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.