Loads of people pass on pursuing a higher education. This can be for many different reasons, but a common one is due to just how expensive it is. However, there may be supportive resources that get overlooked that can help with this cost. One resource in particular is a Pell Grant and it’s providing thousands of dollars to students in need. In fact, it can help people by giving them up to $7,395 (this amount is in regards to the current award year). Keep in mind this number could change! In fact, there have even been talks about raising this number for the next award year. Besides the amount, there are loads of benefits that come along with a Pell Grant. So it’s important to know what this opportunity is! That’s why we wanted to do a deep dive into this topic within this article.
Your Guide to Pell Grants
For decades, Pell Grants have been helping students get some support when it comes to the high costs of education. In fact, this resource was created specifically with the goal to help students in mind. However, not just any students. The focus was on students who come from a background of financial struggle. This includes low income students and middle class students!
Steps to Getting This Grant
Just like any education resource from the government, students will need to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application is what will determine whether or not a student qualifies to receive this grant. However, this application is beneficial to fill out for other reasons as well. That’s because it will show whether or not a student is able to qualify for other assistance opportunities (basically any other student aid). You want to make sure you submit this application as soon as possible.
When it comes to maintaining eligibility, a FAFSA will also be important. That’s because students need to recertify in order to continue to prove their eligibility so they can benefit from student aid like a Pell Grant. For relevant timelines on when would be best to fill out this application you will want to get in touch with your school’s financial aid office! You can also try taking advantage of online resources like this one that details some deadlines that students should be mindful of. However, the best source will be directly with your school.
Eligibility Criteria for a Pell Grant
Not everyone will be able to take advantage of a Pell Grant. Instead, only those that meet certain qualifications will be able to see this support. First and foremost, income level is an important qualification. Like we said earlier, the focus of this grant is to help those that have financial struggles. Besides that, other factors that will play a role in determining eligibility include:
- Citizenship status
- Education status
- Criminal background
How Much Can You Get?
Like we said earlier, the Pell Grant amount that students can get for one year is up to $7,395. There are instances where a student may be able to get more than the maximum if they are enrolled in certain accelerated degree programs. The maximum amount is subject to change every year. For example, this amount is in regards to the 2023 to 2024 school year. However, for the 2022 to 2023 school year the maximum was $6,895. Even though these are the maximums, it’s important to keep in mind that the actual amount that a student will get depends on their specific situation. Not everyone will qualify for the maximum!.
There is also a length of time that this support can help for. This grant can only help students for 12 semesters (around 6 years of schooling). So in total for 6 years at the current maximum with no changes, students can get up to around $42,000 (a little bit more) in total.
How Will You Get Your Funds?
The way that students will be able to receive their funds depends on their school. Some setups that students see when it comes to how schools handle Pell Grant distributions includes:
- Providing the grant funds directly to students
- Applying the funds to a student’s school costs directly
- Using a combination of the two above methods
The best way to know how you will be able to get your grant funds is to check directly with your school. This can be done through their financial aid office.
Do Grants Ever Need to be Repaid?
Since Pell Grants are a type of grant, they are basically viewed as free money that doesn’t need to be repaid. While this is the case a majority of the time, there are still possibilities out there that require a student to repay some or all of their grant. Some situations where this could happen would include the following:
- The student’s enrollment status changed resulting in a change in the grant amount
- A student gets financial aid that can impact their overall financial need
- A student withdraws from the educational institution so financial aid for student costs is no longer needed
Regardless, like we said, it’s rare to need to repay. However, it does happen so you want to make sure you are in the loop with the terms of receiving a Pell Grant.
There are lots of resources out there when it comes to helping students handle the cost of a higher education. One opportunity in particular is a Pell Grant. This grant is providing up to $7,395 per year for students that meet eligibility criteria. In order for a student to find out whether or not they will be able to benefit, they will need to fill out a FAFSA. Luckily, these applications are free! A good rule of thumb is to send in an application as soon as possible. For more information, your school’s financial aid office would be a great place to start.