When it comes to getting a higher education, many people think that it’s just not in their budget. However, that may not necessarily be the case. That’s because there are a variety of financial aid opportunities available that the government offers. One specific opportunity is a Pell Grant. This grant can give students up to $6,895 a year in financial support. The best part? Since these funds are grants, they do not need to be repaid! Sadly, many students don’t even realize that this option is available. That is why it is important to make sure you understand this support opportunity and how you may be able to benefit.
What is a Pell Grant?
These grants have been around for a long time. In fact, they originated back in 1965 through the Higher Education Act. The goal of this act was to provide more support to middle class and low income students trying to get a higher education. Currently, the Pell Grant can provide up to $6,895 for July 1st, 2022 to June 30th, 2023.
How to Get a Pell Grant?
If you have an interest in getting a Pell Grant then you will need to submit an application for one! Luckily, it’s super easy to apply for a Pell Grant. In order to submit an application, you will need to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Not only can this application determine your Pell Grant eligibility, but it can also see if you are eligible for other forms of financial aid! If you are able to get a Pell Grant, you will need to resubmit your FAFSA every year that you wish to maintain your eligibility and continue to receive one.
Is There a Deadline to Submit Your Application?
While there isn’t a deadline per say, a good rule of thumb is to fill out your FAFSA as soon as possible. That’s because your FAFSA can be used as an application for additional financial aid opportunities that may have deadlines or limits in funding. Overall there are FAFSA deadlines to be aware of that impact other financial aid opportunities besides the Pell Grant. You can get more information on these deadlines by reaching out to the financial aid office at your school. You can also review the deadlines online by visiting this website.
Who Qualifies for a Pell Grant?
The Pell Grant is designed to help students in need, that means it is not available to anybody. Some eligibility requirements that students will need to meet includes:
- The ability to demonstrate financial need.
- Having an eligible citizenship status.
- Being an undergraduate student either full time or part time. That means they cannot have earned their bachelor’s degree, graduate degree, or professional degree.
- If not an undergraduate student then being enrolled in a postbaccalaureate teacher certification program (only in some cases).
We know we may sound like a broken record! However, it’s important to remember that if you are eligible to receive a Pell Grant, you will need to resubmit your FAFSA every year in order to maintain your eligibility.
There are instances where a student can count themselves as ineligible. Individuals that will not be able to get a Pell Grant are people that are:
- Incarcerated in a state or federal prison.
- Subject to an involuntary civil commitment upon completion of a period in jail for a forcible (or nonforcible) sexual offense.
How Much Can You Get?
You want to remember that the amount that a Pell Grant is worth can vary by year. For example, for the 2021 to 2022 school year, a Pell Grant was worth $6,495. However, for the 2022 to 2023 school year, a Pell Grant will be worth $6,895. This is $400 more that students can get compared to the previous year! However, this is just the maximum amount. The specific amount that a student will actually get will depend on their level of financial need.
The Pell Grant can only provide support to a student for 12 semesters. 12 semesters roughly translates to 6 years. For the 2022 to 2023 school year, if you were able to get the maximum amount for all 12 semesters (and there is no change in the Pell Grant amount) then the most that you could get out of this financial support opportunity is roughly $40,000 (give or take).
How Will You Get Your Funds?
The school that you go to will determine how you will receive your federal Pell Grant funds. Some schools apply the grant funds directly to the student’s school costs. On the other hand, some schools pay the student directly or even use a combination of these two payment methods. You will want to get in touch with your school to learn more about how they will handle your Pell Grant funds.
Will You Ever Need to Repay Your Pell Grant?
Most of the time, you will not need to repay your Pell Grant back. That’s because the form of this financial aid is a grant. Grants are a form of financial assistance that basically act as a free gift of money to qualifying students. However, there can be instances where a student will need to repay their grant. Some scenarios where that would be the case include:
- You withdrew from the school so no longer need student financial aid
- The enrollment status changed which can impact your grant amount
- You got additional financial aid which would impact your level of financial need
Students in financial need may think that getting a higher education is out of their budget. However, that may not be the case. Thanks to the federal Pell Grant, qualifying students that maintain eligibility can receive up to $6,895 a year in funds that do not need to be repaid. However, this amount is subject to change every year! If you have any questions about financial aid you will want to get in touch with your school’s financial aid office. From there, you can get help on filling out your FAFSA to apply and get any questions you have answered.