If you are an American who is forced to balance between multiple jobs and school, one that keeps missing school because of financial constraints and cannot take a tuition loan, you might want to consider a Pell Grant.
A Pell Grant also referred to as the Federal Pell Grant or Basic Educational Opportunity Grants (BEOGs), is a program that provides low-income undergraduate students with grants to promote their access to college or post-secondary education. Unlike loans, Pell Grant does not have to be refunded. However, a Pell Grant depends on several factors such as student’s enrollment status, student’s time in the institution (whether attending for the full year or less), cost of attendance, and family contribution.
According to Federal Pell Grant Program the maximum amount for 2010-11 award year, is $5,550. A Pell Grant fund can be credited by check through mail, or wired directly to the student’s account for tuition costs. The institution, on the other hand, notifies the student on the amount granted and how it will be accredited.
Steps for applying a Pell Grant
Most students get nervous when applying for Pell Grants making it easy for them to get scammed. To avoid scams, apply through the official Pell Grant website. Note that applying for this grant is free and avoid any website or scam artists that promise to get you a Pell Grant for a nominal fee. You are encouraged to report such websites or people to the Federal Trade Commission or local authorities.
Any undergraduate and vocational student can apply for a grant, but does not guarantee you will qualify. To find out if you are eligible for a Pell Grant, visit FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for more details.
If applying offline, you can collect a FAFSA application form from any financial aid office or your school counselor’s office. Remember, this form is also free. To apply online, start by creating a free account with FAFSA.
After deciding which method to apply, the next step is to gather your personal documents and fill the form. Required documents include your birth certificate, school documents, tax documents and driver’s license. On the form, you will be needed to disclose dependency status. It is advisable to photocopy your documents before sending them and keep a copy of each. After filling and submitting your form, check back after a week.