Pell Grant Vs. Non-Pell Grant: What’s the Difference

Education can burden one’s finances, and many students may not secure enough to fund their education. This is where grants and scholarships come in help. A student can get many types of grants to continue with their education. 

If you are a student searching for grants for further studies, you might have come across two terms: Pell Grant and Non-Pell Grant. What are these grants, and what’s the difference between them? This article will guide you on these grants’ differences, and the best one for you.

pell grant vs non pell grant

What is a Pell Grant?

Pell Grants are given to students by U.S. Department of Education awards. These types of grants are given to only specific students who come from low-income families.

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In general, these grants are need-based, which means if you do not have enough funds to proceed with your studies, you can opt for such grants. Pell Grants are generally for an academic year but can be given for a shorter period, like a semester.

What is a Non Pell Grant?

Non-Pell Grants are not government-organized, and they are given to students based on their performance and attendance throughout their academic year. Generally, colleges and educational institutes outline some requirements students must meet to get these grants.

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What are the Requirements for Pell and Non-Pell Grants?

If you want to apply for the Pell Grant, you must be an undergraduate student. Also, you must meet the eligibility criteria laid out by FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). You must not be a defaulter or have a previous federal student loan for which the payment is pending. 

Coming to the requirement of Non-Pell Grants, the requirements for these grants completely depend on the college or the educational institute you are opting for. Some colleges have set marks criteria and attendance criteria to apply for the grants, whereas some measure overall academic performance for the grants. 

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How to Apply for Non-Pell Grants and Pell Grants?

To apply for Pell Grants, you must fill out the FAFSA form. The process is online, and throughout the process, you will be asked questions about your education as well as the finances of your family. You might also be asked to upload some documents to verify your details, so fill in all the details carefully. If you are eligible then a grant will be given to you. 

The process to apply for a Non-Pell Grant is somewhat different from that of a Pell Grant. To get Non-Pell Grants you will have to contact the higher authority of your college and ask them for the criteria. The steps to apply will be different for various colleges, so you will have to contact your college for that. 

Bottom Line

We hope this article helped you understand what’s the difference between Pell Grants and Non-Pell Grants. This article also discusses the difference between the eligibility criteria and the steps to apply for both of these grants. 


What is the Maximum Award Amount for Pell Grants?

For the year 2023-2024, the maximum annual Pell Grant awarded is $7,395. These are generally short grants that are given for one year period or less. 

What is the Maximum Award Amount for Non-Pell Grants?

The maximum award amount for Non-Pell Grants varies from college to college. In some colleges, this may be less than the Pell Grant, whereas, in some colleges, the award amount may be more than the Pell Grant. Not only this, but the duration can also be longer for the Non-Pell Grants and may cover the complete course duration. 

Am I Eligible for the Pell Grant if the Financial Condition of My Family is Above Average?

Pell Grants have a threshold for the annual income of a family. If your family’s annual income exceeds the threshold then you will not be eligible for Pell Grant. However, you can opt for Non-Pell grants as they are not need-based grants and are given to students with good academic performance irrespective of the financial conditions. 

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