Federal Pell Grant Program U.S. Department of Education

The Federal Pell Grant (Pell) Program provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain post-baccalaureate students to promote access to postsecondary education. Students may use their grants at any one of approximately 5,600 participating postsecondary institutions. Grant amounts are dependent on: the student's expected family contribution (EFC); the cost of attendance (as determined by the institution); the student's enrollment status (full-time or part-time); and whether the student attends for a full academic year or less. In FY 2016, the Department disbursed $28.2 billion in Pell Grants averaging approximately $3,668 to almost 7.2 million students. The maximum Pell Grant award was $5,775 for the 2015–16 award year and increased to $5,815 for the 2016–17 award year.

Agency Accountable Official: Tim Soltis, Delegated to Perform the Duties of the Chief Financial Officer

Program Accountable Official: Jay Hurt, Chief Financial Officer, Federal Student Aid

Total Payments
$28.2B
Improper Payments
$2.2B
Improper Payment Rate
7.85%

Supplemental Measures

Current Measure: 61.99%

Target: 61.99%

Description: The total number of Pell-eligible applicants who transferred tax data from the IRS to their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as a percent of the total number of Pell-eligible applicants who were determined to be eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) to transfer tax data. Use of the IRS DRT to directly transfer tax information from the IRS to the online FAFSA verifies applicants’ income and as applicable their parents’ income to determine how much aid they are eligible to receive. Errors in income reported on the FAFSA application is one of the root causes of improper payments in the Pell Program. Transferring tax data to the FAFSA with the IRS DRT helps ensure that the income reported is accurate, reducing the likelihood of an improper payment being made.

Update Frequency: Annually

Data Current as of: August 2016