New Federal Data on Pell Grant Participation and Median Income of Recipients

department_of_educationThe U.S. Department of Education recently released a new report on participation in the Pell Grant program. The need-based program provides up to $5,815 annually in federal funds for college students.

The new data shows that 35 percent of all dependent students in families nationwide received federal Pell Grants in the 2011-12 academic year. This is up from 19 percent in the 1999-2000 academic year. An earlier U.S. Department of Education report found that 61.9 percent of all African American undergraduate students received a Pell Grant. The average Pell Grant award for African Americans was $4,000.

The new data shows that the median family income of all Pell grant recipients in 200-12 was $26,100. That means that half of all families with a Pell Grant recipient had income below that level and half had incomes above that level. The median income level of Pell Grant recipients has declined in recent years. This means that a greater percentage of students from the lowest income families are receiving Pell Grants.

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  1. I find this information to be very interesting considering the news regarding Trump and his tax filings released over the weekend. Why? Because it shows how individuals are able to show that they have little to no income with the current tax codes in place. Having worked in the financial aid profession for over 20 plus years – every day tax payers will be amazed at the number of tax filers with incomes (income earned from work) over six figures can make their adjusted gross incomes (with the right tax preparer) low enough to become Pell Grant eligible.

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