How To Fill Your Pell Grant Application?

Pell grants are given to financially weak undergraduate students in US. This grant is available to students of bachelor’s degree or some skill based training program. Since, students are not required to repay this grant; it is very useful for them. It can help them pay for their college fees and other expenses required for pursuing the program.

If you to want Pell Grant, then it is necessary to fill its application form very carefully. This will increase your chances of getting this grant. To get the application form, you can visit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) website. The deadline for filling the application form is June 30, 2014.

Tips To Fill The Application Form

Start Early

As this grant is offered on first come first basis, you should submit your application form as early as possible. You can also fill and submit the form online to save time. For filling the form online, you have to register on the FAFSA website to obtain the PIN (Personal Identification Number). Parents of dependent students should also apply for the PIN. The applications that are submitted online are processed earlier than those received by post.

Keep All Documents At Hand

You should keep all the documents that you have to submit along with the Pell grant application form, at hand. This will help you in completing the application process early. The documents that are required are –

• Driving License
• Social Security Number
• W-2 forms
• Bank statements
• Investments and debts statements
• Parents’ income tax returns (for dependent students)
• Self income tax returns (for independent students)
• Spouse income tax returns (if married)

Some other documents may also be required depending on the kind of program you are pursuing and other special conditions, if any.

Pell Grant ApplicationFile Your Taxes

You must file your taxes early, as you have to give the tax information in your Pell grant application form. This will help you in filling and submitting the form early. If filing the taxes early is not possible, you should keep ready the estimate for the same so that you can fill the application form. You can show the income tax returns later.

Read The Instructions

You should carefully read the instructions for filling up the application form. This will ensure that you fill your form correctly. You should check whether you fall in the category of dependent or independent student. A little carelessness can waste all your efforts.

Fill the worksheet and then the application form
The web worksheet allows you to see and answer all the questions before filling the form on the website. Once you have filled the worksheet, you can copy the data to the website. You are required to give your personal and family information. You have to answer few questions on your aspirations.

If you keep the above tips in mind, you will be able to successfully fill your Pell grant application form. If you need additional help Princeton Review’s Paying for College Without Going Broke is a good guide with line-by-line instructions for completing the FAFSA.

How To Apply For The Pell Grant Online | FAFSA Online

To apply for Pell Grant, you will need to fill up and submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form.

There Are Three Ways In Which You Can Apply For FAFSA. You Can –

1. Call the FAFSA Student Aid Centre and ask them to mail a FAFSA form to your address. You can then complete the form and mail it to the concerned address.
2. Download the FAFSA form from the website, complete it and send it by mail to the given address.
3. Complete and submit the form, online.

The third option is the fastest and the most convenient. Even the federal student aid authorities encourage online submission of applications.

To apply for Pell Grant online, you would have to visit the website www.fafsa.ed.gov. The website has three sections “Before Beginning a FAFSA”, “Filling Out a FAFSA”, and “FAFSA Follow-up”. These sections provide instructions to the students to guide them through the process of application.

The first section “Before Beginning a FAFSA” provides tips to fill the FAFSA form accurately and quickly. On going through the section you will get an idea of –

• How to complete the FAFSA,
• How the financial aid given to a student is computed,
• The eligibility criteria,
• Deadlines for submitting the form,
• Details of the documents required, and
• How to generate a pin to sign your FAFSA form electronically

You will find a link for printing the FAFSA on the web Worksheet. It is advisable to take a printout of this worksheet, as it will give you an idea of how the FAFSA form is structured. You can gather the required details and fill it in the worksheet. This makes it easier to transfer the data to the FAFSA on the web.

FAFSA Pell GrantIn the next section, “Filling Out a FAFSA”, you can actually begin to fill up your form. If you have any doubts regarding a specific question you can either click the “Need Help” button or get help from a customer representative by clicking on the “Live Help” link. If you are unable to complete the application in one sitting you can always save it and resume later. Students who want to make corrections to a processed application can also do so in this section.

Once you have filled the form you will be required to sign it electronically through a PIN (Personal Identification Number). Your parents too will be required to sign with a PIN if you are a dependent. If you or your parents do not already have a PIN, you can apply for one and get it immediately. After you have signed and submitted the application, it will get processed. On an average, the processing time would be 2-3 weeks. Thereafter your Student Aid Report will be sent to you by the Federal Student Aid.

