The Pell Grant, which comes from the U.S. Department of Education, was designed to help low-income students pay for their college education. This guide will help you understand the Pell Grant and what it means if you are eligible to receive it.
It’s considered one of the largest federal student grants and can be used at more than 3,000 schools in all states to attend undergraduate and graduate programs, with some exceptions in rare circumstances.
What is a Pell Grant?
A Pell grant is a form of federal financial aid offered by the U.S. Department of Education to help undergraduate students with low incomes pay for higher education.
There are two types of Pell grants, which are dependent on the student’s level of financial need. If a student needs some assistance but does not have a full financial need, he or she can apply for an equivalent grant, called the supplemental grant.
To qualify for this type of grant, a student must be enrolled in college at least part-time and demonstrate either exceptional financial need or unusual circumstances.
In contrast, if you do not qualify for any other type of Pell grant (i.e., your estimated family contribution exceeds the required), you may still be eligible for the basic grant.
The amount of money awarded depends on the student’s level of financial need. As such, it is important to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as soon as possible after January 1 each year so that your information will be available when award notifications are sent out in March.
Who qualifies for a Pell Grant?
As said earlier, The Pell Grant is awarded by the U.S. Department of Education and gives students up to $5,920 a year, per semester.
The amount is based on financial need, cost of attendance at your school, enrollment status (full-time or part-time), time in college (less than or equal to 24 hours), and whether you have a dependent child.
You must be enrolled in an eligible program that leads to a degree or certificate that’s approved for federal student aid purposes.
If you don’t qualify for the grant, there are other forms of financial aid you can apply for. For example, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant offers up to $4,000 a year for undergraduate students with exceptional financial needs.
Since more than 70% of colleges participate in some form of tuition guarantee program, many private scholarships exist as well.
How much you can get from a Pell Grant?
A Pell grant is federal grant money awarded to undergraduate students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree. Students can use their grants for various purposes, including paying tuition, books, or room and board.
A typical grant will range from $900-$3,100 for the academic year. The amount of your grant depends on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and how much you’ve already received in other types of financial aid.
When can you get a Pell Grant?
Pell Grants are typically available twelve months a year, with awards coming in two-month installments. You may qualify for one or more if you (1) demonstrate economic need, (2) attend an eligible institution of higher education, and (3) meet certain course requirements.
The amount of your award depends on the length of the program you’re enrolled in and whether it’s full-time or part-time.
Your eligibility is also determined by your Expected Family Contribution as calculated on the FAFSA form.
If you have no contribution at all, then you could be eligible for up to $5,500 per year. A student with a high EFC might only be awarded $4,000 per year.
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Where to find information about eligibility
Pell Grants provide college students with access to postsecondary education. The grant provides for educational costs, such as tuition, books, fees, and supplies.
An eligible applicant must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen living in the United States who has not yet earned a bachelor’s degree or higher level of education, among other eligibility requirements.
How To Apply For Pell Grant?
If you are eligible for the Pell grant, which requires that you demonstrate financial need, then applying is fairly straightforward.
To apply for a Pell grant, fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on their website. Once your application is processed, you will be contacted with instructions on how to access your account so that you can apply.
After applying, you will also be contacted if there was an issue with processing your FAFSA and what steps to take next. If you have questions about any of this, contact the Department of Education’s customer service line or contact them online at www.fafsa.ed.gov
How Long Does It Take To Be Awarded A Pell Grant?
It takes about 7 to 10 days to find out if you are eligible for a grant. Once it is awarded, the grant is applied to your school’s account.
You will be sent information from your financial aid office about how much you have left to pay that year.
You cannot get a refund or reuse the grant money in future years so be sure you understand your school’s tuition before applying for the pell grant.
If you withdraw from classes, there is a good chance that you won’t be able to use the pell grant at all because they take into consideration your grades.
If you receive a large award, it might make sense to spread it over two semesters, but this depends on what your school offers.
A federally funded grant, the Pell Grant can be used at most colleges and universities. To apply for the grant, you must first file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Based on the information in your FAFSA, as well as other information such as what college you attend or hope to attend, you will receive an Expected Family Contribution. If your EFC is too high relative to your income for financial aid eligibility, then you may qualify for a Pell Grant.