A Pell Grant is a type of financial aid that is awarded to low-income, college students who demonstrate financial need. Unlike a loan, this money never needs to be repaid. There are several requirements that a student must meet in order to be eligible for the Pell Grant. Usually, the information submitted on the FAFSA form determines if the student qualifies. When a student is awarded money from the Pell Grant, the money is given directly to the school and then used to pay for tuition. A Pell Grant refund is issued when the amount of the Pell Grant exceeds the student’s tuition costs. The school will automatically refund the money to the student.

Call the school's Bursar and Financial Aid office. Most schools automatically mail the refund to the student or apply it to the student's account. Being aware of their policy will lessen the confusion about how the money is refunded.

Wait for the refund at the beginning of the quarter or semester. When a student’s tuition costs are lower than the amount awarded by the Pell Grant, the school will automatically pay the tuition and refund the remaining balance.

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Drop a class before the quarter or semester starts. If tuition has already been paid and a student decides to drop the class before it starts, most schools will automatically give a full refund. Please check with your specific school for their policy.

Drop a class after the quarter or semester starts. As long as a student drops the class before a certain deadline, they are eligible for a partial refund. The school will determine the amount to be reimbursed and then refund the student.


If it is taking longer than the stated waiting period to receive the refund, contact the school again.


A Pell Grant is awarded to students attending at least part-time. If a student drops too many classes, they may lose the Pell Grant. Each school has their own restrictions for dropping classes. If a student fails to drop the class before the deadline has passed, they may not be eligible for a refund.

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