Can I Qualify for the Hope Credit When Receiving a Pell Grant?

Use the Hope tax credit to pay for college expenses.

Use the Hope tax credit to pay for college expenses.

The Hope Scholarship is not really a scholarship in the technical sense. It is a tax credit for students who are eligible and is available during the first two years of a person’s college education. A Pell Grant in another type of federal financial aid and is based completely on need. Students qualify for a Pell Grant by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Hope Scholarship award amounts depend on the amount of your Pell Grant.

Hope Scholarship Qualifications

To quality for a Hope Scholarship (tax credit) a student must be enrolled at least half time at an accredited community college, college or university. The scholarship provides a tax credit of up to $2,500 per student per year of qualified educational expenses for the first four years of a student's post secondary education. These expenses can include but are not limited to tuition, room and board, and textbooks.

Pell Grants

Pell Grants are a type of financial aid available to college students at any time in their post-secondary graduation. Pell Grants are based solely on financial need. Eligibility for the grant is determined by the information provided by the student on the FAFSA. The amount of money you receive from a Pell Grant is based on financial need, cost of attendance, full-time or part-time status, and your plans to attend school for an entire academic year.

The Hope Scholarship and the Pell Grant

When applying for financial aid at any college or university, the amount of money you receive from some programs may be affected by other programs. This is true for the Hope Scholarship. The amount of tuition and other fees covered by the Hope Scholarship is reduced by other aid received. This includes money from a Pell Grant. If a student’s Pell Grant is greater than or equal to the amount of tuition and fees, the student is not eligible for a Hope Scholarship tax credit. You can receive a tax credit in the amount of the difference between a Pell Grant if the grant does not cover all of your expenses.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid

The only way to qualify for a Pell Grant or a Hope Scholarship is to complete and submit the FAFSA. This application makes you eligible for not only these two awards, but other state and federal financial aid as well. The benefits to these two programs are that since they are grants and tax credits, the money does not have to be repaid. Other educational loans to students are paid back over time after the student graduates from college.


About the Author

Patti Richards has been a writer since 1990. She writes children’s books and articles on parenting, women's health and education. Her credits include San Diego Family Magazine, Metro Parent Magazine, Boys' Quest Magazine and many others. Richards has a Bachelor of Science in English/secondary education from Welch College.

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