The Pell grant, named after Claiborne Pell, a former United States Senator, has been helping students pay for college since its inception in 1972.
Unlike student loans, a Federal Pell Grant does not have to be repaid. This free money can be used at more than 5,400 institutions across the country. Every year, approximately 5.4 million students take advantage of this grant.
Pell Grant Application
Are you interested in receiving this grant? If so, the process starts with the Pell Grant application. The process requires that you and your family complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.
You should complete this form for the first time before your freshman year of college. From there, it should be updated every year that you continue with your schooling as an undergraduate student.
On the form you will provide information on family income, current financial need, academic standing, and other related details.
To apply for the Pell Grant you must make sure your FAFSA form is submitted before July 1st. As you complete this form, questions are asked to determine if you are eligible for the Pell Grant along with other forms of funding such as student loans and the Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program.
After your application is reviewed you will receive notification via email or standard mail – if you are awarded a grant.
Pell Grant Requirements and Eligibility
Pell Grant requirements can be tricky. When determining eligibility, the United States Department of Education uses the same formula for every student. The formula is used in conjunction with the information on your FAFSA form to calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). It is this number that determines whether or not you are eligible.
You must also meet additional requirements: United States citizen, undergraduate student who has never earned a Bachelor’s degree, and holder of a high school diploma or GED.
Pell Grant Amount
As with every type of grant, there is a limit on how much you can receive from the Federal Pell Grant program. For the 2010-2011 school year the most that a student can receive is $5,500. This number can change annually.
The amount of the grant is based on the EFC along with other factors such as: full-time or part-time status; cost of tuition and other fees such as room and board; and the amount of time that the student will spend in college.
Money from a Pell Grant can be applied directly to school costs, paid to the student by check, or through dispersed through a combination of the two.
When it comes to college grants for students this is clearly one of the most common. Not only can you receive a lot of money, but the application process is quite simple.
As a college student you owe it to yourself to determine if you are eligible for a Federal Pell Grant.