Should I apply for Pell Grant before or after divorce?

A Pell Grant is an educational grant given to students belonging to low-income families who wish to acquire higher education. Qualifying for this kind of educational grant is useful for those who want to further their education but cannot afford to do so without financial aid. The maximum grant for the years 2010 to 2011 is $5,550, though it is predicted to increase in the next several years due in part to tuition fee increases. Since it is much more expensive now to acquire higher education, the grant does not cover as many credits as it used to but nonetheless, it is still very helpful for those who badly need the aid.

Anyone wishing to apply for Pell Grant must prove that he or she is in need of financial aid. Students from families that make less than $41,000 per annum are eligible to apply for this grant. It is important to note, however, that students are not allowed to use the grant funds for receiving education from more than one educational institution. If you are thinking of applying for this grant but you are about to get a divorce or you are in the process of applying for a divorce, then you must be wondering if you should apply before or after your divorce has been finalized.

It actually does not matter when you apply for Pell Grant, as the amount you are going to receive won’t be affected by the divorce process. Even if your divorce has not been finalized yet, as long as you indicate in your application that you are separated, your ex-husband’s income won’t be counted anymore. While most people recommend applying for the grant until after the divorce has been finalized, as you will be eligible to get more funds, it is not necessary. Even if you have kids and you want to add them to your dependents list to strengthen your application, your separation will not affect how much you are going to receive. All you have to do is make sure to indicate you are separated and your kids will still be listed as your dependents. However, you are eligible to receive more if you are the sole provider for your children. It is also worth noting that your kids will only be eligible to become dependents on your grant application if you provide for 50% of their education and needs.

If you want to apply for Pell Grant, make sure to read all the terms that apply to it so that you know exactly what you are eligible for. Make sure to provide accurate information in your application or you may end up forfeiting the grant altogether. Pursuing higher education during a divorce is actually quite admirable, though you have to keep in mind that the separation process is enough to remove your husband’s profit from your yearly income. You can apply for Pell Grant at any time during the separation process, though it would be easier to present proof of this if you have already started with the divorce process it does not necessarily have to be finalized when you apply.


  • 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.

2 thoughts on “Should I apply for Pell Grant before or after divorce?”

  1. very minor point but kind of close to a sore point.
    many people assume that the women is the one being left in a divorce.
    These days that is not always the case.
    the above article should not say your ” husband”, in regards to finances being a determining point to the availability to the grant! It should say “spouse”!!!
    She left me after 29 years. Your point about the impact is clear though.

  2. If I’m divorced no kids and I bring in 19k a year and I’ll be receiving 15k alimony a year, do I stand a chance at a pell grant? I have rent and a car payment.

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