Pell Grants

If you're looking for college funds, the Pell Grant is a great place to start. A Pell Grant is a federal grant awarded by schools to undergraduate students according to financial need. The only way to qualify is to fill out the FAFSA. The information you provide will be used to calculate your expected family contribution (EFC). The amount of aid available through this grant is determined by your EFC. The maximum Pell Grant award for the 2012-2013 award year is $5,550 and will be increased to $5,635 for the 2013-2014 award year.

Several aspects of the Pell Grant program make it a particularly attractive financing option. Students who qualify for Pell Grants do not need to repay the money. The amount of the grant does not depend on grades. Grant funds can be used to cover tuition, administrative fees, and student living expenses.

Because the program is federally funded, the total amount of available funds changes each year. Students seeking Pell Grants should apply early. This year, the application deadline is June 30, but keep in mind that money is only available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Instructions for applying:
  1. Determine your Pell Grant eligibility — You're eligible if you are presently enrolled or will enroll for the current school year, and haven't attained a bachelor's degree.
  2. Apply as early as possible.
  3. Gather appropriate tax documents from the previous tax year, recent bank statements, and your driver's license.
  4. Fill out the FAFSA and submit.
  5. Carefully review the Student Aid Report (SAR) you'll receive in response to your FAFSA. The SAR will indicate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), and notify you if you're eligible for a Pell Grant.
  6. Follow the instructions on the SAR to claim your Pell Grant money.

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