The Pell Grant

Would you like to go back to college? Are you in need of financial aid? If so, the federal Pell Grant can help you to pay for your education expenses. For many students, the Pell Grant has been an essential resource to help offset the cost of tuition and books.

The Pell Grant has relatively few restrictions and the award does not have to be repaid or included as taxable income.

What are the requirements to receive a Pell Grant? How can you apply for one? What kind of assistance does it provide? This article will answer all of these questions and provide information about an additional educational grant you may want to consider.

What is the Pell Grant?

The Pell Grant is intended to provide students from low-income households with access to higher education, and eventually, an opportunity to gain a successful job. The program is entirely funded by the federal government and the grant can be applied for once during each academic year. Most public technical schools, colleges and universities offer disbursement of the Pell Grant, but you will want to check with your school to make sure it participates in the program.

Since the grant is provided by the government, individual schools do not set any restrictions on who is eligible for the program. This means that, unlike a scholarship, you will not be required to compete against other students to apply for the Pell Grant. The maximum award amount is increased yearly.

Your school has the option of applying your Pell award to any outstanding educational expenses you may have. But, if you do not have a balance due, you will receive your award as a check.

The school is legally required to pay you at least once each school term. This means that if you attend an institution that operates on the quarter system, you will receive your annual award separated into four checks. You will be issued one check during each quarter. If your school operates on the semester system, your aid will similarly be divided by semester.

Eligibility Requirements

There are a few requirements to apply for the Pell Grant. The first qualification is that you must complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Your financial eligibility for the Pell Grant will be determined according to the income information you provide for you and your family. If you meet the eligibility, a mathematical formula is then used to calculate exactly how much aid you will receive that year.

For the 2009-10 academic year, students are eligible to receive up to $5,350, but the actual amount you receive may be less, depending on your individual circumstances.

The amount of the award you receive is also affected by other factors. To receive the maximum amount of the grant, you must be attending school full-time. If you are attending school part-time or if you will be enrolled for less than a full academic year, your award will decrease dramatically. Your personal costs to attend school will also have an effect on your award.

If you are receiving assistance from family members, your grant will likely be lower than someone who is personally paying for school.

Generally, the Pell Grant is only available for students who are currently pursuing an undergraduate degree. This includes students who may already possess an Associate’s Degree, but are now working toward their first Bachelor’s Degree. Pell Grants are available for postgraduate education, but on a very limited basis and with several restrictions.

While you are not required to maintain an excellent GPA, you will have to have the minimum in order to qualify for financial aid. At most institutions, the minimum is a 2.0 or the equivalent of a C grade. Maintaining this GPA is generally enough to show that you are making satisfactory academic progress.

If you are having trouble meeting this requirement, talk to the Financial Aid Department at your school. They will usually provide assistance that can help you to bring your grades up to meet the standards.

You will also have to show documentation of your legal eligibility for the Pell Grant. In order to qualify for federal financial aid, you must be a United States citizen, a legal immigrant with a U.S. registration card, or a non-citizen with recognized circumstances, such as being a refugee or having sought political asylum.

To apply for the Pell Grant, then, you will have to meet these basic qualifications:

  • Complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)
  • Demonstrate a genuine financial need
  • Be enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at a participating institution
  • Be enrolled at least part-time in school
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress
  • Be legally authorized to receive federal financial aid

How to Apply

If you currently meet the requirements to receive a Pell Grant, how do you apply for one? The only thing you will have to do is complete the FAFSA. Since the Pell Grant is provided by the federal government, you will already have applied for one as soon as you complete your FAFSA form. There are no additional forms for you to fill out. If the information on your FAFSA shows that you qualify, you will automatically receive the aid.

To complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, you will need the following information:

  • Proof of your income, from a W-2 form or a form 1099
  • Proof of your family’s income, if you are a dependent
  • Your most recent tax return
  • Your family’s most recent tax return, if you are a dependent
  • A current bank statement
  • Living expenses, such as mortgage information
  • Your Social Security number and Driver’s License number
  • The Social Security numbers of your family members, if you are a dependent

If you are currently being claimed by your parents on a tax return, it may be helpful to complete this form along with them so that you will have access to all of the information you will need. Your parents will also have to sign the form along with you.