In the last section “FAFSA Follow-up”, you can check the status of your application. You can also see or print your Student Aid Report. Corrections to the processed application can also be made through a link in this section.

Though applying for the Pell Grant online is the most convenient, you should remember to do it well before the deadline. This would ensure that you do not enter wrong details in haste. This year Pell Grant Application deadline is on June 30, 2014.

A valuable resource to have when filling the form is the Princeton Review’s Paying for College Without Going Broke which is the only annual college financial aid guide with line-by-line instructions for completing the FAFSA.

Are You Eligible For Pell Grants? | Pell Grant Eligibility

In the present times, the cost of education is on the rise. On an average the cost of a private college is $20,000 per annum. Even the cost of education at a public university or college averages around $10,000 per annum. Thus students who belong to the lower income families find it difficult to pursue higher education. Statistics reveal that only about 1/2 the students from families with low income are able to earn a college degree. With a view to encourage the continuation of education, the Federal Government introduced the Pell Grant.

The Pell Grant is a need-based financial aid for students who belong to lower income families. The Federal Government earmarks certain funds for this grant each year. The quantum of funds varies from year to year. The grants are disbursed to the eligible students from this fund. However, there are certain criteria that one must meet in order to be eligible for the grant.

The criteria for Pell Grant Eligibility are discussed below.

Financial status: The U.S. Department of Education discerns if the student needs financial help by using a formula. This formula takes into account various factors and results in a figure (the Expected Family Contribution or EFC). This number helps to decide whether the student is eligible for the Pell grant. The factors which are used to arrive at the EFC are -
o The student’s income and assets (if the student is independent)
o The income and assets of the parents (if the student is independent)
o The size of the family
o The number of family members pursuing post secondary education

Citizenship: The student must be a U.S citizen or an eligible non-citizen. An eligible non-citizen is a person who fulfills any one of the following conditions -
a) Is a U.S. permanent resident with an Alien Registration Card (I-551),
b) Is a conditional permanent resident with an I-551C card or
c) Has an Arrival Departure Record (I-94) from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). The designation in the Record must be that of refugee, asylum granted, parole or Cuban-Haitian entrant.

Pell Grant EligibilityCourse of study: The students should be pursuing their undergraduate studies. They should not have obtained a bachelor’s degree or a professional degree. Students pursing post-baccalaureate teacher certification programs are also eligible to apply for the Pell Grant.

Institutions: There are approximately 5400 post secondary institutions taking part in the process. The student must be enrolled in one of these institutions.

Registration with Selective Service: A male student must be registered with the selective service. Alternatively he must sign a statement of registration signifying that he need not register.

Educational criterion: The student must have earned a high school diploma or a GED.

The student should not already be receiving the Pell Grant. However he can be eligible for two grants if he is planning to undertake additional courses within that year to speed up his studies.

The Pell Grant is unlike a student loan because one is not required to pay it back. It has already helped millions of financially weak students in the pursuance of their studies.

Like student loans, Pell Grants are a very popular means of financing studies.

What are Pell Grant application deadline and disbursements dates?

The student financial aid known as Pell Grant is one of the best things that may happen to the life of students who want to finish college and their parents who are trying and working hard to send their kids to school. This school year, the deadline for application and disbursement schedule for Pell Grant 2013-2014 is still a subject of wonder. Educational institutions have never revealed a deadline or an ideal time to pass Pell Grant applications, leaving students and their parents almost clueless. Some colleges would set different schedules. Typically, the first day of February, March and April are given as the deadline. But one thing that most parents do not know is that there is actually an ideal date to pass the application.

But first, let us discuss what a Pell Grant is. This is a form of student financial aid that took its name from US Senator Claiborne Pell. This grant program was originally called as the Basic Educational Opportunity Program. However, the Pell Grant is not a loan. Since it is a grant, it does not have to be repaid. It is simply awarded to those who need the financial aid the most. For a student to apply for a Pell Grant, he or she must apply through FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The amount granted to the student is determined by the calculations based on the information given by the student upon filling up the FAFSA form and passing a copy of the family’s EFC or Expected Family Contribution.

