The Pell Institute does not administer or collect data on Pell grants; however, since we often receive queries we have provided the information below as a resource.
For more than 30 years, the Federal Pell Grant program has served as the federal floor of support for needy students. Created in 1972 and originally named the Basic Educational Opportunity Grant, the program was renamed in 1980 for Senator Claiborne Pell (D-RI), to honor his efforts in creating the program.
Pell Grants are awarded to low-income undergraduate and certain postbaccalaureate students who are citizens or eligible non-citizens. Students may use their grants at any one of approximately 6,000 participating postsecondary institutions. The grants do not have to be repaid. Grant amounts are dependent on the student's expected family contribution (EFC), the cost of attending the institution, whether the student attends full-time or part-time, and whether the student attends for a full academic year or less. The maximum award amount is set by the U.S. Congress, and the program is administered by the U.S. Department of Education.
This page contains links to additional information about the Federal Pell Grant Program, including programmatic information for students, parents, and others who may be interested. In addition, we have also provided links to research and analysis conducted on the Pell Grant Program and Pell Grant recipients.
U.S. Department of Education
Federal Pell Grant Program
Federal Student Aid Handbook–Pell Grant Program (.pdf)
Technical guide to determining eligibility for, calculating award amounts, and disbursing awards.
2007-2008 Federal Pell Grant Program End-of-Year Report (.pdf)
Includes a brief summary of the history and purpose of the program as well as the criteria for administering awards. Summarizes key information about the Pell Grant program and its recipients (background characteristics, type of institution attended, enrollment pattern, etc) for the 2007-2008 school year.
2006-2007 Federal Pell Grant Program End-of-Year Report (.pdf)
Includes a brief summary of the history and purpose of the program as well as the criteria for administering awards. Summarizes key information about the Pell Grant program and its recipients (background characteristics, type of institution attended, enrollment pattern, etc) for the 2006-2007 school year.
Federal Student Aid Portal (.pdf)
Comprehensive web resource for prospective/current college students.
The Student Guide 2005-2006 (.pdf)
Provides information on federal student aid programs for prospective/current college students. Includes a brief description of the Pell Grant program.
National Center for Education Statistics Persistence and Attainment of Beginning Students with Pell Grants (2002) (.pdf)
This report provides a description of Pell Grant recipients who were first-time beginning postsecondary students in 1995–96. Using data from the 1996 Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study, “First Follow-up” (BPS:96/98), the report examines the academic and enrollment characteristics of beginning students who received a Pell Grant and their rates of persistence 3 years after first starting postsecondary education. These students are compared with beginning students who did not receive a Pell Grant.
The Pell Institute
Demography Is Not Destiny — Increasing the Graduation Rates of Low-Income College Students at Large Public Universities (.pdf)
What accounts for the differences in retention and graduation rates among large public colleges and universities that serve high numbers of low-income students? To answer this question, the Pell Institute conducted a study to examine the institutional characteristics, practices, and policies that might account for such differences. This study, funded by the Lumina Foundation for Education, continues previous research conducted by the Pell Institute that analyzed retention policies and practices at smaller public and private four-year institutions with high percentages of low-income students.
In this report, we describe differences in institutional policies and practices, as well as commonalities among the higher-performing institutions. We discuss differences between the findings from the previous study (Raising the Graduation Rates of Low-Income College Students) and this one. Finally, we consider if practices aimed at improving overall graduation rates also work for low-income students, and offer recommendations for institutions. It is our hope that the cumulative results of our two studies will be instructive for policymakers and practitioners who seek to improve the chances for success for low-income students in higher education.
Raising the Graduation Rates of Low-Income College Students (.pdf)
As a group, colleges that serve large percentages of low-income students have lower graduation rates than other colleges. However, among the colleges that serve low-income students there is also considerable variation in graduation rates, differences that suggest a strategy for studying and improving college outcomes.
This report presents the findings of a study designed by the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education to identify the institutional characteristics, practices, and policies that might account for differences in retention and graduation rates among colleges and universities that serve high concentrations of low-income students. The Lumina Foundation for Education supported the study in an effort to learn and share effective practices for fostering student success.
American Council on Education
2007 Status Report on the Pell Grant Program from ACE (.pdf)
2003 Status Report on the Pell Grant Program from ACE (.pdf)
Postsecondary Education Opportunity
This website provides research that focuses on informing those who formulate, fund, and administer public policy and programs about conditions and influences that affect postsecondary education opportunities for all Americans.
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The College Board
What Exactly is a Pell Grant?
Memory, Reason, Imagination: A Quarter Century of Pell Grants. Gladieux, L.E., Astor, B., and Swail, W.S. (Eds.) (1998). New York: The College Board.
2004 Pell Grant Status Report (2 page brief) (.pdf)
Federal Pell Grant Program of the Higher Education Act: Background and Reauthorization (2007) (.pdf)
Getting Smarter, Becoming Fairer: A Progressive Education Agenda for a Stronger Nation (2005)
Pell Grant Recipients in Selective Colleges and Universities (.pdf)
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