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By CCW research  /  
2013 February 4 - 12:00 am

Pell Grants, By the Numbers

Pell Grants, By the Numbers

  • The program is estimated to have provided over $36.5 billion to approximately 8.9 million undergraduate students in fiscal year 2010.

  • The maximum Pell Grant award for the 2011-12 award year (July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012) is $5,550, the minimum is $555.

  • Nearly 19.5 million students applied for Pell grants in 2009-10, up from 13.8 million in 2005-06.

  • The number of eligible Pell Grant applicants has increased from approximately 6.8 million in 2005-06 to nearly 11 million in 2009-10.

  • Nearly 50 percent of Pell Grant recipients are over the age of 23 and, among older students, 84 percent have an annual income under $30,000.

  • 52 percent of the student increase is concentrated in the lowest income categories of students.

  • In fiscal year 1976, the maximum Pell Grant was $1,400 and covered 72 percent of the cost of attendance at a typical four-year public college. In 2009-10, the maximum Pell Grant covered 36 percent of the cost of attendance at a typical four-year public college.

  • Reasons for the growth in the Pell Grant program costs:

    • Increase in the number of eligible students, which accounts for 40 percent of the program’s growth ($7.7 billion).
      This is largely attributable to the economic downturn.

    • An increase in the maximum Pell award of $619, provided in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the regular 2009 appropriation. This began in the 2009-10 academic year, adding 25 percent of the program growth ($4.8 billion).

    • The creation of the “two Pells” program in 2008, adding 22 percent in costs ($4.2 billion).

    • Changes in the need analysis formula, which increased program costs by 14 percent ($2.7 billion).

Source: American Association of State Colleges and Universities

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