All posts by Pell

Eligibility of Associate Degree Students for a Pell Grant | Pell Grant Eligibility

The higher education in the United States is expensive. The good news is that there are different source of financial aid available. The Pell Grant is a scholarship for students with low incomes available form the Federal Government. It is awarded to students based on a number of criteria. It should be noted that this is a grant that you do not have to repay after completing your degree. Hence, it is definitely worth applying, provided that you meet the eligibility criteria.

Students pursuing an associate degree are eligible for the Pell Grant. It is awarded to students from all higher education institutions, including junior and community colleges, four-year colleges and universities. The grant is available to associate degree students enrolled in both full-time and part-time programs. Another important thing is that it does not matter whether you are a dependent student or not. You are still eligible, if you are financially independent from your family. There are a number of additional criteria that you have to meet for eligibility no matter whether you are pursuing an associate degree or another type of undergraduate degree.

Firstly, the school you are enrolled in has to participate in the Federal Pell Grant Program. You have to be a US citizen or a US national. Some non-citizens are also eligible. The other important criterion for eligibility is the type of associate degree program you are enrolled in. The course must lead to the receipt of a degree, diploma or certificate.

As a student on an associate degree course, you can apply for a Pell Grant in the standard manner. You need to fill in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your expected family contribution (EFC) will determine whether you are eligible for the grant. Usually, your EFC has to be below $5,273 in order to get the scholarship. Still, it is important for you to apply even if you think that your expected family contribution may be higher. If you are eligible for a Pell Grant, you will receive it automatically. No further applications are required.

There is one important thing that students pursuing an associate degree should take into account when applying for a Pell Grant. You can receive the financial aid during both years of your study program, provided that you are eligible. It is also possible for you to receive a Pell Grant for another two years, if you decide to purse a 4-year bachelor’s degree after you have been awarded a diploma for your associate degree. It is definitely worth keeping this in mind. You should not miss any opportunity for external funding, if you decide to enroll for a bachelor’s degree.

You can apply for a Pell Grant if you are pursuing an associate degree. If you meet all the other criteria for eligibility, you should not miss to seize this opportunity. Just make sure you apply as early in the application cycle as possible. This is one way of getting a larger amount of funding.

Can You Get Extra Pell Grant Money for Attending a More Expensive School?

The awarding and disbursing of federal student aid have been simplified, but the process is still complex. A lot of students who are eligible for a Pell Grant find it difficult to figure out how much money they will get and what the sum will be applied to. It is perfectly normal for you to ask whether you can get larger funding if you have to pay more in the form of tuition fees.

The amount of the Pell Grant awarded to each student depends on a number of factors. The family expected contribution (EFC) is the most important one. The lower it is the more money you will receive. The cost of attendance is taken into account as well. Hence, if you transfer to a school which is more expensive, you will be eligible for receiving a larger sum. However, this is subject to a number of conditions. The most important one is for the new school to participate in the Federal Pell Grant Program.

There is yet another important detail that you must take into account. The Pell Grant has a ceiling. It has been raised and now it is $5,550. This means that irrespective of the size of your cost of attendance, the maximum amount of money you can receive for an academic year is $5,550. Basically, if your tuition fees are larger than this sum, you will have to pay the outstanding balance. In case, they are less than this amount, you will receive the remainder personally. You can use this remaining sum to cover any expenses related to your education.

Generally, if you intend to choose a school on the basis of the Pell Grant funding you will get, you have two different options. You can either go to an educational institution with a lower cost of attendance or choose to pay higher tuition fees to receive the maximum sum of the scholarship. In the first case you will have at least some money left to pay for room and boarding, books and even a new computer. If you choose to get the largest possible sum and it does not cover your cost of attendance, you have to make sure that you can pay the remainder. In addition, keep in mind that your EFC will also determine the amount of Pell Grant money you will get. The higher it is the smaller your funding will be.

It is very important for you to manage your money for college well. You have to calculate carefully how much the entire cost will be, including the smaller expenses. Then you can decide how to spend the Pell Grant in the most efficient way possible. You should not despair if you do not get the maximum or if it does not cover the entire cost of attendance. There is additional federal financial aid available. You can get other scholarships as well as loans. You can also explore the financial aid opportunities offered by your school and the local government in your state.

Why Did I Miss Out? I Pell Grant Denied | Pell Grants

For all candidates that successfully secure Pell Grants, there are a number of students that go away disappointed. This is only natural – after all, Pell Grants don’t have to be repaid, which makes them one of the most popular grants in the country. The good news is that if you miss out one year, you can always try again the following year. There are also some things you can look out for to make sure your application stands a good chance.

The Early Bird Gets The Worm!

It’s true that applying for Pell Grants online has made the entire process faster and easier. But it’s still a good idea to get your application sent out as soon as possible. Many people end up making a mad scramble at the last minute, trying to get all the right documentation ready to be sent. Often times, this leads to a shoddy application and this is one reason why some applicants miss out. Bear in mind that Pell Grants are sought after by thousands of people across the country, it’s best to get your application in soon.

