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Federal Pell Grants and How You Can Get One

 ◙  July 29, 2020  |   Posted by:  |  Written by: Victoria M.  |  Related: Student Financial Assistance

Federal Pell Grants tend to be awarded to students who are in undergraduate school and who have not earned a professional degree. Many students who are enrolled in a post-baccalaureate teacher certification program can be eligible to apply for the Pell Grant.

Anyone currently incarcerated in a federal or state prison is not eligible to receive a Pell Grant. Also, if you are under an involuntary civil commitment after completing your sentence for a sex offense, you are not eligible.

Unlike with loans, you don't need to repay a grant. It's important to state that you may have to repay a grant under certain circumstances. Here are some of the reasons you might need to repay a grant:

A change in enrollment status that reduced your eligibility;

• You received a scholarship and grant money that reduced the need for federal student aid,
• You didn't complete the program for which you received the grant, and
• You didn't meet the requirements of your TEACH Grant.

How Do You Apply?

Applicants need to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. This form needs to be filled out each year you are in school. You are not eligible for any type of federal student aid without submitting this form.

How Much Aid Can I Get?

The amounts of the award can change yearly. Usually, by late February, the amount of maximum aid for the following year is announced. The maximum grant amount a student can get for the 2017-2018 award year is $5,920. The maximum amount of money for the 2018-2019 award year is also $5,920.

The amount you receive depends on the following factors:

• The cost of attending the school,
• Your financial need,
• Whether you’re enrolled as a full-time or part-time student, and
• Whether you are attending the school for the full academic school year or not

In certain circumstances, eligible students can get as much as 150 percent of their slated Pell Grant award.

For example, you can get a $2,000 Pell Grant for the year when enrolled in both semesters. You will get a $1,000 in the fall and $1,000 in the spring. However, you may be eligible to receive a $1,000 Pell Grant for the summer program. This is called receiving a "year-round Pell".

Students are only reliable to receive the Federal Pell Grant for six years or no more than 12 semesters. You will be notified if you are close to reaching your limit. Contact your school's financial aid office if you need any assistance or have questions about the Pell Grant.

If you can receive a Pell Grant, you will receive the grant amount that you qualified for. The U.S. Department of Education sends participating schools enough money to pay out the grant money to all the students who are eligible to receive it. Any other student aid you might qualify to receive won't affect the amount of your Pell Grant.

I heard I may be able to get a larger Pell Grant if I had a parent die in Afghanistan or Iraq? Is that true?

It depends. Your parent or guardian must have served in the armed services whose death is due to their military service in Afghanistan or Iraq. You parent or guardian must have served in Afghanistan or Iraq after 9/11. You must meet the following criteria. At the time of your guardian or parent's death, you need to be:

• Under 24 years old or
• Enrolled in college or a trade school at least part-time

Your eligibility is calculated like your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is zero. However, you must meet the previously mentioned requirements and can receive the Pell Grant. The grant amount changes if you aren't enrolled full-time.

If you don't qualify to receive a Pell Grant because your EFC is too high but meet the other requirements, you might want to consider applying for another grant. The Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant is available to children of service members.

How Do I Get the Grant Money?

Your school applies the grant funds to your school's tuition, you get paid directly, or it's a combination of the two.

How Do I Maintain the Grant?

You need to remain enrolled in your undergraduate course of study a U.S. school to get the Federal Pell Grant. You also need to submit a FAFSA form each year you are in school to maintain your eligibility for aid.

When you have earned your baccalaureate degree, professional degree, or used up your 12-semester allotment, you are no longer able to get Pell Grant assistance.


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