Pell Grant Frequently Asked Questions

Although significant information is readily available about Pell grant financial aid, most people still have questions.  Unfortunately, misunderstandings and misinformation has resulted in people all over the country not taking advantage of this free money from the Federal government.  To help, we decided to create a Pell grant frequently asked questions page that provides answers for some of the key elements of this program.  After all, if you want to earn a college degree but have put things on hold because of money, you are cheating yourself out of a better future.

As you know, knowledge is power so the more information you have about the Pell grant as financial aid the easier it would be to apply and start receiving funds to get you into college.

Question

How did the Pell Grant get started and who sponsors it?

Answer

In 1965, the Higher Education Act of 1965 was established by the Federal government, which provided financial assistance for college-based grant programs.  This meant in the first attempt, students had limited access to funding.  However, the Basic Educational Opportunity Grant Program was established in 1972 when the Higher Education Act was reorganized.  Eight years later, the name was officially changed to the Pell Grant Program, a name chosen after Senator Claiborne Pell.  With this, financial aid was provided to undergraduate students who needed the most assistance.  The amount of these grants was based on a specific formula, a process still used today.

Question

What is the application process for a Pell Grant?

Answer

To qualify for this type of financial aid, an FAFSA application would need to be obtained through a college or university’s financial aid office, downloaded from the Federal government’s website, at the local library, and if still in high school, your counselor should be able to help.  Now, this application for a Pell grant must be submitted no later than the end of June in the same year you want to be considered for this financial aid.

Question

How is notification on approval or denial received?

Answer

With the financial information provided on the FAFSA application, a formula is used to determine if you would be approved for money and if so, how much.  From there, you would receive notification via an SAR or Student Aid Report showing approval and dollar amount.  In addition to this, you would have the opportunity to keep track of progress by getting in touch with the Federal Student Aid Information Center.

Question

How is Pell Grant money paid?

Answer

Disbursement of Pell grant money is offered in several ways.  For starters, payments could be sent to an account set up with the college or university you attend with tuition, cost of books, lab time, and other expenses deducted automatically.  Another option would be in the form of a check payable to you.  Then, the college or university could be paid, which in turn would pay you.  For this last option, the education institution is mandated to credit your school account a minimum of one time for every term.

Question

Are there any restrictions associated with a Pell grant?

Answer

As the last answer for the Pell grant frequently asked questions, we wanted to list specific restrictions that you should know about for financial aid of this type.

•    For a Pell grant and all other forms of financial aid, money is paid for one school at a time.
•    To qualify for this government money you could not have defaulted on a Stafford loan or been overpaid for a previous Pell grant
•    If you are incarcerated in a state or federal prison, you would be denied.
•    You would not be allowed to already have a four-year degree or one higher, or be involved with an undergraduate program.
•    For qualification of a Pell grant, you could not be receiving a full scholarship or have your college education paid in full by a scholarship.
•    To receive Pell grant money, you would need to be enrolled in an eligible program.
•    Finally, receiving this kind of financial aid would be dependent on you meeting all the college or university’s policies for satisfactory academic process.

{ 1 comment }

Judy Miller August 10, 2011 at 9:49 pm

In 2010, my son earned $25,000 gross income during 2010. However, he has currently been unemployed with 0 income since June 2011. Please explain why is he being denied the Pell Grant when trying to enter community college this week?

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