In the US, the federal government offers several scholarships, grants, and loans to students to enable them to take care of their educational expenses. One such aid is Pell grant. This grant is available to students belonging to low-income group. It is given on first come first basis and hence students are advised to apply early.
To get any federal aid, you must be a citizen of the US. You should be enrolled in an undergraduate program to get Pell grant. In some cases, postgraduate students may also get this grant. If you have already completed 4 years of college, then you cannot get Pell grant for attending any other undergraduate program. The other important condition is that you must have regular college attendance and your academic performance should be satisfactory.
How To Apply?
You should obtain the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form that is available in schools, colleges, and federal aid offices. You can also download this form at www.fafsa.ed.gov or you can fill the form online. The last date for submitting the application form is June 30, 2012.
How Is The Grant Determined?
It is a need based financial aid given to the students to pursue undergraduate programs. The main factors on which the grant depends are –
• Family income (dependent students) or personal income (independent students)
• Size of the household
• Number of family members attending college
• Cost of attending the college
• Whether you are a student of full time or part time course
• Age of parents
What Is The Maximum Amount That You Can Receive?
There is a budget for Pell grant that is set each year by the US Department of Education. The maximum amount you can receive depends on the Pell grant budget. According to the legislation the students can receive maximum $5,800 as Pell grant. Last year, $5,550 was the maximum amount awarded for Pell grant. For 2011-2012, the maximum is $5,550.
How Can I Increase My Pell Grant Amount?
Pell grant offered is COA (Cost of attendance) – EFC (Expected family contribution). If your EFC is low, then you are eligible for a higher Pell grant. EFC is calculated using your personal or family income, investments, and assets. If you have fewer investments in your or your family’s name, your EFC will reduce. This may increase your grant amount.
Who Can Be Disqualified From Pell Grant?
• Drug conviction: If while getting a Pell grant, you are convicted of possessing drugs or dealing with drugs, then you are disqualified.
• Incorrect information: If any of the information given in the Pell grant application form is found to be incorrect, you will be disqualified.
In short, you should apply for Pell grant only if your personal or family income is low. You can also apply for other grants while receiving Pell grant like Academic Competitive Grant or Smart Grant. All these aids and grants can help you to continue your higher education without any financial burden.