In the present times, the cost of education is on the rise. On average, the cost of a private college is $20,000 per annum. Even the cost of education at a public university or college averages around $10,000 per annum. Thus students who belong to lower-income families find it difficult to pursue higher education. Statistics reveal that only about 1/2 of the students from families with low income are able to earn a college degree. With a view to encouraging the continuation of education, the Federal Government introduced the Pell Grant.
The Pell Grant is a need-based financial aid for students who belong to lower-income families. The Federal Government earmarks certain funds for this grant each year. The quantum of funds varies from year to year. The grants are disbursed to the eligible students from this fund. However, there are certain criteria that one must meet in order to be eligible for the grant.
The criteria for Pell Grant Eligibility are discussed below.
• Financial status: The U.S. Department of Education discerns if the student needs financial help using a formula. This formula considers various factors and results in a figure (the Expected Family Contribution or EFC). This number helps to decide whether the student is eligible for the Pell grant. The factors which are used to arrive at the EFC are –
o The student’s income and assets (if the student is independent)
o The income and assets of the parents (if the student is independent)
o The size of the family
o The number of family members pursuing post-secondary education
• Citizenship: The student must be a U.S citizen or an eligible non-citizen. An eligible non-citizen is a person who fulfills any one of the following conditions –
a) Is a U.S. permanent resident with an Alien Registration Card (I-551),
b) Is a conditional permanent resident with an I-551C card or
c) Has an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). The designation in the Record must be that of refugee, asylum granted, parole, or Cuban-Haitian entrant.
• Course of study: The students should be pursuing their undergraduate studies. They should not have obtained a bachelor’s degree or a professional degree. Students pursuing post-baccalaureate teacher certification programs are also eligible to apply for the Pell Grant.
• Institutions: There are approximately 5400 post-secondary institutions taking part in the process. The student must be enrolled in one of these institutions.
• Registration with Selective Service: A male student must be registered with the selective service. Alternatively, he must sign a statement of registration signifying that he need not write.
• Educational criterion: The student must have earned a high school diploma or a GED.
The student should not already be receiving the Pell Grant. However, he can be eligible for two grants if he is planning to undertake additional courses within that year to speed up his studies.
The Pell Grant is unlike a student loan because one is not required to pay it back. It has already helped millions of financially weak students in the pursuance of their studies.
Like student loans, Pell Grants are a very popular means of financing studies.
6 thoughts on “Are You Eligible For Pell Grants?”
I am 21 years old, live on my own, therefore MUST work full time. Why does everyone, including me, have to file as “dependent” for PELL, even though i file as INDEPENDENT on my taxes?? What does it matter what my parents make, it’s not like I see a dime, because like I said, I am grown, no longer their responsibility, and take care of myself, and I am BROKE. It takes every dime I earn to pay bills. So when I apply for PELL they tell me, “Well, you don’t make enough, but you and your dad COMBINED do.” ?!?!? SOOOO???? He has three children that live at home, he can’t afford to pay for my schooling! And you have to file that way every year until you are 24?!? I believe this is just another way to make you pay, when you can’t even afford it. I don’t see how anyone living on their own under the age of 24 is able to go to school. The only way for me to get pell is to quit my job and move back home with my parents. Who wants to do that? I think the system is STUPID, you should file for financial aid the same as you do on your taxes, especially since thats where your information is coming from.
I totally agree with you Meagan! It’s ABSOLUTELY ridiculous! It SHOULD BE BASED ON YOUR OWN TAXES IF YOU’RE NOT LIVING AT HOME ANYMORE…AND U SHOULDN’T HAVE TO WAIT TILL YOU’RE 24!
I need help
Can a parents gross income of 59,000.00 prevent a teen graduating H.S. and enrolled in college, from getting the Pell Grant?
I am a retired supervisor with the escambia county sheriffs department. I have been retired for ten years and I wish to get my criminal justice degree from The University Of Alabama. Myself and wife remembers of the Denny society. I love the university of Alabama because it is a first rate school. Contact Lisa’s Pritchett in the office of planned giving.our names are in a brick in coleman coliseum. Roll tide roll/
THIS WHOLE, COMPLICATED, RIDICULOUS PROCESS IS A NIGHTMARE!! MY DAUGHTER JUST WANTS TO LEARN AND GET A DEGREE! I AM A SINGLE MOM, A WIDOW..SHE WORKS SO WE CAN’T GET ANY HELP! THE COUNTRY IS GOING TO BE RUN BY THESE KIDS, AND UNFORTUNATELY THEY WON’T BE EDUCATED??? I CAN’T WRAP MY HEAD AROUND THIS!!!
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