A Federal Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. Pell Grants are awarded usually only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor’s or a professional degree. (In some cases, however, a student enrolled in a post-baccalaureate teacher certification program might receive a Pell Grant.) Pell Grants are considered a foundation of federal financial aid, to which aid from other federal and nonfederal sources might be added.

Starting July 1, 2009, the maximum Pell grant annual allowance will increase from $4,731 to $5,350 for the 2009-10 school year, the largest increase since the program began.