Finding money for school can be a huge undertaking for many people. The horror stories that people tell of crippling student loan debt is more than enough to keep many people from applying for Federal Financial Aid, which in turn keeps a number of people from attending college and post-secondary schools to help better themselves due to the restrictive costs of attending. Many people do not realize that loans are just one of the options that the federal government provides to help prospective students and their families afford education. One of these options is the Federal Pell Grant.
The Pell Grant gives students money to help them pay for college, and the beauty of the Pell Grant? As with any grant, the money given to the individual does not have to be paid back! The amount a student receives from a Pell Grant is based on need, and therefore it varies from student to student. Moreover, there is also a cap on how much a single student can receive over the course of their school career.
The Pell Grant can only be awarded through the federal financial aid process after an individual has applied for it through the FAFSA website or via the mail. Bear in mind: there is no other way to receive this money! In order to apply for this, the student or parent would need to have information on their household size and income. This includes both parents if the student is under 24 years of age and still a dependent, or the income of the student’s spouse if married.
The application also asks about household size, which includes siblings and dependent children. The application is fairly easy to follow, much like a tax form, yet there is help available through many different outlets. High schools, community colleges, and other community centers often have people or staff that can help families and students struggling with filling out the application. The important thing is to remember to have all information on hand when trying to fill out the paperwork. This includes a copy of the past year taxes and social security numbers.
One of the great things about the Pell Grant is that it can be used for costs above and beyond tuition. The grant goes towards tuition and fees first but if a student has chosen a fairly in expensive school or has other scholarships, the left over money from the Pell Grant can be applied to other expenses. These expenses can include things like textbooks, supplies, equipment as well as room and board or even transportation. The student is not limited in how they use the money once the tuition commitment is met.
The Pell Grant is just one of many ways that people can help offset the cost of school without going into debt over it. It has been well established that many people need to have some sort of secondary training in order to get ahead in the job market and the Pell Grant is one of the many ways that people are able to pay for the expenses of college tuition and attendance.