Applying for a Pell Grant
By Tiffany Anderson
, last updated July 20, 2011
When looking for ways to fund your college education, a great way to do it by applying for a pell grant. A benefit of a pell grant is that you are given money based on your need and college expenses, but you don’t have to pay it back like a loan. A pell grant is provided by the federal government as an aid to students to help them in obtaining advanced degrees. There are a couple key items you need to know when you submit an application for a pell grant. Be wary about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA form and the required deadlines.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid form is a form that most college students must fill out if they are seeking any sort of financial aid to pay for their college education. When filling out the form it should be known that you must meet certain requirements before you will qualify for a pell grant. You must be a US citizen or eligible non-resident, have a high school diploma or equivalent degree, be enrolled or accepted into a school and working toward a degree or certificate, have a valid social security number, be registered for selective service as required, stay current on any past student debt obligations, agree to only use the awarded funds for academic purposes and show financial need.
After you have verified that you qualify for a pell grant, fill in the information required on the FAFSA form. You will need all of the student’s financial history including tax returns as well as the student’s parents’ financial means and tax returns. The parents’ financial information will be used to determine what the family contribution to the education expenses is expected to be. The family contribution is based on preset formulas and applies even if the parents are not able to pay for any of the student’s educational needs.
Although it is important to have all this information it is also important to have it all submitted in time. To start a fall semester in college you will need to have your Free Application for Federal Student Aid form submitted no later than June 30 of the same year. Submitting it earlier than the deadline will help find out if and what you may qualify for even earlier. By submitting your FAFSA form, you are also applying for a pell grant. Depending on when your university or college begins, the deadlines for your school may be even earlier than that. Do check with your institutions financial aid department to see if you need to plan accordingly for having your information in to them. Your financial aid department of your university or college will be able to let you know what it is that you qualify for and the total amounts. Once you know how much money you will receive in a pell grant, you can then apply for scholarships or loans to fill in any financial gaps for your education.
Getting into a higher education institution is only the beginning. You will need to apply for funding, and since it’s free to apply and pell grants do not require reimbursement, it is worth a try. Filling out forms and doing the financial research to apply for a pell grant will prepare you for long nights in the library. The best way to apply for a pell grant is through the Internet. Your place of education should have links to an online form on their financial aid web page. Good luck!