Maximum and Average Pell Grant over Time

Although the 2012-13 maximum Pell Grant of $5,550 was only 1% higher in inflation-adjusted dollars than the 1976-77 maximum grant, the average Pell Grant of $3,650 was 20% higher than the $3,045 average (in 2012 dollars) 36 years earlier.

Figure 13B: Maximum and Average Pell Grant in 2012 Dollars, 1976-77 to 2012-13
Notes & Sources 

SOURCES: The Federal Pell Grant Program End-of-Year Report, 2011-12; Federal Student Aid Data Center (studentaid.ed.gov/about/data-center/student/title-iv); unpublished data from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education.

  • The $3,650 average Pell Grant in 2012-13 was 25% higher in inflation-adjusted dollars than the $2,912 average grant in 2007-08.
  • Total Pell Grant expenditures peaked at $37.5 billion in 2010-11 (in 2012 dollars) and declined to $32.3 billion by 2012-13. Both the average grant and the number of recipients were lower in 2012-13 than in 2010-11. The maximum grant was $5,550 for the entire three-year period, but declined by $282 in inflation-adjusted (2012) dollars.