A Federal Pell Grant is a need-based form of financial assistance that is awarded to individuals who belong to less fortunate families but wish to go to college. Unlike the usual college loan, this grant does not require to be paid back by the student. This grant is named after former US Senator Claiborne Pell and is known to help 5.4 million part-time and full-time students all over the country.
Obtaining a loan, scholarship or grant is not an easy process. The government or the institution makes sure they award these to the most deserving individuals. And in the case of having to pay the money back, they award it to those who they think can do so.
Applying for the Federal Pell Grant will require a lot of paperwork as well as a lot of patience. Let’s discuss the specifics on who are most likely to be granted.
First and foremost, you will have to have a FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid) on file. The same applies to many other scholarships and grants. Application of FAFSA starts on January 1st of every year.
Make sure you fill out the form when the day comes so that you can apply for different grants and scholarships. If in case you will be awarded this grant, you will have to fill up the FAFSA every year in order for you to keep the grant.
Naturally, you also have to be a citizen of this country. Eligible non-citizens or those with a green card can also be eligible for this grant.
The Pell grant is only awarded to an undergraduate student. Meaning, you won’t be qualified for this grant if you already have a college degree or are going to enroll for a master’s degree.
If you wish to acquire post graduate degree, there are other grants that you should look into. You will also have to have a high school diploma, no college will admit you if you don’t.
Upon application, you will be asked to sign an agreement stating that you will only use the funds solely for educational purposes. Also that you do not currently have another federal student loan nor do you owe a refund for any previous grant.
How much does the grant cover?
I cannot and won’t be able to tell you how much exactly you will be receiving since your conditions will have to be assessed by the government to determine how much you need. The amount varies from individual to individual although the maximum award was $5,550 in the school years 2010 up to 2012.
Factors that will determine the amount that you will be granted are the costs to attend your chosen school, whether you will be a part-time or a full-time student, how long you intend to stay in school and your financial needs.
Your chances of eligibility may be limited if you have been incarcerated. Same goes if you have a conviction for drug offence and are serving involuntary civil commitment. You will only be able to take advantage of the Federal Pell grant for no more than 12 semesters.