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.