A Pell grant is a federal program that provides funds for students to attend college. Since this is a grant program, there are no loans to pay back, making it very beneficial for students who qualify for these funds. The amount of money you'll receive for your Pell grant depends on several factors, including your enrollment status. Full-time students receive more money than those attending college only part-time. You are a full-time student if you take 12 or more credits in a semester.
An important consideration for Pell grant funds is your student status. A full-time student is generally one who is taking at least 12 credit hours per semester, quarter or trimester, and as a full-time student is eligible for the full amount of the grant. For the 2018 to 2019 school year, the maximum Pell grant for a full-time student is $6,095, providing the student plans to attend school for the entire year. Students enrolled in fewer credits or for a portion of the school year receive a lesser amount.
How to Apply
The government uses the information you supply on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine the amount of your Pell grant. Fill out the FAFSA as early in the calendar year as possible. Students must submit their own financial information and, if applicable, information for their parents regarding income, assets and family size. If necessary, you can amend your FAFSA later to include current income tax information that wasn't available when you originally filed.
The Pell grant is available to undergraduate students who have not received a bachelor’s degree. The exception to this is teachers, who may be eligible to receive postgraduate funds for courses related to licensing or certification. Students must prove financial need to qualify for this grant. Depending on your circumstances you may qualify for a full or partial grant, which the FAFSA will indicate at the time you fill it out. Your school will confirm this and may ask for documentation to prove the claims you made on the FAFSA.
The full amount of your Pell grant gets divided equally over the entire school year. Schools typically have a schedule of dates to tell you when you will receive your Pell grant funds each quarter or semester. Funding normally occurs early in the term so you can use the money to purchase books and supplies at approved outlets, such as campus bookstores. You'll receive any remaining funds, usually as a single check or as funds loaded onto a debit card, once the term has begun. The Pell program requires that students receive their funds a minimum of twice each school year. However, many schools release them once each quarter, so students may receive payments as often as four times during the year.
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