Pell Grants

Most articles written about Pell grants provide information specific to what this type of financial aid money is and why it is so beneficial.  Although this is essential information for someone interested in college but living on a budget, we wanted to take this opportunity to address qualifications for a Pell grant so if you were interested in going to college to earn a degree you would be a step ahead

Before going into the qualifications for a Pell grant we want to offer a reminder of what this money consists of and who provides it.  A Pell grant is offered by the Federal government, which means the money is guaranteed by the government and therefore, you would not be required to pay it back.  In addition, this type of governmental grant is designed for post-secondary education, which falls under the legislation title of the “Higher Education Act of 1965.”

Moving on to the qualifications for a Pell grant, you would need to show a need financial assistance to complete your college education.  From there, the amount of money received would depend on numbers crunched for the Expected Family Contribution form, which comes from information provided by you when completing the FAFSA form.  Although recipients of Pell grant money vary, more than 50% are people with families earning $20,000 a year or less, which covers students attending both a two-year community college and four-year university.

Keep in mind that regarding qualifications for a Pell grant, you would only be able to get money from the college or university where you currently attend.   While the majority of people who use this type of government money make $20,000 or less, that does not mean if you make more that you would automatically be disqualified.  Students who qualify for Pell grant money are determined by a formula used by the United States Department of Education.  This formula was developed by the US Congress, using financial information provided on the FAFSA form so a fair evaluation can be provided.

As stated, one of the primary qualifications for a Pell grant has to do with income but other factors are considered.  For instance, if applying as a dependent student, any assets would become a part of the evaluation formula but if applying as a dependent student, meaning you need financial assistance from family, then income from your parents would be used along with your income.  In other words, the Expected Family Contribution or EFC, as well as net assets are factors used in the formula for both approval and amount of financial aid received.

The allowances and assessment rates used would also vary based on you being a dependent student, an independent student, and an independent student with dependents.  Once the FAFSA form has been completed and submitted, a Student Aid Report, also known as an SAR is provided.  This report lets you know if you met the qualifications for a Pell grant but it would also advise your Expected Family Contribution.  The amount of money you could earn is based on so many factors that it would be hard to be specific but on average, it could range from $2,000 to $5,500 a year, which is the maximum allowed for the 2010-2011 academic year.

The bottom line is that while not everyone would meet the qualifications for a Pell grant, many people would but because they do not understand the application process or never even try, they miss out.  This money has been set aside to help people achieve their dream of a college education so if you feel you have no options, we recommend you start by conducting more research and of course, talking to someone in the financial aid office at the college or university interested in would prove beneficial.

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