The Pell Grant program is a type of post-secondary, educational federal grant program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.
It is named after U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell and originally known as the Basic Educational Opportunity Grant program. Grants, which do not require repayment, are awarded based on a “financial need” formula determined by the U.S. Congress using criteria submitted through the Free for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Because Pell Grants are targeted toward students from poor families, receipt of them is often used by researchers as a proxy for low-income student attendance and to indicate the economic diversity of the student body.