With plenty of options to finance their undergraduate education, many college students forget to apply for the Pell Grant. The U.S. Department of Education created the Pell Grant to help students pay for college, and like scholarship recipients those students will never have to repay their award. If you are interested in earning free money for college, follow the tips below to apply for the Pell Grant.
Completing A Pell Grant Application
You will have to fill out a Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to apply for the Pell Grant. Most students choose to apply online at the Federal Student Aid website, but you can also print a PDF copy of the FAFSA or complete a paper application and mail it in.
If you’ve received the Pell Grant before, your application won’t renew at the end of the academic year. To continue receiving the Pell Grant, you will have to submit your FAFSA every year so the U.S. Department of Education can reassess your eligibility.
The Pell Requirements
If you want to qualify for the Pell Grant, you will have to meet the U.S. Department of Education’s Pell requirements. The Grant is available to students who have:
Strong Financial Need – Pell Grants are designed for students who would not be able to cover the cost of college on their own or with family support.
Enrolled A Participating College – The government determines your eligibility for the Pell Grant, but your school is responsible for dispersing your award. Make sure that your college or university participates in the Pell Grant program so that you can receive federal funding.
Met Academic Standards – You will have to meet federal requirements for full time/part time enrollment, citizenship, and a satisfactory GPA to receive Pell Grant funds.
Filling Out The FAFSA
The FAFSA helps the U.S. Department of Education determine how much money you need for college. If you are single and under the age of 24, you will probably need to work with your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) to complete the application. When filling out the FAFSA, you will need your social security number or federal identification number, drivers license (if applicable), family tax returns, and information about your family’s financial assets (savings accounts, homes, investments, etc.). When you enter this information into the FAFSA, the federal government can determine how much your family can afford to pay for college and how much they can provide in financial aid.
Finding Additional Scholarships
The U.S. Department of Education and your school will work together to determine your financial aid eligibility. While you wait to hear back about the Grant, apply for other scholarship opportunities that come your way. Your college may have multiple scholarships for incoming freshman and eligible students. You can also find scholarships online through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Scholarship Search