Did You Receive a Pell Grant? Here’s How to Check.

Former students who received a Pell Grant while in college may soon see up to $20,000 in federal direct loans erased.
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Matthew Arrojas is a news reporter at BestColleges covering higher education issues and policy. He previously worked as the hospitality and tourism news reporter at the South Florida Business Journal. He also covered higher education policy issues as...
Updated on June 22, 2023
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  • President Biden unveiled his plan to cancel a large portion of federal student loan debt in August 2022.
  • People who received Pell Grants while in college are eligible for more relief.
  • Borrowers who received Pell Grants could receive up to $10,000 in additional debt cancellation.

President Joe Biden's plan for widespread student loan forgiveness promises extra relief for those that received Pell Grants in school.

Biden plans to erase up to $10,000 in federal student loan debt for borrowers making less than $125,000 per year, or $250,000 for couples who file their taxes jointly. Those who received a Pell Grant while in college may have up to $20,000 in federal direct loans forgiven.

The president’s plan, however, is currently in legal limbo. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the legality of the program in June or July 2023.

Pell Grants are the most common grant aid provided to low- and middle-income students, with roughly six million students benefiting from them each year. The amount awarded is based on financial need, which is determined after a student submits their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Here's how to determine if you received a Pell Grant to help pay for college.

Start on the Federal Student Aid Webpage

Borrowers won't have to go too far to see if they received a Pell Grant while enrolled.

Allie Arcese, director of communications at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), told BestColleges that borrowers should be able to access this data online.

First, any interested borrower must log into their StudentAid.gov account with their Federal Student Aid (FSA) identification. If they don’t already have an account, they'll need to make an FSA account and ID.

Once you are on the site, there's a section titled "My Aid," which shows borrowers’ outstanding loan balances along with a breakdown of any grants they received while in college, Arcese said. That breakdown of grants received is where borrowers will find records of any Pell Grants they received for college.

Check With Your Former School

That FSA website has experienced some technical trouble since Biden's announcement of widespread debt relief, Arcese warned.

The FSA office instituted a waiting room for website visitors to accommodate the increased site traffic but if borrowers are experiencing technical issues, she recommended they reach out to their former institution’s financial aid office.

A financial aid officer may be able to provide Pell Grant information from their records, she said. Likewise, contacting a financial aid officer is another way to confirm that a borrower did not receive a Pell Grant if nothing is listed for them at StudentAid.gov.