What Happens after You Are Awarded a Pell Grant – How Does the Process Work?

Going to college is a lot different than going to high school. You are responsible for a lot more things including your financial matters. You are lucky enough to have received a Federal Pell Grant. This means that you will be able to take advantage of the sum to aid your education financially.

It is perfectly natural for most students to be confused about what they have to do once they are awarded the scholarship. Here is a quick guide on how things work and what you can do on your part.

You have to receive confirmation that you are eligible for a Pell Grant. This usually happens in the form of a Student Aid Report (SAR) sent directly to you or in the form of an Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR) available to the financial aid office in your school.

If you are not notified formally, you can readily contact the office and ask them about your status. Once you are approved for the grant, you will receive it automatically. You do not have to fill in an additional form.

The time between your approval and the actual receipt of the money can be up to ten weeks or even more. That is why students are advised to apply for a Pell Grant as early as possible. The educational institutions are obliged to make payments each term.

This means that the entire amount of the grant you receive will be split into equal portions for each term. Since most schools have a fall and a spring semester only, their students get half of the sum in the fall and the other half in the spring.

It is common practice for colleges to apply for the Pell Grant directly towards your cost of attendance (tuition fees plus any additional school fees). If there is an outstanding amount, you will receive it directly in the form of a check. It is not typical, but some schools apply only a fraction of the Pell Grant towards your tuition fees.

They give you the rest directly. It is also possible for you to get the entire sum personally, even though this is highly unlikely. You have to check with your school’s financial aid office what their method of disbursement is.

You are advised to wait for the Pell Grant to be applied to your tuition fees and not to pay them out of your pocket if you have the money. In this case, you will not be left without money until the sum is disbursed directly to you. Keep in mind that you cannot lose the grant once it has been awarded to you, but it is best to use it for its main purpose – to cover your cost of attendance.

If any tuition fee payment deadlines are approaching, you should contact your school’s financial aid office for help. They should be able to tell you when the Pell Grant will be applied to your account.

Overall, the process is automatic, so you do not have to do anything special. Still, it is a good idea for you to keep your Pell Grant funding and your finances under control.


  • 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.

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