How To Apply For A Pell Grant

How To Apply For A Pell Grant
Photo by Laura Bittner – CC BY 2.0

There is a great deal that students need to know before applying for any financial aid. They need to know what their eligibility requirements are and what they need to provide the government and school they are wishing to attend. Aid is important to most students who are looking to pay for school, and grants are the best way to pay for it. Grants, such as the Pell grant, are not repayment required. So knowing how to apply for a Pell grant can be vital information for a new student.

The Pell grant is the money gift made available to more than 5 million students each year, and according to estimates, more than 55{8e6cf663dd8bbfda1f4fdd38af84969e57c1756d87f56947f5c326d1d8b26fdc} of recipients have immediate families living below an annual income of $20,000, though the ones living with up to $40,000 can also benefit from the grant. If you apply for a Pell grant and that application is successful, you can receive up to $5,500 every year, split to cover your expenses during the college semester.

Step 1: Fill Out A FAFSA
Pell grant eligibility is determined first by whether or not you have filled out the Federal Application For Student Aid (FAFSA). This document is provided by the government for prospective students to fill out and contains information both from taxes and financial documents. It determines how much money you are making and how much need you have. Because all federal monies provided to students require a FAFSA, a student must fill one out to be eligible for the federal Pell grant. Remember that a FAFSA lasts only one year and is based on the previous, not current, year’s tax information. Have this information available to you readily and make sure that you remember to fill out the document every year you are seeking aid. Not doing so may delay the process of receiving aid and cause more problems for your financial backing.

Step 2: Have The Need
To apply for a Pell grant, the need must be there. Determined by the FAFSA and an institutional eligibility, financial need aid is only given when there is an economic hardship or insufficient funds for the student to attend school. If you want to apply for a Pell grant, you must be aware that there needs to be a financial necessity before you will receive it. If you have sufficient funds, still fill out the FAFSA for confirmation, but be aware that this form of aid might not be available. If you are denied, rest assured that there may be merit-based grants available or the option of student loans. The latter of these options, however, will require repayment so be aware of that before taking one.

Step 3: Talk To Your Institution
After filling out the FAFSA and assessing whether or not the need is there, you need to speak with the college or institution which you want to attend. Certain schools are simply not eligible to receive this form of aid and the institution itself will be able to tell you why. Further, financial aid counselors and those that work with enrolling students will be able to walk you through the financial application process. They will be able to explain your FAFSA and why you may, or may not, have received the Pell grant. You should talk to your financial counselor before and after you fill out the FAFSA as well as before and after you receive your financial aid package.

Get Started!
The early bird catches the worm in most things in life, and aid is no exception. Remember to fill out your FAFSA early and do so annually to assess whether or not you are eligible to receive the Pell grant. Also, recognize that there are limited funds in the federal monies pot and you are just one of millions of students seeking aid. If you apply for a Pell grant early, it means getting funds that another student will not receive. The aforementioned steps are a quick guide and overview that you should use to know how better to prepare and apply for a Pell grant. This information puts you ahead of the game so start utilizing these steps today.

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