Maximum and Average Pell Grants over Time

The level of the maximum Pell Grant, which is legislated by Congress, has fluctuated over time. For example, the maximum grant fell by 10% ($505 in 2014 dollars) between 2003-04 and 2006-07. It increased by 25% ($1,177 in 2014 dollars) between 2006-07 and 2009-10. 

Figure 24: Maximum and Average Pell Grants in 2014 Dollars, 1976-77 to 2014-15

Figure 24 represents Maximum and Average Pell Grants in 2014 Dollars, 1976-77 to 2014-15. For a corresponding Section 508-compliant data table, see http://trends.collegeboard.org/student-aid.

Notes & Sources 

SOURCES: U.S. Department of Education, Federal Pell Grant Program End-of-Year Report, 1976-77 through 2013-14; Federal Student Aid Data Center, Title IV Program Volume Reports and Aid Recipients Summary; calculations by the authors.

  • Between 2010-11 and 2014-15, the maximum Pell Grant fell from a peak of $6,065 (in 2014 dollars) to $5,730, a 6% decline over four years.
  • The maximum Pell Grant is the most frequently cited measure of the subsidies provided by the program. However, most students receive smaller grants because they are enrolled part time or because their incomes and assets (or those of their parents or spouses) reduce their aid eligibility. In 2014-15, when the maximum Pell Grant was $5,730, the average grant was $3,673.