Going back to school can be a great investment in your future, but it can also be a costly endeavor. If you’re looking to make college more affordable, there are options available to help. One of these options is the Pell Grant, a form of financial aid that has been helping students pay for college for over five decades.
What is a Pell Grant?
A Pell Grant is a federal program designed to provide financial assistance to low and middle-income students pursuing higher education. The program was established as part of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and has been helping students attend college ever since. Unlike loans, a Pell Grant does not have to be repaid if you qualify.
How Much Can You Receive?
As of 2021, eligible students can receive up to $6,895 per year through the Pell Grant program. It’s important to note that the amount of the grant can change each year as the program is reviewed and adjusted to reflect the rising cost of higher education.
Who is Eligible for a Pell Grant?
To determine eligibility for a Pell Grant, you must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The eligibility criteria include:
- Demonstrating financial need
- Being a citizen of the United States or having an eligible immigration status
- Being an undergraduate student (not a graduate student)
- Participating in post-baccalaureate teacher certification programs may also qualify
- Not being incarcerated
How Long Can You Receive a Pell Grant?
The Pell Grant is an annual program, so you’ll need to reapply every year. In general, students can receive the grant for a maximum of 12 semesters or six years. This should be enough time to complete a college education, but it’s a good idea to work with an advisor to make sure you’re on track to graduate before your eligibility runs out.
How is the Aid Applied?
The money from a Pell Grant is applied directly to the cost of your education. This can take the form of a credit from the federal government, a direct deduction from your tuition or a reduction in the remaining balance owed. Regardless, the money does not need to be repaid.
Final Thoughts On Pell Grants
The Pell Grant program can help make college education more affordable for low and middle-income students. By filling out the FAFSA, you can determine if you’re eligible for this valuable form of financial aid.
** based on national data, not school-specific information. https://www.bls.gov/charts/usual-weekly-earnings/usual-weekly-earnings-by-quartiles-and-selected-deciles-by-education.htm (Date Visited: 1/27/2022)