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The percentage of students who receive federal Pell Grants is growing while incomes have fallen, says this report from the National Center for Education Statistics. In 1999, 19 percent of dependent students—students who rely on their parents' income—received Pell grants, the study says. By 2011, the percentage increased to 35 percent. Among independent students, the percentage of recipients rose from 25 percent in 1999 to 48 percent in 2011.