Federal Pell Grants are awarded to eligible undergraduate students who are pursuing their first bachelor’s degree. The actual award amount is based on a student’s financial need, cost of college attendance, and a student’s status as a full- or part-time student. The grant amount changes from year to year; the federal maximum award for the 2017-18 award year is $5,920. A student can receive the Federal Pell Grant for no more than 12 semesters. Unlike a loan, a grant does not have to be paid back (with the exception of certain circumstances).