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.