It is not uncommon for a child and one of his/her parents to enroll in college together. If both of them manage to receive a Pell Grant, they will really have a less problematic start at school. Indeed, the family budget will be relieved to a great extent. Still, both parties should know how the Pell Grant sum they receive is determined. The parent and the child should be aware of the ways in which their individual financial aid eligibility is affected by the eligibility of the other. In this way, both of them will be able to manage their finances more effectively.
If the child is not dependent on their parent’s finances, then the two have separate expected family contribution (EFC) information and scores. This means that the Pell Grants received by both students are determined separately. As a result, any changes in the financial or student status circumstances of the parent or the child will not affect the scholarship received by the other party.
This is usually not the case when the child student is financially dependent on the parent who is also pursuing a degree. If any of them drops out of school for whatever reason, this means that the expected family contribution status of the other changes automatically. For instance, if the parent decides to quit, then the family will have more funds available to support the child student. Similarly, if the child drops out of school, the parent will automatically have fewer expenses and higher income which increases their EFC. As a result, the size of the Pell Grant received can be changed accordingly.
Still, there is no reason for the student who is still attending school to become ineligible for the funding. The other one, however, will not receive the Pell Grant any more. It is even possible for the quitting student to have to return part of the sum they have already received as part of the scholarship.
Generally, the whole situation with a child and parent attending one college and receiving Pell Grants can be quite complex. Most schools follow standard practices in such cases, but they have their own rules as well. In addition, the college may have taken into account the special circumstance of both parent and child pursuing a degree. In turn, specific arrangements may be applicable. For these reasons, if you are in one of the situations described above, you should contact your school’s financial aid office to clarify matters for you. The staff should be able to explain whether your Pell Grant will be affected and how.
Overall, you should not leave any student or related financial matters unresolved. It is hard for both a parent and a child to attend college at the same time, but as long as you can manage your Pell Grant and your other finances, you will be fine. If you cannot find the information and answers you need in the general guides, you should not hesitate to contact the financial aid office of your school.