It’s also interesting to note that many applicants lose out because they just don’t qualify in the first place. Pell Grants are given to only those applicants who are deemed to have the most need of financial assistance – this is decided according to the amount of money the family brings in each year, the number of dependants, whether the student also works and a number of other factors. If your family’s annual income exceeds a certain amount, it will reduce your eligibility for the grant.

The Documentation Station

Ensuring that your documentation is correct is essential to a successful grant application. You will need to provide things like tax forms, financial documents and W2s so make sure that these are in proper order. If you are a student, it might be best to get your parents or your financial aid advisor to help you get your documentation ready. Once you’ve got everything filled and ready, you can send it off, right? Not just yet – it’s always a good idea to make a copy of everything first, especially if you are sending the documents via post. This way, you can quickly send another set if the first application goes missing in mail.

Filling in the application can be a very overwhelming task for some students – however, there are a number of information resources that can help. The FAFSA website has a lot of helpful information on how to fill in the application. You can also approach your school counselor or financial aid officer to help you.

It’s also important to note that some colleges don’t come under the Pell Grant umbrella – if you are keen on attending a certain institution, make sure that it is compatible with Pell Grants. If you do get a grant, make sure that you don’t default on it. If you drop out of school, then you will have to repay the grant amount. This will also make it harder for you to secure a Pell Grant again in future.

Where To Look For Pell Grants

Pell Grants are among the most sought-after scholarships in the country. This is due to a number of reasons – for one, you don’t need to repay the amount. Apart from that, the conditions to apply for these grants are more relaxed when compared to other forms of aid. If you are looking for some funding for your higher education, a Pell Grant is certainly an option to give a try. However, it’s important to know where to get the right information and application forms for these grants.

The FAFSA Factor

When you apply for a Pell Grant, you will need to fill in an application form known as FAFSA – that stands for Free Application for Student Aid. There are two important things to bear in mind about this application – first, it’s free. Be wary of anyone who asks you for money for these applications. Second, there is no specific application for the Pell Grant – your eligibility will be decided according to the information you provide on this application.

There are four ways to get a FAFSA application. You can do it the old-fashioned way and write to the US Department of Education for it. You will need to address your request to the Federal Student Aid Information Center in Washington and specify the award you want. You can also call the Aid Hotline at 1-800-4-FED-AID.

Schools And Libraries

Majority of post-secondary schools have a financial aid office that can supply you with an application form and any other information you need. If you get your application from your school, it will be specially stamped with the school’s code. If you have trouble filling out the form, you can ask your financial aid advisors to help you with that, as well. High school students should specially ask their school counselor for help with FAFSA applications. Many people are unaware that libraries also supply FAFSA applications. These forms are usually kept near the tax forms – if you can’t find them, ask at the information desk.

The fourth way to apply for a Pell Grant is to go via the internet. At the FAFSA website, students can fill in their application online – this has a number of advantages. For one, it saves an enormous amount of time – you don’t have to worry about missing deadlines because of postal delays; you can literally submit your application in seconds. You also don’t have to worry about your application going missing in the mail. The website also allows you to save an incomplete form so that if you are busy with something else, you can complete it later. It’s also worth noting that online applications are processed much quicker than paper ones.

Pell Grants are given by taking into consideration the student’s need. This includes various factors like family income, number of dependants in the family and whether the student works, as well. At the end of the day, these grants are a welcome monetary boost. There is nothing to lose and everything to gain by applying for Pell Grants.

How Is Your Pell Grant Award Determined?

Every year a large number students belonging to the low and middle income groups, apply for state financial aid to complete their studies. The Pell Grant is one such aid. It helps students complete their graduate studies. It has been noticed that usually students belonging to families that earn less than $20,000 annually are awarded this grant. However, this is a general view.

Various factors determine the amount that is awarded to a student. The Pell Grant is awarded on the basis of the following three criteria:

1. The Expected Family Contribution or EFC

As the term suggests, this refers to the amount of funds that the student’s family can contribute towards education. The EFC is arrived at by using a formula. The various factors that are included in computing EFC are:

• The income of the student and the parents (if the student is dependent)
• The number of members working in the family
• The value of the assets of the student and parents
• Bank balance
• The quantum of income tax paid
• The number of family members: there is an allowance for every addition to the number of members
• The number of college students in the family: The EFC is halved for every additional person studying in college
• Age of the parents: The older the parents, the higher the grant given

2. The Cost of Attendance (COA)
The cost of attendance will include all the expenses that the student will incur to complete his graduate studies. This would usually include:
• Tuition Fees: The tuition fees paid by the student to the school for the academic year are predictably included in the COA. The fees paid by the student for services such as library facility or health centre are also included in the COA.
• Books and Supplies: The books that a student uses for his studies are added to the cost. As are the supplies such as paper, pens, pencils, CDs or floppy disks amongst others.
• Housing and Boarding expenses: For the students not living at home, the cost of housing will include the rent paid for the room they live in and the cost of eating.
• Personal expenses: Personal expenses such as that of laundry, medical expenses and insurance also are included in the COA.
• Cost of commuting: The student will have to incur some expenses in traveling from his house to the campus. This may be a daily expense for the student. Where the student lives on campus, he will usually visit his home at least once a year.

