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Is There A GPA Requirement For Pell Grant?

Written by: Jody Adams
Last updated: January 31, 2024

Students interested in applying for the Pell Grant may be wondering about the Pell Grant GPA requirements. After all, academic standing is a common requirement for any financial aid. This blog discusses in detail the Pell Grant GPA requirements.

Does your GPA affect your Pell Grant?

Your GPA does not directly affect your eligibility for the Pell Grant. The Pell Grant is a need-based grant, meaning that eligibility is determined based on financial need, determined by a student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

However, while your GPA does not directly affect your eligibility for the Pell Grant, it can impact your overall financial aid package. Some scholarships and grants may require a certain GPA to qualify, and maintaining a certain GPA may be a requirement to continue receiving certain types of financial aid.

What GPA do you have to maintain to keep financial aid?

A student's GPA needs to maintain to keep their financial aid depending on their specific financial aid program requirements. There is no minimum GPA requirement to maintain eligibility for federal student aid programs, like the Pell Grant or Federal Work-Study program. However, you must maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP), which includes maintaining a certain GPA and completing a minimum number of credits each year.

The SAP requirements vary by institution but typically require students to maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher and complete at least 67% of the credits attempted each academic year. If you don't meet the SAP requirements, you may lose eligibility for financial aid, including grants, loans, and work-study programs.

1.9 GPA and Getting Financial Aid

A 1.9 GPA is considered a low academic performance and may impact your eligibility for financial aid. However, financial aid options such as federal student loans and work-study programs remain available. It would benefit you if you also looked for a school with a lower GPA threshold for federal student aid eligibility.

GPA falls below 2.0 financial aid

When your GPA falls below 2.0, your eligibility for financial aid is impacted since most of these programs require SAP, usually a 2.0 GPA and above. It's important to contact your school's academic and financial aid advisors if you're academically struggling, so you can retain financial aid.

Do you have to pay back Pell Grant if you fail?

It depends on the circumstances surrounding your failure to complete your coursework. Generally, students who receive a Pell Grant are only required to repay it if they complete their coursework or withdraw from school.

However, if you get the Pell Grant and decide to leave school, you may be required to repay a portion of the grant based on the percentage of the completed semester.

Additionally, students who need to maintain SAP as determined by their school may lose their eligibility for federal student aid, including Pell Grants. If a student loses their eligibility due to poor academic performance, they may be required to repay a portion of any grants or loans they received.

Factors that disqualify you from getting financial aid

Several factors can disqualify a student from receiving a Pell Grant, including:

  1. Required to meet the eligibility criteria: To be granted the Pell Grant, a student must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen enrolled in an eligible degree or certificate program. Students must also demonstrate financial need by meeting the income and asset eligibility criteria.
  2. Having a high EFC: Pell Grants are given based on one's financial need, which is highly determined by the EFC calculated from the FAFSA. If a student's EFC is too high, they may not be fit for a Pell Grant.
  3. Not maintaining satisfactory academic progress: Students should strive to keep a certain GPA and complete a minimum number of credits each year to remain eligible for federal financial aid, which includes the Pell Grant.
  4. Reaching the lifetime limit on Pell Grants: The lifetime limit on Pell Grants is equivalent to 600% of the annual grant amount, or the equivalent of 12 full-time semesters.
  5. Defaulting on federal student loans: If a student has defaulted on a federal student loan, they may not be eligible for additional federal financial aid, including the Pell Grant.

It's important to note that eligibility for the Pell Grant can vary based on a student's circumstances, and meeting the eligibility criteria does not guarantee that a student will receive the maximum award amount.


Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to frequently asked questions.

Can I be denied FAFSA?

A student can be denied federal student aid with a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) if they meet the eligibility criteria or provide complete or accurate information on their application.

Additionally, if a student does not complete the FAFSA accurately and completely, it may be flagged for verification, which requires additional documentation to confirm the information provided. If a student fails to provide the requested documentation or the information provided does not match the information on file, their application may be denied.

What is the letter grade equivalent of a 2.0 GPA in college?

In college, a 2.0 GPA is equivalent to a letter grade of "C." A "C" grade represents a level of performance considered "satisfactory," meaning the student has met the minimum requirements for passing the course.

However, a 2.0 GPA is generally considered to be a lower level of academic performance and may limit a student's eligibility for certain academic programs or financial aid. College students must aim for a higher GPA to maintain satisfactory academic progress and maximize their academic and career success opportunities.

Can I get a student loan with a low GPA?

Getting approved for a student loan with a low GPA is possible. Federal student loans, including Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans, do not have minimum GPA requirements for eligibility. However, students must meet other eligibility criteria, such as enrolling in an eligible degree or certificate program, demonstrating financial need (for subsidized loans), and maintaining SAP as determined by their school.

Private student loans, which private lenders and banks offer, may have their eligibility criteria and may require a minimum GPA for eligibility. However, many private lenders focus on a student's creditworthiness and ability to repay the loan rather than their GPA or academic performance. Students with a low GPA may qualify for private student loans if they have a co-signer with a strong credit history and income.

While there's no specific Pell Grant GPA requirement, maintaining a satisfactory academic performance is crucial for receiving financial aid. Studying hard and getting good grades also shows that you deserve the financial aid you receive.

Learn about the different types of Pell Grant in our blog.

Jody Adams
Jody Adams is an accomplished editor-in-chief with a deep understanding of social care and government benefits issues. With a background in journalism and a master's degree in Public Policy, Jody has spent her career shaping the narrative around social policies and their impact on society. She has worked with renowned publications, effectively bridging the gap between complex policy analysis and public understanding. Jody's editorial expertise ensures that vital information on social care and government benefits reaches a broad audience, empowering individuals to make informed decisions.
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