Students who receive federal financial aid, such as Pell Grants, are allowed to transfer them from one school to another. However, the process requires you to preplan your transfer or make edits to your Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You also need to plan ahead to see how switching schools may impact your need for other forms of assistance, such as scholarships or loans.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
After making the necessary arrangements and changes to your FAFSA, it is possible to transfer your Pell Grant from school to school.
Applying for Aid With FAFSA
If you start a school year knowing a move is imminent or that you can't meet your academic goals at your current college, consider planning ahead and listing potential new schools when you fill out your annual application for funds. Your FAFSA lets you list up to 10 schools, each of which will receive your financial aid information This will simplify the application process at your chosen schools and may qualify you for institutional or state-based aid.
Student Aid Report Information
After you complete and file a FAFSA, you have a few options for adding schools to your list of colleges. You may log in and make revisions to your original filing by deleting schools to add new ones. Alternately, you can give your future school your name, Social Security number and the data release number, or DRN, that appears on the student aid report you receive from FAFSA. The school then adds its name to your list. The Federal Student Aid Information Center also will update your FAFSA if you phone 1-800-4FED-AID and provide your DRN.
Cautions for Transfer Students
If your reason for requiring a college transfer caught you by surprise in the middle of a term, you need to follow up your FAFSA edits with a bit of legwork. After you verify that your new school has your information on file and can apply your financial aid to your semester balance, contact your old school. Make sure it cancels all of your financial aid awards -- grants, loans and any scholarships you have been awarded independent of the school -- to avoid any misdirection of funds.
Financial Considerations for Transfers
A school transfer may increase your need for alternate forms of financial aid based on your housing requirements and tuition costs at the new college, particularly if you will be considered an out-of-state student. When you fill out a FAFSA, you can apply for and receive loans in addition to your Pell Grant. If you don't need the loans immediately, you may refund them for terms at your current school and then accept the loans offered at your new school to cover any increase in costs.
Ashley Mott has 12 years of small business management experience and a BSBA in accounting from Columbia. She is a full-time government and public safety reporter for Gannett.