Once you complete the FAFSA, take it to the Financial Aid Department at your school. The school will then process it and send it in for review. Once your form is reviewed, you will be informed of your eligibility and how much your award will be. This notice will be mailed out before the funds are made available to you.

Related Grants

If you meet the financial need to receive a Pell Grant, you may also qualify for a FSEOG (Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant) award. Like the Pell Grant, the FSEOG award does not have to be repaid. This grant is extended to students who demonstrate exceptional financial need and to those who are expecting little or no assistance from their families.

The FSEOG grant does not have to be applied for. It will be automatically offered to you if you meet the income eligibility requirements. This information will also be obtained from your completed FAFSA form. As is the case with the Pell Grant, the annual FSEOG award is divided and paid out in intervals during the school year. Checks are issued once each school term and the total award can range from $100 to $4000, depending on your individual circumstances.

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49 Comments on “The Pell Grant”

  1. john Rogers Says:

    Im interesting in applying for your pell grant. Do I need an application? if so please let me know, or can I go online?

  2. Hector Scolari Says:

    I am interested in your pell grants. Would like more information on how to enroll. Or, can I go online?

    interested in the pell grant program. need some futher instructions on how to apply

  3. alejandra Says:

    need to pay school thank you?:) a realy need the help i’am single mother parents can not help…

  4. Amber Riggin Says:

    Im needing help with my college funds. Ive already had to pay hundreds out of my own pocket. I filled out FAFSA and they told me they had no money left. Im so hopeless it seems like theirs no way to get help. Everyone told me their are plenty of places to help me get through college. Ive loooked for hours trying to apply for things and still nothing. I want to become a Teacher so bad. Something we are in desperate need of, but I havent got any hellp.Is their anyway for me to get help?Are their numbers? Places? Can you Help Me? Im from Arkansas.

  5. damien pannett Says:

    ive had rough at times through my live so it would be nice for a little hel[

  6. A.k. Says:

    For a first time college student, will i be eligible? They require min gpa ect. But i’ve not attended yet. And other factors that seem to exclude me until i have actually attended. Will i face problems not having attending for the first time. What are they, how do i over come them?

  7. jessica Says:

    I am in need of grants for graduate school…please help! I have already filled out FAFSA.

  8. Aliceson Says:

    I am a first time college student and I have applied for FAFSA but I am currently interested in receiving pell grants and as well as applying for them.Your help is very much needed.

  9. Isaac Says:

    Thanks for your information.
    I am a Nigerian with B.sc, can i apply to futher my education.

  10. maurice spears Says:

    I need to apply for pell grants and i am not sure if I am eligible on either the financial or acedemic requirements. How do I know befor I turn in the application if I meet the requirements and I am attending school enough to even qualify. before I turn in my application to determine if I qualify before I turn in the application and start the process How do i predetermine so the i will not so the process in vain

    Thank you

  11. michael Says:

    i need grants for school im at the end of my rope haha seriously though im about to just give up and live out in the desert. thanks!!!

  12. joecooper Says:

    I NEED FINANICAL HELP TO GO BACK TO COLLEGE FOR A SECOND B.S. DEGREE.

  13. Dustin Thomas Says:

    I am a low income working student who is in need of the Pell Grant. Will be very Thankful if you could send me a link of application through email if possibly or in the mail. Thank you so much!

  14. Laura Says:

    I have been trying to figure out how to apply for any type of grant including the pell grant. I’m having a lot of trouble trying to think of ways I can pay for school, I really need this!

  15. Toni Says:

    I start school in feb. I need help with some things b4 I start. I got finianial aid but won’t get until a few weeks into school. Where can I go to get some money b4 school.. Can u email me at thaessley@hotmail.com.. Please help me.. Thanks

  16. akintayo olusola Says:

    pls, Iam in need of a financial assistance. I would be glad if can assist me in my undergraduate education. I am astudent of University of Benin ,Benin City , Nigeria.

