College expenses is often overwhelming, particularly if you come from a low-income family. Some lower-income individuals don�t even think about going to college because of their financial status. However, there�s a solution: the Pell Grant.
What is a Pell Grant?
A Pell Grant is a needs-based Federal government grant that never has to be repaid. It was named after U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell. This grant was created to help poor have the opportunity to receive a college education. Consequently, it�s only given to low-income undergraduate students.
These grants must be used at one of the 5,400 participating colleges and universities. Your school will use this money to pay off your school tuition and fees or they will pay you directly usually by check. Money is disbursed at least once a semester.
How Much Money Can I Get?
The amount of money you will receive from the Pell Grant depends on a few things: your family�s income, the cost of attendance, and whether you�re enrolled full time or part time.
The maximum amount you can receive fluctuates from year to year. Last year it was $4,050 and this year (2007-2008) it�s $4,310. The maximum grant is expected to increase to $5,400 by 2012.
This money is assisting poor families all around America in sending their kids to college. These kids who receive a college education are adding value to our economy. How Do I Apply?
In order to apply for a Pell grant you must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You may choose to complete a FAFSA online or through your school�s Financial Aid office.
If you wish to do this online, you much first obtain a PIN (Personal Identification Number.)
As you fill out your FAFSA, you will want to have a few documents nearby. Some of these documents are your Social Security card (you won’t need this if you have your SSN memorized), driver’s license, previous years W-2 form and any other income records, last years Federal Income Tax Return, your parents’ Federal Income Tax return from the previous year, and a few other documents.
Once you are done completing a FAFSA (you can do this at fafsa.ed.gov), you�ll be sent a Student Aid Report (SAR) which will tell you whether or not you are eligible for a Federal Pell Grant.
The deadline for filing a FAFSA has passed for this academic year. You can�t get a 2007-2008 application anymore. However, do not give up hope of obtaining a higher education! Apply for a Pell grant for 2008-2009. The deadline is June 30, 2008. Don�t miss the deadline!
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