New Report Offers Statistics on the Gender of Pell Grant Recipients

Federal Pell grants are financial awards provided to undergraduate students who demonstrate significant financial need. Congress authorized the Pell Grant Program in 1972 with the passage of the Basic Educational Opportunity Grant Program. Federal Pell grants have been awarded annually since the 1973–74 school year.

A new report from the U.S. Department of Education shows data on Pell grant recipients by gender and the historical trends of those students who have received Pell grants.

In the 2015-16 academic year, 39.1 percent of all undergraduate students received a Pell grant. The average award was $3,700. The average Pell grant recipient received a grant that paid 18.5 percent of the student’s total cost of higher education.

More than 43 percent of women undergraduate students received a federal Pell grant in the 2015-16 academic year. For male students, 34 percent of all undergraduates received a federal Pell grant. Women were 62.2 percent of all Pell grant recipients. About 58 percent of all women Pell grant recipients also took out student loans with an average debt of $7,300.

At private four-year institutions, 39.5 percent of the women students received a Pell grant in the 2015-16 academic year. The average award of $3,900 covered only 12.3 percent of the average total cost of higher education for these Pell grant recipients.

Four years earlier in the 2011-12 academic year, more than 44.8 percent of all women undergraduate students received a federal Pell grant compared to 36.5 percent of men. That year, women were 60.5 percent of all students who received Pell grants.

The full report, Trends in Pell Grant Receipt and the Characteristics of Pell Grant Recipients: Selected Years, 2003–04 to 2015–16, may be downloaded by clicking here.

Filed Under: Gender GapResearch/Study

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