)

Basic requirements for a Pell Grant

  • Has completed and submitted the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Is an undergraduate student who’s financially eligible and has not earned a bachelor’s degree

The FAFSA is necessary to be eligible for ALL forms of federal financial aid, including grants, work-study, and federal student loans.

Learn More  

Next steps

Consider other valuable resources of free money for college.

Learn about finding scholarships for college

Learn about additional federal financial aid to help pay for college

Was this page useful?
Tell us more

College Ahead Plan for College

The Smart Option Student Loan®

Flexible choices, competitive interest rates, and no origination fees.

Learn more

Win $1,000 to help pay for college

Register today to be entered into a FREE monthly drawing.1

Register now


1 No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. See official rules at

2 This information was gathered on May 31, 2016 from about/announcements/pell-2016-17

3 This information was gathered on June 16, 2016 from