Usually, parents think that the earliest possible date to pass their EFC for their child’s Pell Grant application is February 1st. However, they are mistaken. This date may sound early, but it is actually a little late already. The ideal date to pass the application for a Pell Grant is on the 1st day of January or any nearest day possible to it. Since there are a lot of students and parents rooting to get a grant, then the earliest you could pass the application requirements, the better. Today, not only families from the lower class apply for a financial aid, but also those from the middle class. This just proves how hard it is to send a child to school. So, parents and students must always be on their toes and pass their applications for the Pell Grant at the earliest day possible.

Submitting early may secure a bigger chance of receiving a Pell Grant and getting the right disbursement according to what is due depending on the calculation of your EFC. There are cases where parents pay higher tuition than they should because of shortage in aids. Meanwhile, parents should not be worried about giving a wrong calculation. Just try to calculate what you think is the most accurate figures. Do not exaggerate the numbers.

Disbursement schedules vary from college to college. Pell grant disbursements are often given per season, in batches. Those who were successful in their 2013-2014 application can get their Spring disbursements sometime in March to June 2014.

What are Pell Grant requirements?

A college degree is needed to have a competitive edge in the workplace these days. However, getting a diploma is not that easy, paying for higher education is undoubtedly expensive. In order to make schooling accessible to everyone, there are now various grants and scholarships offered by different institutions. The government itself has taken steps to be able to support the educational ambitions of individuals by providing the Pell Grant.

Because those who are awarded the Pell Grant do not need to repay the money spent on their education, there are strict rules that dictate who the people eligible for this are. The Pell Grant requirements are the factors that prospective students need to satisfy in order to qualify for this.

There are several Pell Grant requirements that a person will need to fulfill in order to be given this.

Financial Need

The most important qualifier is that the individual will need to establish his or her financial need. The Pell Grant is specifically designed for people who have problems with their finances, so it stands to reason why this is the factor that they pay the most attention to. The level of need of the student will be measured by the expected family contribution (EFC). Those who have an EFC below the cut-off point become eligible for being given a Pell Grant provided they satisfy all the other requirements. In general, the awards are given to students whose family incomes are below $20,000, although there have been cases of those who have an EFC of up to $45,000 have been given financial support.

Dependency Status

A person’s dependency status can also affect his or her level of financial need. For example, a person who has applied as an independent will be looked at differently compared to the one who has applied as a dependent. Since independents do not rely on anyone but themselves for financial support, they will need to prove their financial standing by showing statements of account and such.

Schooling Status

Another criterion for the Pell Grant is for the applicant to have a high school diploma, a GED, or show that he or she has the ability to benefit from the program or training course. Individuals who can also prove that they went through a qualified homeschooling curriculum can also become eligible as long as they meet the other requirements.

Citizenship

The next criterion of the Pell Grant would be in terms of citizenship. The prospective student must be a United States citizen, a permanent citizen, or otherwise fit the eligible categories of a non-citizen by showing that he or she is able to live and attend school legally in the United States. The individual will need to present any of the following documents:

  • US Permanent Citizen (Alien Registration Card or I-551)
  • Conditional Permanent Citizen (I-551C)
  • Cuban-Haitian entrant with an Arrival Departure Record (I-94) from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)

Otherwise, the prospective student has to show that he or she is a refugee, an asylum grantee, or a parolee.

Academic Progress

The prospective student must also show satisfactory academic progress. To prove this, the person must have at least a C (or 2.0) grade point average by the end of the second year if the degree is longer than two years, or prove the equivalent for shorter courses.

Other Pell Grant requirements include the student presenting his or her valid social security number. For males between 18-25 years old, they need to register with a selective service. The student will also need to finish filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FIFSA) that will show that he or she can use the federal student aid funds solely for educational purposes and that he or she is not in default of any federal student loan and/or do not owe a repayment of any federal student aid grant.

Meeting these Pell Grant requirements should put you on the right path to getting your college education supported by the government.

Is the Pell Grant Amount the Same in All States?

The Pell Grant is an educational grant given to college students in the US. To qualify for a Pell Grant, the family income of the student must be at most $60,000. It is designed to help low-income families to send their children to college by subsidizing the schools Cost of Attendance or COA.

What Determines Pell Grant Amount?

