A Pell Grant is a non-repayable (i.e. free) monetary award given to select students based on financial need. The Pell Grant is given directly to the student from a pool of funds available at the school, so it is important that the recipient apply as soon as possible – when the funds are depleted for the year, they are depleted.
The Pell Grant is given to students pursuing an undergraduate degree – it is not intended for graduate work. There are other programs available for graduates.
The amount of the Pell Grant award varies depending on the student’s financial need and the cost of the college, but the maximum is $5,550 per year. There are special circumstances where the Pell Grant award can be paid twice in one year to help the student accelerate their degree.
If a student’s parent or guardian died in combat in Iraq or Afghanistan post 9/11, the student may be automatically eligible for the maximum Pell Grant payout. The rules are straight forward, the student either needs to have been 24 or younger at the time of death or enrolled at least half time.
How Will I Get the Pell Grant Funds?
If the eligibility requirements are met, then the Pell Grant funds will either paid directly to you via a check or credited directly into your student account at your school. This will depend on the requirements of the institution and the needs of the student.
Pell Grant funding is not for everyone; however, every student should check to see if they are eligible. A $5,550 per year Pell Grant, (especially since it is “free”) will go a long way toward paying for a college education. A Pell Grant is an important piece of the overall financing package a student receives and should be pursued vigorously.