  17. sonia Says:

    i will like to find more information to apply for a grant

  18. Todd Says:

    I am interested in college but do want to owe money how to apply for pell grants

  19. Danielle Says:

    I am handicapped radial club arm three fingers and cannot seem to get any help. Trying to keep on going to art school. 765-376-0996

  20. Jennifer Says:

    I would like some information on how to obtain a pell grant application. And any schools in Maricopa, Az. that I can attend for getting a CNA certificate. If any one can help me I’d appreciate it.
    Thanks – renejenalex@yahoo.com

  21. Joshua Says:

    I was wanting information on the best way to get your tuition paid for with a low income. Any info on this would be greatly appreciated.

  22. Kaeea McLean Says:

    I really, really want to go back to school. Nothing would make me more happier, I love school, I love to learn.

    Im a single mother with three boys, I been out of school for eight years now time to make a change for a higher education. How can I go about getting this pell grant.Can you email me at (kateea22@yahoo.com)

  23. Joseph ScabbyRobe Says:

    I would very much appreciate information on how I apply for pell grants, I am a low-income Native American student, I am 3/4 Blackfoot, Blood, and Lummi. I need assistance in pursuing music production and business

  24. Karen Sanches Says:

    Hello,
    I”m currently going to metro state college in denver and my funds are running out for school and i really want to finish going to school because I would to be Human Service person because I would like to help people with needs. Im also waiting for a kidney transplant and going to school keeps my mind of needinng transplant. thank you please help me…

  25. Ju'Elle Allen Says:

    I am 20yrs. old and I’m trying to further my education by going to Specs Howard school of media arts but my mom makes too much money for me to get financial aid, which is good for her but unfortunately i don’t live with my mom. She still claims me on her taxes and according to law I’m dependent on her because she pays for my dental, and health insurance. So, the school requested the parent-plus loan for my mother to apply for but she wont. She is not interested in me going to school at least at her expense. So my financial aid advisor told me i wont be able to go to school until I’m 24 and can file independent. $ more years of my life wasted. Help if you can please help. I need grants or even somewhere i can get accepted for a loan.

  26. Allia Says:

    i am a low income student and i have completed my fasfa and i didnt get anything back from pheea or the pell grant,if you could help me find out why contact me please Allia.scott@gmail.com

  27. Jacklyn Pugh Says:

    I would like assistance with going back to school for Human Services and Education. If ther is anything available please let eme know. Thank you.

  28. Michael O'Hara Says:

    I need the FAFSA application . Can it be mailed to me or emailed? Does someone here reply to these postings ?

  29. Debbie Oliver Says:

    I would like to find out more information on how to apply for a grant

    Thank you..

  30. bobby Says:

    how can i get free money for school

  31. Brandon Cluff Says:

    I am very interested in getting more information about the Pell Grant. Please contact me at the email address provided and I would be more than happy to do whatever it takes to continue my education. I recently had to drop out of community college due to insufficient funds.

  32. Darrel Garrison Says:

    Just finished filling out the FAFSA which said free online filing, but at the end it asked for a credit card and $80,

    WHAT IS UP WITH THAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?

    I do not have a credit card or $80, that is why I was applying for assistance. And they said the deadline was tomorrow August the 6th?!?!?! SO now what do I do?!?!?!?
    Been trying all week to get it done. It was a little confusing, but to get done then be asked for $80 was a little
    frustrating!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  33. D'Auntra Says:

    I am a returning student who needs help for school.I have already applied for a pell grant an was awarded but I didn’t do so good my first year in college now I don’t have a job nor can I go to school because I can’t get my assistance back. I have to pay cash that I don’t have. Can anyone help me I need it very soon.

  34. andrea horton Says:

    2011/2012 i was a full time student, about the fouth week into the second semester i had to leave school because of sickiness that lead to surgery a month later. The school say that I owe 6 hundred dollars in order to continue my education, can i get another pell grant to pay this off to continue my education?

  35. andrea horton Says:

    Am iI eligable for a grant to finish my education?

  36. PEGGY Says:

    WOULD LOVE ANY INFO THAT YOU HAVE ON PELL GRANTS. MY DAUGHTER WANTS TO MAJOR IN EDUCATION. SHE IS CURRENTLY IN HER SR YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL, AND WITHOUT SCHOLARSHIPS OR GRANTS I AM AFRAID THAT SHE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO ATTEND COLLEGE. ANY INFO IS APPRECIATED

  37. Kathryn Bickman Says:

    I’m looking into going back to school for Phlebotomy. The last time I tried I couldn’t get enough school loans to go and I couldn’t afford the extra $800 a month. I have an appointment at Pima Medical Institute in September to possibly sign up for classes. It would be greatly appreciated if you would consider me for a pell grant.

