Pell Grants Are One Option for Financial Aid for College

The Pell Grant assists college student in need of financial assistance for college. College, even at the community college level is no cheap thing. Most of us struggle to pay for school. We take out student loans, work jobs on the side. We do whatever is necessary to pay for school. Pell Grants can help take a little of that pressure off.

About Pell Grants

The federal government provides some financial aid to college students through the Pell Grant program. It is usually reserved for low income students who have yet to achieve a bachelor’s or professional degree. There are some instances where students in a post-baccalaureate program may still receive Pell grants but typically only for specific fields of study. A grant, like the Pell Grant, does not have to be repaid. The proceeds can be used in conjunction with other grants and scholarships to offset college tuition and supply costs.

How Much Money Can You Expect?

The amount you can expect to receive from a Pell Grant varies based on certain condition but has a cap of $5,550 currently. Things that influence the amount you receive are whether or not you area a full-time or part-time student, the costs for college you specifically have to pay, your financial need and your intention to either attend college for a semester or a full year. If you lost a parent because they served in the military in either Afghanistan or Iraq after September 11, 2001, you are guaranteed the full amount of the Pell Grant. However, you have to be less than 24 years old or enrolled as a college student on at least a part time basis at the time you parent died in order to receive money under this condition.

In order to receive the award for two consecutive semesters in a single school year, you must be enrolled on at least a half-time basis. For many, this speeds up the degree process considerably.

Application Process

In order to receive any type of financial aid from the government, you will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The form will ask for your financial data and which college you plan to attend. The U.S. Department of Education will evaluate your submission. You will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) in the mail when the evaluation is complete. This form outlines any requirements you must fulfill such as whether or not you are considered independent or dependent on your family finances, your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) toward your education costs and whether or not you are eligible for the Pell Grant.

The Pell Grant program is evaluated regularly. You can learn about changes to the program and grant limits by visiting the website. The details outlined here are valid throughout 2012.

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