What’s the best part about student loans? The fact that they can make college more affordable upfront, so you don’t have to take cash out of your pocket. Unfortunately, those loans have to be paid back later on, which can put a financial strain on you for years to come.
Luckily, student loans aren’t the only way to finance your college journey, as grants can offer a financial boost. Best of all, you won’t have to pay a grant back, which genuinely makes college more affordable.
Who Gets Pell Grants?
A federal Pell Grant is typically offered to undergraduate students. Unlike other forms of financial aid like scholarships, Pell grants don’t take merit into account. Instead, they are given to students with exceptional financial need.
Can you get a Pell Grant if you’ve already graduated and want to continue your education? Probably not, since anyone who has already obtained their degree, whether it be of the bachelor’s, master’s, or professional variety, is not eligible. There is one case where you can be a graduate and get a Pell grant, however. That’s when you enroll in a postbaccalaureate teacher certification program.
Besides having a degree, there are some other cases where you won’t be able to receive a Pell grant, such as:
- If you are incarcerated.
- If you have to fulfill an involuntary civil commitment after incarceration due to a sexual offense.
How Much Is a Pell Grant Worth?
A Pell grant can put a significant dent in your college costs. Although the amounts tend to change every year, the maximum award for 2020-2021 is $6,345. Are you guaranteed to get that full amount? No, as the award will depend on a variety of factors, such as:
- How much it costs to attend your school.
- Whether you’re a full or part-time student.
- Whether you’ll be a student for the entire academic year.
- Your Expected Family Contribution.
How Long Does a Pell Grant Last?
The maximum amount of time you can receive a Pell grant is capped at 12 terms. This equals six years of study. Before your time runs out, you’ll receive a letter to notify you of any changes.
Does Other Financial Aid Affect Your Pell Grant Award?
No. Regardless of how much you receive from other forms of financial aid, your Pell grant will not be affected.
How Do You Apply for a Pell Grant?
Complete your FAFSA form to apply for the Pell grant and other federal awards.
Can You Receive Pell Grants From More Than One School Simultaneously?
No, you can only receive a Pell grant for one institution at a time.
How Do You Receive Pell Grant Money?
If you qualify for the grant, you can choose between having the funds sent directly to your school to pay some fees or receiving them directly. You can also use a combination of the two.
What Does It Take To Maintain a Pell Grant?
You’ll need to stay enrolled in your undergraduate courses and complete the FAFSA form every year to maintain eligibility.
When Do Pell Grant Awards End?
As mentioned, there’s a 12-term cap on funding. Once you reach those 12 terms or receive your degree, you will no longer be eligible for a Pell grant.