What’s a Pell Grant? How to check if you received one

President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan awards up to $20,000 to people who have received Pell Grants. Here’s how to check if you have one.

August 24th, President That’s what Joe Biden announced his administration would forgive some federal student debt. The Department of Education will waive up to $10,000 for many students and up to $20,000 for students who received Pell Scholarships while they were in school.

Pell Grants are need-based federal scholarships awarded to college students. Unlike loans, they don’t have to be repaid, but many Pell Grant recipients also used student loans to fund the school.

The additional forgiveness for Pell Grant recipients was unexpected for many, and the most common searches after Biden’s announcement were about Pell Grants and how to check if someone received one.


Is there a way for people to check if they’ve received a Pell Grant?



This is true.

Yes, there is a way for people to verify that they have received a Pell Grant.

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Student loans can see their entire history of federal student aid at the Federal Student Aid website operated by the US Department of Education. That includes her Pell Grant story.

You can find this information on your grant summary page once you have logged in to studentaid.gov with your FSA ID.

Jessica Thompson, the vice president of the Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS), says here you can confirm if you’ve ever received a Pell scholarship.

“We encouraged people to do it [log into studentaid.gov] ASAP as you may encounter issues that you can’t figure out how to sign in that you need to fix and make some calls or emails to get help,” Thompson said . “Which may increase the time it takes to gain this access to this account.”

Thompson added that you shouldn’t have to prove you’ve ever received a Pell scholarship to the Department of Education.

“They should be able to identify and certainly have the data to know who ever received a Pell Grant,” Thompson said.

MORE FROM VERIFY: Yes, some federal student loan borrowers are required to apply for debt forgiveness

Federal Pell Grants are typically given only to students with exceptional financial needs, the Department of Education says. A Pell Grant does not have to be repaid like a student loan.

The maximum annual Pell Grant award you can receive for the 2022-2023 school year is $6,895, but not everyone receives the maximum award. The amount you get depends on how much your family is expected to pay to attend your school, the cost of attending your school, your status as a full-time or part-time student, and whether you attend the school for the full academic year or less.

According to the Education Data Initiative, the average Pell Grant award in 2019 was $4,491 per year. That’s slightly more than 10 years ago when the average award was $3,975.

MORE FROM VERIFY: Fast facts on student loan forgiveness

Who Receives Pell Grants?

The White House says 94% of Pell Grant recipients in the 2019-2020 school year were from families with annual incomes of $60,000 or less. The White House said 66% of Pell Grant recipients came from families with incomes of $30,000 or less.

According to the Education Data Initiative, 51% of all Pell Grant funds go to individuals from families earning less than $20,000 a year.

The White House and the Education Data Initiative state that nationwide, 34% of undergraduate students receive Pell Grants and more than 60% of student borrowers received Pell Grants while in high school.

About 27 million borrowers are eligible for up to $20,000 in relief, the White House estimates. The White House expects to forgive a total of 43 million borrowers.

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Alley Einstein

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