Important Facts Regarding Pell Grant
If you are a parent of a school going young adult, who might be planning to take up a graduate program within the next couple of years, then this information regarding the Federal Pell grant might be of great importance. Pell grant is a financial grant provided by the U.S.Department of Education to those students who really require financial aid to take up graduate programs.
This grant is provided to those students who come from lower income families and are not in a position to meet the amount required for taking up such degree programs. Pell grant was originally called by the name Basic education opportunity grant before it was renamed to Pell grant, named after the U.S.Senator Clairborne Pell.
Pell grant is something similar to a scholarship and are not required to be repaid. The application process for the Pell grant follows a stringent process. The student has to fill in the free application for federal student aid form, also called as the FAFSA form. The applicant has to start submitting this application form for the first time, when they enter the freshman year of their undergraduate course. The applicant has to update the application form as they continue to progress in their undergraduate program. During the application updation process, the applicants have to continuously enter their financial status and the amount that is provided by their parents or guardian. They also need to provide their grades.
The FAFSA form can be downloaded from the online portal www.fafsa.ed.gov . The applicants can also get the forms from the school counselors. After completing all the details in the FAFSA application form, the applicant can submit the form in the same online portal.
Once the applicant completes the initial submission, the process of scrutiny starts. As and when the applicant updates the FAFSA related information, their application form continues to get evaluated. At the end of the evaluation process, the student will be notified whether they have been awarded the Pell grant by post or by email.
While evaluating the application, United States Department of Education arrives at a rating value called the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) based on the details entered by the applicant in the FAFSA form. Based on this value, Pell grant is awarded. In addition to this evaluation criterion, the applicant should have met the basic qualification criteria. The basic qualification criteria require the student to be an undergraduate, who has not yet completed their graduate degree program and a U.S.Citizen or an eligible non U.S.Citizen.
The applicant should have a high school diploma or a GED to qualify for getting the Pell grant. The maximum amount that is funded to the students varies from year to year. For the academic year 2010-11, the maximum Pell grant awarded was $5,500. The department of education looks at the EFC and several other factors to decide on the maximum amount that can be granted to a particular student. Once the grant has been approved, the students can get the amount directly from the participating school in the form of checks.