$32 Billion Allocated For Pell Grants In 2016…
With over $32 billion allocated for the Pell Grant program this year, you are almost guaranteed to get your fair share! Over 8 million students will receive a Pell Grant this year. The average award amount will be $3,800, but can go as high as $5,900!
- An estimated $32 billion is allocated annually for the Pell Grant program.
- An estimated 8.4 million people are awarded a Pell Grant each year.
- Award amounts vary from $590 to $5,900.
- Average award amount is $3,800.
- Other awards which you may have received or qualify for will NOT affect the amount you receive via the Pell Grant.
- Pell Grants can renew for 12 semesters, or about 6 years.
Created as part of the “Higher Education Act of 1965,” the federal Pell Grant program was created to provide “need-based” grant awards to fund educational expenses for low-income undergraduate postsecondary college students. The only post-baccalaureate students eligible for the Pell Grant are those seeking a teacher certificate or license.
Any other federal financial aid awards which you qualify for or have received will NOT affect the amount of your Pell Grant award.
Pell Grants are a type of “direct-grant” which is awarded through the students higher education institution and directly to the student. Pell Grants are essentially free money and therefore never have to be repaid.
How much money can I get?
Pell Grant award amounts vary from $590 to $5,900 annually, with the average award amount right around $3,800. The exact amount of funds you will receive all come down to a few factors…
- Your financial need – After you apply for the Pell Grant via the FAFSA application, you will receive an “Expected Family Contribution” score. The lower your “EFC” score is, the more money you will receive.
- Tuition costs – The total cost of your tuition and attendance as determined by your college.
- Enrollment status – Whether you are enrolling as a full-time or part-time student.
- Attendance status – Whether you are attending for a full academic year or less.
- Patriotic hardship – those who had parents who died in the Iraq or Afghanistan conflicts may receive larger Pell Grant awards (see additional resources below).
How do I get paid?
Once you are determined eligible, you will then receive the full amount you qualify for via the financial aid office of your school. You will receive the money as a credit towards your school account, a direct payment via check, or a combination the two methods. All schools that participate in the Pell Grant program will receive enough funds to pay for all qualifying students.
Higher Educational Learning Institutions are required by law to pay out funds at least once per term (semester, trimester, or quarter), or twice per academic year.
- Students must show their financial need based on:
- Their parents’ income and assets (excluding real estate) assuming the student is dependent.
- The student’s income and assets (excluding home) assuming the student is independent.
- Family household size.
- The number of family members enrolled at undergraduate postsecondary institutions.
Checklist for getting a Pell Grant.
Pell Grants are distributed via your college. After filling out the FAFSA (Pell Grant application) you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) which will notify you if you are eligible for a Pell Grant and what your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) score is. Take this SAR report, send it to your college, and the college will calculate your Pell Grant award amount.
3 Steps to Getting a Pell Grant
- First, check with your college to see if they are one of the 5,400 schools participating in the Pell Grant program. Call or visit the website of your schools financial aid office to see if they participate in the Pell Grant program. If they do, then it is your school that will take money from the U.S. Department of Education, and disperse it to you.
- Use the YouTube videos below for a quick tutorial on how the Pell Grant application process works. Once you fill out the FAFSA (Pell Grant application) online, you will then:
- Receive your Student Aid Report (SAR).
- Send in your SAR to your school (if not automatically done for you).
- Receive your Pell Grant via school credit, check, or a combination of the two.
- Call toll-free at: 1-800-433-3243 (1-800-4-FED-AID).
- For the hearing impaired please call: 1-800-730-8913.
- Non toll-free number: 319-337-5665.
Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant – Special Pell Grant benefits are available for the children of fallen Iraq and Afghanistan soldiers. Requirements include:
- Son or daughter must have been less than 24 years old at time of parent’s or guardian’s death.
- Must be attending college or career school at least part time.
Assuming you meet the above requirements and you are determined to be eligible for the Pell Grant after filling out the FAFSA, your Pell Grant award amount will be calculated using an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) score of zero, meaning you will receive a higher payout. If you are attending college less than full time, your payout will be a little less. If you do indeed meet the above requirements, but your FAFSA determines your EFC score is too high and therefore you are ineligible to get a Pell Grant, you might still be eligible for this “Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant”. Simply fill out your FAFSA (Pell Grant application) as normal to find out if you are eligible.
Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) – find information on federal financial aid programs designed specifically for students, as well as free assistance with filling out your FAFSA form.
Student Financial Aid Handbook – This guide is provided by the U.S. Department of Education and will explain the financial aid process in detail, as well as define specific eligibility requirements.
Federal Student Aid – another U.S. Department of Education website that offers free information on federal financial aid, finding a job, finding the right college, and locating other non-federal grants, loans, and scholarships.