Pell Grant is an educational grant given by the US Federal Government to low income families with average income of up to $60,000. Pell grant prioritizes families with lower average incomes who experience more financial difficulties especially in paying for college tuition fees. Families with incomes of less than $20,000 account for more than 57% of all grants awarded in 2006.
The Federal Government courses the Pell Grant Money through accredited institutions. These accredited institutions have two ways of giving the Pell Grants to students. First is disburse the grant to the students school account, and second is to give the money to the student, usually covered by a check. Pell Grant is paid every term period.
The Pell Grant is computed using a standard formula created by the US Department of Education. The average Pell Grant paid to students per term is averaged $2,970 in the school year 2008-2009. For the school year 2010-2011, Pell Grant Money given to students range from $550 to $5,550. Factors that affect the size of grant given to a student are family size, the parents income and assets if the student is dependent on the parents, the number of children supported by the parents who attend post-secondary education, the cost attendance, and if applicable, the income of the student if he is supporting himself for college.
Can You Claim Unused Pell Grant Money?
Many people end up having excess Pell Grant. For example, they are awarded $5,000 in Pell Grant, but the cost of attendance is only $1,500 per semester. If the school has two semesters, that leaves the students an excess of unused $2,000 in Pell Grant. If you have excess Pell Grant, you cannot DIRECTLY claim this in cash. The Financial Aid Office limits the use of Pell Grant for COST OF ATTENDANCE ONLY. What you can do is to reimburse this excess fund using receipts that fall under Cost of Attendance. This includes boarding fees, transportation fees, books, computers, daily allowance for food, and other miscellaneous fees related to school. Pell Grant will likewise cover expenses like supplies, fuel, and software that are directly related to school.
What if the Pell Grant was Disbursed to the School?
If your Pell Grant was directly disbursed to your school account, excess of it will be issued by your school through a check if all your tuition, fees, boarding, and other education-related expenses have been paid. The excess Pell Grant Money is legitimately yours, assuming that they make up for the various Cost of Attendance you paid for independently. If you have excess Pell Grant balance since Fall, the school will normally give you part of the Pell Grant, and keep the rest for you to use the following semesters in spring and summer.
Get financial assistance from your government to get you through college. To apply for a Pell Grant, start by submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA, accessible through this website fafsa.ed.gov. Application for the FAFSA is free.