- The Pell Grant is available to any college student who demonstrates financial need. Pell Grants funds are gifts that you do not have to repay. The amount of Pell Grant you receive depends on the level of your financial need, whether you attend classes part-time or full-time, and the estimated cost of your education for the year. You must submit a Federal Application for Student Aid and provide information from your most recent tax return. Figures from your tax return are used to calculate your Estimated Family Contribution, and the government uses your EFC to determine your financial need. Students who have a zero EFC receive the maximum Pell Grant award. As of 2011, the maximum Pell Grant is $5,550 per full year of attendance.