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Pell Grant Historical Figures

This page provides historical figures relating to the Pell Grant. Inflation figures are based on the June Consumer Price Index of each year (June 1973 constant dollars).

Although the Pell Grant began in 1973-74, all undergraduate students first became eligible in 1976-77.

In 2003-04, 97.7% of Pell Grant recipients had a family AGI of less than $50,000.

  Maximum Pell Grant       Maximum
Pell Grant
Adjusted for Inflation
Award Year Appropriated Authorized Average
Pell Grant
Number of Recipients Total Funding CPI-U Tuition Inflation
1973-74 $452 $1,400 $270 176,000 $47,520,000 $452 $452
1974-75 $1,050 $1,400 $628 567,000 $356,076,000 $947 $991
1975-76 $1,400 $1,400 $761 1,217,000 $926,137,000 $1,154 $1,233
1976-77 $1,400 $1,400 $759 1,944,000 $1,475,496,000 $1,089 $1,128
1977-78 $1,400 $1,800 $758 2,011,000 $1,524,338,000 $1,019 $1,044
1978-79 $1,600 $1,800 $814 1,893,000 $1,540,902,000 $1,085 $1,111
1979-80 $1,800 $1,800 $929 2,537,875 $2,357,685,875 $1,100 $1,146
1980-81 $1,750 $1,800 $882 2,707,932 $2,388,396,024 $935 $995
1981-82 $1,670 $1,900 $849 2,709,076 $2,300,005,524 $815 $833
1982-83 $1,800 $2,100 $959 2,522,746 $2,419,313,414 $820 $785
1983-84 $1,800 $2,300 $1,014 2,758,906 $2,797,530,684 $800 $715
1984-85 $1,900 $2,500 $1,111 2,747,100 $3,052,028,100 $810 $699
1985-86 $2,100 $2,600 $1,279 2,813,489 $3,598,452,431 $863 $714
1986-87 $2,100 $2,600 $1,301 2,659,507 $3,460,018,607 $848 $661
1987-88 $2,100 $2,300 $1,303 2,881,547 $3,754,655,741 $818 $616
1988-89 $2,200 $2,500 $1,399 3,198,286 $4,474,402,114 $824 $598
1989-90 $2,300 $2,700 $1,438 3,322,151 $4,777,253,138 $819 $576
1990-91 $2,300 $2,900 $1,449 3,404,810 $4,933,569,690 $783 $534
1991-92 $2,400 $3,100 $1,530 3,786,230 $5,792,931,900 $780 $518
1992-93 $2,400 $3,100 $1,543 4,002,045 $6,175,155,435 $757 $489
1993-94 $2,300 $3,700 $1,506 3,755,675 $5,656,046,550 $704 $442
1994-95 $2,300 $3,900 $1,502 3,674,967 $5,519,800,434 $687 $420
1995-96 $2,340 $4,100 $1,515 3,611,821 $5,471,908,815 $678 $405
1996-97 $2,470 $4,300 $1,577 3,665,654 $5,780,736,358 $697 $407
1997-98 $2,700 $4,500 $1,696 3,732,807 $6,330,840,672 $744 $423
1998-99 $3,000 $4,500 $1,876 3,855,180 $7,232,317,680 $813 $447
1999-00 $3,125 $4,500 $1,933 3,808,269 $7,361,383,977 $831 $445
2000-01 $3,300 $4,800 $2,070 3,880,448 $8,032,527,360 $846 $447
2001-02 $3,750 $5,100 $2,376 4,341,000 $10,314,000,000 $931 $481
2002-03 $4,000 $5,400 $2,338 4,840,000 $11,314,000,000 $983 $485
2003-04 $4,050 $5,800 $2,467 5,141,000 $12,680,295,000 $974 $464
2004-05 $4,050 none specified $2,441 5,344,000 $13,042,280,000 $944 $437
2005-06 $4,050 none specified $2,486 5,468,000 $13,591,660,000 $920 $413
2006-07 $4,050 none specified $2,494 5,165,000 $12,880,787,000    
2007-08 $4,310 none specified $2,620 5,339,000 $13,660,711,000    
2008-09 $4,731 none specified $2,970 6,121,000 $16,256,000,000    
2009-10 $5,350 none specified $3,646 7,738,000 $25,329,000,000    
2010-11 $5,550 none specified $4,115 8,873,000 $32,905,000,000    
2011-12 $5,550 none specified          
2012-13 $5,550 none specified          
2013-14 $5,635 none specified          

The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 established new mandatory Pell Grant funding in addition to the existing discretionary funding. Pell Grant eligibility remained pegged to the maximum Pell Grant under the discretionary funding. The mandatory Pell Grant funding was set sufficient to yield the following net increases in the amount of the Pell Grant on top of the discretionary funding:

         $490   2008-09
         $490   2009-10
         $690   2010-11
         $690   2011-12
       $1,090   2012-13

The Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 set the authorized maximum Pell Grant (discretionary funding) as follows:

       $6,000   2009-10
       $6,400   2010-11
       $6,800   2011-12
       $7,200   2012-13
       $7,600   2013-14
       $8,000   2014-15
(Actual appropriations for the Pell Grant have historically provided funding for a much lower maximum grant, typically $1,400 to $1,800 less since 1992-93, so the authorized maximums are largely symbolic.) In addition the law changed the minimum Pell Grant from $400 to 10% of the maximum Pell Grant as appropriated. The new eligibility cutoff is equal to 95% of the maximum Pell Grant (discretionary funding).

The following chart shows the inflation-adjusted maximum Pell Grant, with the blue line representing the CPI-U adjustments and the purple line the tuition inflation adjustments.

 

 
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