3. The student status
Students who pursue a full-time course receive a higher grant amount than students who pursue part-time courses.

Determining The Quantum Of Award

The EFC is subtracted from the COA to decide whether the student is eligible for the grant. The balance arrived at also helps to determine the amount of the grant. The higher the EFC, the lower the grant awarded. The student status, that is, whether the student is pursuing a full time or part time course will also have an impact on the grant awarded. In the current academic year of 2010-11, the maximum Pell Grant amount is $5,550.

Tips To Fill The Pell Grant Application Quickly And Correctly

To apply for Pell Grant you would have to fill in the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form. You can obtain this form from various places such as the financial aid office or high school counselor’s office at your school, the local library, or on the Internet. If you are looking at getting financial aid, you will inevitably have to take out time to fill in forms.

Here are some suggestions and checklists to make the process simpler for you –

• Talk to your school’s financial aid advisor to make sure that you meet the eligibility criteria.
• The sooner you apply the better. The Federal Government allocates limited funds towards the Pell Grant. The funds are distributed amongst the needy students on a first-come-first-serve basis. Thus, if the funds run out before your application reaches the office, you will not receive the grant.
• Get an idea of how the FAFSA is structured before beginning to fill it in. You will need a variety of information from your parents (if you are a dependent). Details of different documents will also be needed.
• Once you know what documents and information are required, you can collect them. If the required data is close at hand, the process of filling the form is much faster. A checklist of the data that you would require include:

• Social Security Number
• Driver’s license
• 2009 W-2 Forms and other records of money earned
• 2009 Federal Income Tax Return of yourself and your spouse (if you are married)
• IRS 1040, 1040A, 1040 EZ
• Foreign Tax Return, or
• Tax Return for Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Federal States of Micronesia, or Palau
• your Parents´ 2009 Federal Income Tax Return (if you are a dependent)
• Untaxed income records of 2009
• Veteran’s benefits records
• Child support received
• Worker’s compensation
• Social Security
• Temporary Assistance to Needy Families
• Current bank statements
• Other financial information such as investments made in stocks, bonds and other assets, business and farm records and data relating to your current business and investment mortgage
• Alien registration or permanent resident card (if you are an eligible non-citizen)

• When you begin to fill out the form, remember to carefully read the instructions. If you are applying online, you can save the information you have entered. Thereafter you can resume filling the application any time within the next 45 days.

• Once you have filled the form, take out a printout of the filled in application. If you are sending the Pell Grant application via mail, take Xerox copies of the application. The copies will be a great boon if your application goes missing or if you want to later refer to some information in it.

The Pell Grant application that you have submitted will be reviewed. In two weeks to a month’s time, you will receive an SAR (Student Aid Report). This report will let you know whether you are eligible for the Pell Grant or not. If you are eligible, you will know how much aid you can expect.

How To Get Pell Grant Refunds

If you are a college student belonging to low-income group and are looking for financial help to afford the cost of higher education, you may qualify for Pell Grant. Pell Grant is financial aid for education provided by federal Government. However, there are certain requirements that a student must meet in order to qualify for such grants. The process is to fill out the FAFSA application form either online or on paper. Based on the personal and financial information that you provide on your application form, the financial aid officials will determine whether you qualify or not. In most cases, you do not get the money in hand. The money is directly transferred to the school or college where you are enrolled in a particular graduate degree course. Your college will use this money to cover the course fee. However, if the course fee is less than the amount of the Pell Grant, the additional amount is refunded back to you. In most cases, the school or the college has an automated system that transfers the additional amount automatically to the student. But, in some cases, you may have to contact your college officials to get the Pell Grant refunds. Therefore, it is always advisable to be aware of the policies your college follows regarding Pell Grant money. The following tips will help you get the refund in time without any hassle.

Give Them A Call

When you find that the amount of the Pell Grant exceeds your actual tuition cost, the first thing you should do is to give a call to the Bursar and financial aid office of your school and enquire about the same. In order to avoid any confusion, it is always advisable to ask for their policy about the refund. In general, there are two ways to refund the extra amount. If your bank account is in your school record, they may deposit the money directly into your bank account. Alternatively, the school authority may mail the refund to your physical address.

When To Expect

The right time to expect the Pell Grant refunds is the beginning of the semester or quarter. At the time when the semester is about to start, the school officials review your application form and the money you have received as Pell Grant in order to see whether the amount is sufficient enough to fund the course. You are eligible for a refund if the amount of Pell Grant is more than what you need to pay as course fee.

What If You Drop The Course

Sometimes, you may decide to drop a particular course and get enrolled in another course in another school. If you do this before the semester starts, you are eligible to get a full refund from the school. You can then use this money to pay the cost of the new course.

However, if you change your mind after the semester has already started, you will be able to receive only partial refund. It is entirely up to the school to decide how much they want to refund to you.