(DailyTreasure.com) – As students weigh on the affordability of college education, they should consider all the avenues to amass resources to make their academic journey bearable in these challenging times. Although federal loans are the most viable sources for borrowing money to fund education, Federal Pell Grants can provide an opportunity for eligible low-income students to access non-refundable financing. This is what Pell Grants are and how to get them.
What is the Pell Grant?
The Pell Grant is a need-based financial aid program administered under the U.S. Department of Education. The program aims to help eligible students pay for tuition and other educational expenses. This grant has helped students since its inception in 1972. It is named after the chief sponsor, Sen. Claiborne de Borda Pell of Rhode Island.
Who Is Eligible?
Unlike other forms of aid whose eligibility varies across schools, this grant is available for all institutions participating in the federal student aid program. These are the requirements that every applicant must meet:
- Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen
- Display exceptional financial need on the FAFSA
- Lack an undergraduate, graduate, or professional degree
- Post-baccalaureate teacher certification students
Incarcerated students who had been blacklisted from the Pell Grant can access the funding starting July 1, 2023, after the implementation of the FAFSA Simplification Act. However, they can only enroll in a program that allows them to work in a prison. Subjects to involuntary commitment due to a non forcible and forcible sexual offense are eligible after completion of the period of incarceration.
Recipients can lose their eligibility if they do not maintain enrollment status, withdraw from courses, or fail to make academic progress, such as GPA requirements set by the school.
How Much is the Pell Grant?
Each awardee is granted a customized amount. This amount depends on the expected family contribution (EFC), enrollment status, the institution’s cost of attendance, and the nature of the student’s attendance. The U.S. Department of Education supplies charts to institutions annually that calculate a student’s Pell Grant award.
The maximum awarded amount changes yearly. From June 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024, eligible applicants can get up to $7,395, depending on the factors above. However, some students might receive up to 150% of their original amount if they attend an extra term within the award year. The limit of receiving the Pell Grant is 12 full terms, equivalent to about six years.
Students might receive additional Pell Grant money if their parent(s) or guardian(s) were members of the U.S. armed forces and died in service in Afghanistan or Iraq after the events of 9/11. This also applies to students whose parents or guardians were public safety officers who died in the line of duty. The student must have been below 24 when their parents or guardians died. However, if their EFC is too high for the grant, they may be eligible for the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant.
How to Apply for the Pell Grant
Students can apply by submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. Schools use the information on the FAFSA form to determine eligibility. This grant does not run over subsequent years. Students must fill in the forms annually to maintain their eligibility for federal student aid. Unlike the student loans, the Pell Grant is non-refundable.
When You’ll Receive the Disbursement
Institutions distribute the Pell Grant funds to students, and they are later reimbursed by the federal government. How and when the funds are disbursed to the student depends on the institution. Most colleges pay about ten days before the commencement of classes.
Any thrifty avenue toward funding education is worth a shot in these tough economic times. The Pell Grant might be an opportunity to piggybank on education expenditure.
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