Federal Pell Grant Program: Elements, Issues and Trends


Iola Thibault (Editor)

Series: Education in a Competitive and Globalizing World
BISAC: EDU000000

The federal Pell Grant program is the single largest source of federal grant aid supporting postsecondary education students. The program provided over $33.5 billion to approximately 9.7 million undergraduate students in FY2011. For FY2012, the total maximum Pell Grant was funded at $5,550. The program is funded primarily through annual discretionary appropriations, although in recent years mandatory appropriations have played a smaller yet increasing role in the program. The statutory authority for the Pell Grant program was most recently reauthorized by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008.

Pell Grants are need-based aid that is intended to be the foundation for all federal student aid awarded to undergraduates. There is no absolute income threshold that determines who is eligible or ineligible for Pell Grants. Nevertheless, Pell Grant recipients are primarily low-income. In FY2010, an estimated 74% of all Pell Grant recipients had a total family income at or below $30,000. This book reviews how the program works and provides an analysis of recent program costs and funding, recipients (numbers and characteristics), and the role the program plays in the distribution of federal student aid. In addition, this book highlights some of the current legislative issues pertaining to the program. (Imprint: Novinka )

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Federal Pell Grant Program of the Higher Education Act: How the Program Works, Recent Legislative Changes, and Current Issues
(Shannon M. Mahan, CRS)

The Federal Pell Grant Program: Recent Growth and Policy Options
(Nabeel Alsalam)


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