Federal Pell Grant Information
Going back to school can be exciting, but figuring out how to finance it...not so much.
The Federal Pell Grant Program is designed to help needy students who qualify pay for college, and these days, there are a lot of needy students. Fortunately, there may be more money than ever available, thanks to some new Federal Pell Grant legislation approved by Congress.
Keep reading for more information on how much money is available.
What is a Federal Pell Grant?
Named after the late Sen. Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island, the Federal Pell Grant program gives need-based aid to undergraduate and graduate students who qualify.
The money must be solely used for educational purposes. Unlike a student loan, the money is a grant, which means it doesn't have to repaid, ever.
How much aid could you receive from a Federal Pell Grant?
As of July 1, 2010, the maximum Federal Pell Grant award is $5,550, up $200 from the previous year. The amount available will continue to grow, reaching $5,900 in 2019.
According to U.S. News & World Report, roughly 8.4 million students will receive Federal Pell Grants in 2010-2011. That's 617,000 more students than the previous year. The average grant is expected to be $3,865 per student.
Who is eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant?
To qualify for a Federal Pell Grant, you should be an undergraduate student pursuing your first associate's degree or bachelor's degree, though some graduate students pursuing teacher certification are also eligible.
Families earning less than $30,000 per year are the most likely to benefit. Eligible institutions include online and campus-based public and private schools and universities.
How do I learn if I qualify for a Federal Pell Grant?
You need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), a document used to determine eligibility for Federal Pell Grants, as well as other forms of public or private financial aid. FAFSA is available at www.fafsa.ed.gov.
The Department of Education starts accepting applications on January 1 of each year.
After filing out the FAFSA, students receive a Student Aid Report (SAR), which outlines Federal Pell Grant eligibility information and provides the student's expected family contribution (EFC), the amount the government expects you to contribute to your education costs.