What is the Federal Pell Grant?
Many students are left to decide on how to handle the debt that is accumulated from college and universities. There are loans that are granted by the U.S. Department of Education to students who are seeking a good rate that allows them to pay as little as possible.
It does help them get a head start, but they will have to eventually pay it all back whether they finish school or not. If that isn’t enough to scare you, you’ll also be expected to pay interest as well. Include that with the fact that the costs of education continue to increasingly skyrocket. Fortunately, there is a better option which is to get a Pell grant.
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The Federal Pell Grant Program is designed to assist undergraduate students to pay for their education. The biggest benefit besides the payment is that it is not a loan, so you will not have to pay it all back. The Pell grant amount entirely varies from student to student. So given your situation, you may acquire either more or less than you originally believed.
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Even if you were to get the maximum amount of funds, it will not be enough to cover the costs of everything so although it may help, don’t expect it to be a permanent solution for payment. For example, the maximum amount you can obtain could possibly be around $5000 to $6000.
Enrolling in classes is expensive by itself already. That price alone doesn’t include the cost of textbooks, food, and other supplies which easily adds up to thousands.
Students usually solve this issue by applying for a mixture of grants and loans to take care of all of the expenses.
Applying for the Program
In order to apply, you must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA. You can easily start the process by going to their website by clicking here. You have to have a student ID to be able to log in.
If you’re not comfortable with handling the process by yourself then your university should have a dedicated office that will help you fill out all of the information. The only downside is that the office is usually packed and will require a long wait.
Once you complete the FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report through mail or email in the time frame of about 1 to 2 weeks. The report will contain information such as the pell grant estimate funds throughout the year, which is known as the Expected Family Contribution(EFC).
It does not automatically go into effect so be sure that you reply to the mail as soon as possible since you may lose the privilege of the grant if you procrastinate and wait too long. The funds will be applied directly to your school.
Make sure to send in the application as soon as possible as there is a deadline. There are rules that must be upheld to keep the grant such as staying in school. Take note that you must apply for the Pell grant each year which also means that you have to send in a new FAFSA to continue having any support from federal aid.
Another important detail is that the program is given as a first-come, first-served foundation. You could always check your status by logging into the website and checking your account.
Pell Grant Requirements
Although it would be nice if every student were able to enroll for it, it is only handed to people with certain conditions. The Pell grant eligibility will depend on if your family makes under a certain amount of income in a given year.
This program is aimed at students who really aren’t able to afford the costs of classes rather than those who are using the program to just save money. For instance, your parents may have to make below a combined income of $25,000 to be considered as a low-income student.
It isn’t just based on income alone. There are other factors that affect your chances such as their investments and the number of people you are living with. Their backgrounds will also be checked to examine if they are also attending university.
Attending school part-time or full-time will also affect the amount you will receive. Full-time students may be lent more funds compared to part-time.
The Pell grant qualification differs from every school. Being able to enroll for one school does not mean you will be able to qualify for it again at another university. The reason for this is because of the cost difference between schools
Also, you can only be funded through one school at a time. Be careful not to switch up your schedule during the year. Going from part-time to full-time can affect your status and hurt you in the long run. One consequence is that they may demand you to pay back the remaining funds.
It should be a given that you have to be a citizen of the United States to enrolled in the program. Anyone who has already earned a bachelor’s degree may not receive continued support to attend university again.
I’d like to include a short summary to make the process easier without all the extra important details, (which I recommend going through to save you the headache later). The Pell grant will lend you money if you qualify and does not have to be paid back given that you don’t break any conditions. This grant alone will not cover all of your expenses so make sure to apply for more grants and loans.
Apply for a FAFSA, send it in and wait for the Student Aid Report to be sent to you through mail or email. The report will tell you how much you will receive. Respond back as soon as you can. You WILL lose the privilege of your classes being funded if you take too long.