Introduction to Federal Pell Grant

Federal Pell Grant is the biggest and most popular educational grant provider in the United Sates formerly known as “Basic Educational Opportunity Grant Program”.  The program was specifically implemented by the US government to help provide financial aid mostly to college students who cannot afford to pay for their own education.

Students who are from financially challenged families are given educational grant to help them continue with their studies. Each qualified student can get up to 5550 dollars per school year to pay for their tuition fess and other school needs.

Who can apply?

  • Student who needs financial assistance to continue college.
  • Must have high school diploma. Home schooled high school student diplomas are also accepted. Students who are already enrolled in college may send their GED.
  • Must be a US citizen or a conditional citizen with sufficient documentation such as Cuban-Haitian applicant with Arrival Departure Record (I-94).
  • Must be an undergraduate student or an incoming undergraduate student in a Pell Grant accredited university.
  • Must have no record of drug related offenses. Must have never been convicted and have not served jail time in the past.
  • Male student who are eighteen to twenty five years old, must be registered in Selective Service.
  • Must have a Social Security number.
  • Must have good academic standing based on your school’s standards.

Application Process

Each Pell Grant eligible candidate is required to submit their FAFSA, Free Application for Federal Student Aid which can be downloaded or filed online.  Those who prefer to fill out a hard copy of the application may opt to print them and then send a duly accomplished copy through post mail. The FAFSA contains personal and financial questions used to evaluate the student’s qualifications.

The next step is determining your Expected Family Contribution or EFC using the details you have provided in your FAFSA. The EFC metric system will determine the level of financial assistance that you need based on the combined income and assets of your family. The lower your EFC result the higher financial assistance you need.

Some of the factors that can lower your EFC results are; Additional dependents, number of siblings who are also in college, limited assets and below minimum income. Special circumstances such as unemployment, loss of child support and alimony case, medical expenses that are not covered by the insurance and death of spouse can also have a significant impact on your EFC results.

Determining the amount of grant

The amount of educational grant that you get every school year varies due to different factors. The maximum amount of educational grant that can be given to every student is $5550 per year. But the amount you will actually get each school year will be determined by;

  • Your student status. Will you be staying at the university or college as a part time student or a full time student?
  • The cost of your attendance or your tuition fee.
  • The duration of your stay, whether you plan to stay for the whole academic year or not.
  • Your financial status or capability.

These factors are summed up to provide a figure for your educational grant. The grant will then be used to pay for your tuition fees and other school expenses. You may buy your books from a local bookstore or from your school’s online bookstore and have it charged directly to your grant. Once all the school fees and requirements had been settled, Federal Pell Grant will send you a check, equivalent to the amount of whatever is left in your account. You may encash this check and use the money for any additional school requirements.

The Federal Pell Grant is one of the many organizations that are currently providing educational fund to students who are in dire need of financial assistance. Other government agencies such as Department of Homeland Security, Department of Education, Environmental Protection Agency, Transportation Security Administration, National Science Foundation, National Institute of Justice , NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and American Medical Association have also started providing educational grants to qualified students. Familiarizing yourself with these institutions early on can help increase your chance of securing an educational grant.

If you’re planning to avail educational grant in the near future, I suggest that you start building your credentials now. Excellent credentials such as good grades, clean records, environmental awareness and volunteer work can add up to your qualifications, making you the ideal candidate for various education grants or scholarships.

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