How the Pell Grant Works for Community College Students

There are scholarships designed exclusively for undergraduate students from low-income families. The Federal Pell Grant is available to any student enrolled in a community college, junior college, technical or career college provided that he/she meets a number of other criteria.

You should definitely look into the eligibility criteria, the application process, and the ways in which you can use the available funding.

You are eligible for the Pell Grant if you are a community college student enrolled in an educational program that leads to the awarding of a degree, diploma, or certificate. The duration of the course and its type (full-time or part-time) are not criteria for eligibility.

However, these factors will determine the amount of money you will receive, if you are awarded the grant. In addition, your community college must participate in the Federal Pell Grant Program.

You can apply for the scholarship using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You simply need to fill in your family’s financial details or your financial details if you are not a dependent student. When your expected family contribution (EFC) is calculated, you will be informed whether you are eligible for a Pell Grant or not.

If you are eligible, the scholarship is automatically awarded to you. The amount you will receive depends on the size of your EFC, the cost of a unit in your community college program, and the entire cost of attendance.

Your college is responsible for paying out the money from the grant to you. In most cases, the entire sum goes directly for covering your tuition expenses. If the amount is greater than these costs, you will be paid the remainder directly, usually in the form of a check. In some cases, the entire sum of the grant can be split between tuition and personal education costs.

This means that some of it will cover part of your college fees while the rest is available directly to you. It is also possible for you to get all Pell Grant money directly. You have to ask the financial aid office in your school which form of disbursement is applicable to you.

It is up to you to calculate how much of the grant will be available to you after your unit costs and other fees are covered. You are not supposed to return the remainder. You can spend it on anything related to your schooling – accommodation, textbooks and supplies, transportation, utilities, and food.

You should not view the Pell Grant money as a one-time gift that you can just waste. You will certainly need the money to manage your finances while studying.

All community college students eligible for and receiving Pell Grants can continue getting the scholarship if they enroll in a 4-year college or university degree program after completing successfully the 2-year community college course.

You will be able to apply for and receive the scholarship for another two years. You have to keep in mind this option if you decide to continue your higher education.


  • Hussain Shoaib

    Hussain Shoaib is an author and digital marketer with expertise in financial aid and education. He has extensive knowledge of the Pell grant and FAFSA, and has published numerous articles on these topics.

5 thoughts on “How the Pell Grant Works for Community College Students”

  1. I’ve been granted 5,350.00 in funds from A Federal Pell Grant. To attend Everst Institute, but I have checked out Everest College to go to Houston Community College. Where I intented to use the remainding amount left, to go to H.C.C. I was HOPING that, I would still be able to use the funds provided ($5,350.000). To attend Houston Community College. I have used $258.00 for my classes already from Everest. And my books and tuition totaled out to $2,273.37 due to a Genesis Lending fee of $467.00. In total with the $2,273.73. My school ID number for Everest where my funds sit is #835158008. PLease help me in retrieving my fundings to attend H.C.C . I know that I should still have $2,500.00 to help my schooling at Houston Community College.

  2. I read you can only Receive Pell Grant funding for One College at a Time; I’m not sure if you can Transfer the Grant between schools or not?

  3. Jonathan Cuevas, I think you should contact the FAFSA offices and tell them that you are switching schools. The reason is because FAFSA sends a check to the college you told them you will attend and so when you move, you must call their offices. Let me know if my suggestion is correct!

  4. Can these grants be used to pay off a debt at the college for education? I can not continue to go to school until this debt is paid off. My schoolwork is very important to me but I can’t continue.


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