The Federal Pell Grant program that was introduced through, Higher education act of 1965, was intended to help those low income students who are unable to complete their education due to lack of funds. The financial aid that was distributed through this program helped many to complete their education. However, the rising inflation and the cost of living, sort of neutralized the full benefits of the grants awarded to the students, to a considerable extent. President Obama, while he was Senetor of the Illinoise in 2005, brought to notice the need of increasing the amount of the Pell Grant. It was estimated that, because of the effects of the inflation, the financial aid for the 2004, through this scholarship, was $700 less than what it was for the year 1975-76.
In February 2009 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, President Barack Obama gave his approval to the increase in the amount of the federal grant. It was one of the first of his actions after occupying the Oval office. His decision set the amount for year 09-10 at $5,350 which was higher than that of the previous academic year by $671. By going through the aid figures it can be seen that the average amount awarded per recipient is estimated to be $3,607. He also intimated, starting with the 2010-11, all the federal student loans to be routed through the direct loan program. Because of this, the colleges and the universities in the U.S.A. can choose to participate in either or both the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) and the direct loan programs for the benefit of their students.
Federal Pell Grant Money
The increase in this government grants money is surely going to help those lacking in funds for completion of their education. However, to be eligible for the federal Pell Grant or scholarship, there are some criteria to be fulfilled, which are termed as the requirements. The most important factor that determines the amount of grant, a student is eligible to receive, is his Expected Family Contribution or EFC score. To simplify the calculation and judging qualifications, in determining the financial strength i.e. EFC score of a student's family, several factors are considered. These are taxed as well as untaxed income of the student's family and its assets. If the students family is receiving any benefits such as unemployment or social security, it is also considered while arriving at a EFC score. This formula approved by the law also considers the student's family size and who else from it will attend college or career school, during the academic year under consideration.
A student's expected family contribution score is neither the amount he pays to the college nor it is the amount he is awarded. A student, while applying for the grant, is expected to fill and make available all this information in the Free Application for Federal Students Aid (FAFSA). The application can be submitted to the aid officer at the school or the proper government authorities. During the processing of the student's application and his Pell Grant eligibility, his EFC score is calculated by the authorities and the maximum money he is eligible to receive is calculated and awarded to him. To find out the maximum amount one is eligible for, then the grant money chart may be useful, as it considers factors such as cost of attendance, student's EFC score and status.
Pell Grant Money for 2010-11 and 2011-12
From the clear indications conveyed by the Obama administration, one can be sure that the Pell Grant's amount per year is going to be bigger than the previous for some time. However, this amount changes depending on the type of the course a student has opted for.
If you want to know the maximum amount (2010-11) for a student attending a full-time course, then it is set at $5,500, while the minimum amount is $1,176. So, a student enrolled in a full-time course may expect to receive $2,775 as amount per semester. For a ¾ time course, the maximum and the minimum amount set is $4,163 and $1,004 respectively. The amount for a ½ time course is in range of $2,775-$831 and if a student opts for ¼ time course he may expect to be awarded anything between $1,389-$659.
If you want to know the maximum grant sum (2011-12) for a student attending a full-time course, then it is set at $5,550. This grant awards you $4,163 (three-quarter time course), $2,775 (half-time course) or $1,388 (less than half-time course). So, a student enrolled in a full-time course may expect to receive $2,775 as the total sum per semester.
A student's enrollment in a particular course doesn't qualify him to receive the full amount he is awarded, rather, now it is subjected to how much credit-hours he is attempting in that award year.
For a student wanting to continue his studies, this financial aid has always been useful since this program started. The boost that President Obama administration has given to this scholarship money, can help a student concentrate on his studies rather than on making ends meet.