Financial aid has been a saving grace for many people who had the desire to attend college but was not financially able to do so. Thankfully, there are several types of financial aid provided by the government to assist students with monetary issues. Actually, the United States Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid provides over 150 billion dollars in grants, loans, scholarships, and works study funds yearly.

One valuable financial aid that can help to fund your higher education is the Pell Grant. If you’re thinking about applying to college and are in need of funding, read on as we share some essential info about this program and how you can become eligible.

What is the Pell Grant?

Pell Grants have been around since 1965. Created by the higher education Act and named after U.S. Senator, Claiborne Pell this program has funded the education of countless students throughout the years. It is a subsidy provided by the U.S Federal Government and is administered by the U. S Department of Education.

These grants are available through participating schools across the United States. They are specifically for persons who want to pursue an undergraduate and display exceptional financial need. Pell Grants and are often in high demand because unlike loans they do not require repayment.  

How can you apply?

To apply for a Pell Grant you must fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It is the only way you’ll be able to access any federal funding.  Remember to submit your application early and turn in all the requested documents on time.

How much money will you receive with the Pell Grant?

The maximum you can receive for the school year is $6,095.  However, the amount awarded to each student differs, and is based on several deciding factors. The first thing taken into account is the cost of attendance for your institution, this means tuition cost, books, dorm fees, etc. Expected Family Contribution is also factored into your eligibility for this grant and the specific amount you’ll be awarded.  

This is calculated from your family’s income, assets (taxed and untaxed) and any government benefits they receive. The size of your family and the number of members currently attending college is also taken into consideration.  Your financial state, status as a full or part- time student and your length of study is taken in account as well.

Are you eligible for the Pell Grant?

Your FAFSA application will help to determine whether you meet Pell Grant eligibility.

School Participation – Before anything else, call your institution to find out if they are on the list of schools participating in the program.  

Student Status– To participate in this grant program you must be an undergraduate student. The only exception is that if you are admitted into the Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Certification Program you can also apply for the Pell Grant. If you are not yet an undergrad student then you must at least have the qualifications to obtain a college degree such as a GED or high school diploma.

Citizenship U.S citizens must have a valid social security number. There is an exception for persons from the Republic of Palau, Federal States of Micronesia and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Iraq and Afghanistan- You stand to qualify for additional Pell Grant funds if your parent or guardian was a member of United States armed forces and died while on military service in Afghanistan or Iraq. NB. You must have been enrolled in college at the time of your parent or guardian’s death or were at least 24 years old at the time of their death.

Additionally, you’ll need to sign on your FAFSA form stating that:

1. If awarded these funds it will be used ONLY for educational purposes.

2. You do not currently owe a refund on a federal grant and are not in default on any student loans.

If you are accepted in the Pell Grant program the money will be sent directly to your institution. The amount will be enough to cover a full academic year, and the cost of room and board (if you live on campus). You must re-apply through FAFSA each year to remain eligible for the grant, and you must maintain enrolment in an undergraduate course of study.

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