  38. Elizabeth Says:

    I would like to apply for a pell grant. I have filled out fafsas in the past. At that time I was living at home with my parents and they supported me. Now I am on my own, a full time college student, and my only job has been a little substitute teaching. My parents aren’t claiming me on their income tax this year. Will I qualify…and if so….can I change my fafsa to show that my parents aren’t claiming me?

  39. Darryl Axsom Says:

    I’ve been using the Pell Grant for 2 years now. To fill out the FAFSA(which is required to get a pell grant). You go to http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. It is completely free and if you go to another site to fill it out, they could charge you… so just go to the federal website at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. You will need to enter your income tax to determine how much of the grant you can get. It may take some time, but its worth it. Also if you are 24 or younger, you will need to include your parent(s) income setting, which will have an affect on your pell grant as well. Just fill it out, it doesn’t hurt to try. In the end you may not get the full pell, but you can still get a partial pell grant.

  40. Amy Cook Says:

    Hi. I receive social security dissability. My kids do also. I am married. My daughter will be a senior next year. Is there any help she can get since she is my dependant on social security? My husband makes to much for a grant but we do not make enough to pay for her school. She would like to go into drug rehab councelling. Any information as to were I could go to help her would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your help Amy Cook

  41. Stephen Abifarin Says:

    I am schooling at Ahmadu Bello University studying veterinary medicine in Nigeria. But i want to transfer to a usa vert school due to my financial problem. Please how can i get pell grant to start the application?

  42. Oneil Says:

    I start school in April but got some balance to pay off and I can’t because financial aid did give a lot. (Still great full for financial aid) can you please help me out

  43. Concepcia Mathieu Says:

    I have been trying to get in the nursing program for years. This year I finally get accepted and I do not have the money to pay for it. Im working per diem at a hospital. I can’t get financial aid or loans due to debts. I would be grateful if I am chosen as one of the candidates that get help.

  44. Tony DiGiovanatonio Says:

    Hello, I am inquiring on getting a grant to go back to school. I want to go to BOCES a trade school in the capital region in Upstate NY. (Albany county). I don’t know how to proceed in doing so. How can you help?

  45. Tarrell Says:

    I’m a Psychology major with no income wanting to finish my degree

  46. Cameron Mink Says:

    my mom is a single mom and i am a high school senior. i have a 4.0 grade average and scored a 1560 on SAT. i have been offered academic schlorships since sophomore year but i will still need money for dorm,books and gas-i have a car grandparents gave me for 18th bday. i do not want to owe a bunch of money when i get out of college. do i fill out for grant while still in high school or do i have to wait till i know what college going to?

  47. Cathy Thomas Says:

    Hi. I’m an RN, and have worked in hospital for 8 years. I had back problems and just couldn’t continue to work in the patient care setting anymore. I manage to go back to school online and with the financial help of my husband I was able to get my teacher’s certification and now I teacher high school program called Health science in Career Technology program . The program helps high school students get a head start in the medical field, and even get their nursing assistant certification . I’m saying all this to let you know I’m interested in furthering my education to be able to teach at college level part time. This would help me to earn more money, as well as help with improving on my teaching abilities and help my students. Thank you for any help you may give, Cathy Thomas,RN

  48. traci huff Says:

    i am applying for a pell grant.i have been out of prison now for almost 2 years and i have had my identy stolen and the past 2 years i have been fighting to get my income taxes.i still havent got ot and been livikng with people ever since.i want to try and go back to school to earn myself some money so i can have my own placeto live.i got a job when i first got out but it was taken because the tax law on tobacco e couldnt use a machine to roll cigarettes so then i was layed off of work.i havent been able to get a job ever since because of my back ground.im not sure what i can go to school for but im willing to try anything. thank you for any help that you can give me,Traci Huff

  49. James Jones Says:

    I started a repayment program to get my student loan out of default by paying 9 monthly payment on time I won’t be out of default until October but cad program at I.T.T. Tech will start in Sept. but I need a grant to start school and hold me over until I can get another student loan to continue with the cad program.

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