Many people are asking whether the Pell Grant is the same for all States. You might be thinking that transferring to a different State will affect the Pell Grant amount you will receive, possibly making it larger. The fact is that the place or State in you reside in has NO BEARING on the amount of Pell Grant you will receive, if you are deemed eligible. The average Pell Grant amount paid to qualifying applicants is $2,250, but this ranges from a minimum $550, to a maximum of $5300, depending on the need of the family. A number of factors determine the Pell Grant amount given to a student, and the State or place of residence does not affect it. Family size, income, number of dependents, family assets, and the cost of the schools education are the factors that affect Pell Grant amount.

The Cost of Attendance also includes miscellaneous fees like supplies, food, boarding or dormitory expenses, computers, and software that are directly related to education. Pell Grant covers these expenses on top of tuition fees, books, transportation, and daily allowance.

States Pell Grant AmountHow to Apply for Pell Grant

The Pell Grant is available to undergraduate students who have difficulty financing college tuition and cost of schooling. To apply for a Pell Grant, visit the website of Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. The results of your application in FAFSA will determine the Pell Grant amount you can be entitled to using. Visit their website at fafsa.ed.gov to begin your application.

Can One Redeem Excess Pell Grant?

Yes. Normally, the Federal Government disburses Pell Grant Money to accredited Institutions who then either give the money to deserving applicants, or deposit the money to the students school account. If your Pell Grant was disbursed directly to your school, you may still claim the excess Pell Grant. Ask for a Pell Grant Refund Check from your school treasury or school registrar before term ends, otherwise, you will have difficulty claiming the excess money immediately. The school may keep the excess Pell Grant amount to be used for the succeeding semesters you have in school. However, if you are a graduating student and still have excess Pell Grant, the school will normally issue a check to you or mail your refund check to your home.

The Pell Grant is a government subsidy and may cover school terms of one or two semesters, but not necessarily a whole school year. The Federal Government awards the grants to the most deserving applicants; keeping an acceptable GPA is a necessary requirement to keep availing of the Pell Grant, just like most scholarship grants.

Can You Use a Pell Grant for Summer College Courses?

The Federal Pell Grant Program is one of the largest in the United States. It provides financial aid to thousands of college students every year. In 2009 official changes of the program were announced. The maximum grant is now larger and more students can participate in the program. Another major change is that eligible students can now receive a Pell Grant for summer college courses. This amendment is valid from summer 2010 onwards.

You can now receive a Pell Grant optional disbursement of $2,675 if you take courses in the summer term. Previously, it was possible for students to get this type of funding, only if they had not received the grant for the spring or fall semester. Now you can use the entire amount you are awarded with during the academic year (the fall and spring semesters) and receive funding for taking summer courses as well.

The amount of the Pell Grant you receive for the summer is determined on the basis of a range of factors including the number of classes you take. Still, the application process is the same. You have to fill in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and mark that you will need financial aid for the summer term.

Pell Grant for Summer CollegeGiven that the change was introduced in late 2009 some students might have not included this request in the FAFSA for summer 2010. If this is applicable to you, you need to contact your financial aid’s office for help. Most schools do not require you to change your FAFSA. Students are usually asked to complete a separate form from the school to get the funding. Keep in mind, however, that this is a special measure for summer 2010 only.

There is another important aspect that you should take into account. In order to get a Pell Grant for the standard academic year, you are not obliged to meet any academic criteria. This is not the case with the summer Pell Grant, however. In order to be eligible for this scholarship, you have to meet a number of requirements.

You must have completed 24 credit hours in total throughout the academic year (the fall and spring semester). In addition, you must have received passing grades (or higher). The third eligibility criterion requires you to have at least 6 credit hours of classes during the summer. This means that you have to be on a half-time summer program, at least. As said earlier, the number of credit hours will determine the amount of Pell Grant money you get, as usually. This rule is not amended.

The changes in the Federal Pell Grant Program are more than beneficial. You can readily get financial aid for your summer courses. It is a good idea for you to fill in your FAFSA form as early as possible in order to secure the money you need. In addition, it takes some time for schools to adjust to the changes in the Federal aid programs. For this reason, you should keep an eye on the announcements regarding the summer Pell Grant coming from the financial aid office of your school.

Update April 12, 2011: Due to recent changes proposed to Federal Budget of 2011, additional Pell Grant for Summer College courses might no longer be available. Students are recommend to look for alternative options to fund there summer courses.

Pell Grant Information Center