The college education can give you better career opportunities and a lot of other social and financial benefit. Still, it is expensive to get a higher education degree. That is why you should consider all sources of financing available. The Pell Grant can really help you financially throughout college. You should definitely learn more about it and find out what makes it different from a regular grant.
The Pell Grant is a scholarship available from the Federal Government through the US Department of Education. This is the main difference between this type of funding and the one provided directly by educational institutions and by local governments. However, the funds are awarded through the participating college. This means that if you get the grant, you will receive the money from your school. They have the option to determine whether to deduce the funds from your tuition fees or give the entire or part of the sum directly to you.
Another difference between the Pell Grant program and other programs is that the funds are awarded on the basis of the student’s income. This scholarship is exclusively available to undergraduate students from low-income families, even though some post graduate students may also be eligible depending on the type of course they are attending. After you apply, the information on your Application for Federal Student Aid will be taken into account and your eligibility will be determined with the use of a standard formula which calculates what your expected family contribution (EFC) can be. In most cases, the income and assets of parents are taken into account. However, when the student is self-dependent their personal details are considered.
You should keep in mind that your grades from school, SAT scores and recommendations are not taken into account for the determination of your eligibility for the Pell Grant. This is a major difference between this scholarship and the ones offered by most colleges. Other factors are not relevant as well. You simply have to be considered as a student from a low-income family to get the grant.
The maximum amount of money that a student can get for a single school year with the Pell Grant is $5,550. This is the figure for the 2010-2011 school year. The sum you will be granted depends on your financial needs, as calculated by the EFC formula. Generally, the Pell Grant is larger than most grants offered by local governments and the actual educational institutions. This is a major difference that you should take into account as well.
Another factor which makes the Pell grant different from most other scholarships is that the schools that distribute it are obliged to disburse the funds at least two times a during the school year. Usually, the money is available every semester. This is a great benefit for all those who are on a really tight budget.
Last, but not least, it is possible for any student to receive two Pell Grant awards during a single award year. This option is designed to help you accelerate the program you are following to your degree.