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Pell Grant Eligibility

Pell Grant Eligibility

You or one of your friends wants to submit a Pell grant application to the authorities. Do you have enough information about its eligibility criteria? If no, then this article would be of immense benefit to you.
Shrinivas Kanade
You are a bright student and full of confidence that you can take the hardships of higher education in your strides. However, there is a problem; your weak financial condition won't be able to bear the burden of your ambition. The financial assistance in the form of grants, such as college grants, education grants for women, etc., may change the course of your life. The question is, "Are you eligible for it?" How will you set about finding the required information?

Criteria for Eligibility

The first step in determining your eligibility to receive this grant is to fill a 'Free application for the Federal Student Aid' (FAFSA) form, which is also called Pell grant application. Follow the instructions provided on the website and answer the questions which will determine your eligibility. If you are eligible, it means that you are also eligible for various other government grants and funding. You will be notified about the outcome in the due course of time. Although, students with family income under $50,000 are eligible to receive the grant, these grants are mainly received by those with family income less than $20,000. The grant money depends on the following facts :
  1. How much money the student's family is ready to contribute. This amount may vary depending on whether the student is a dependent, independent without dependents, or independent with dependents.
  2. The tuition fee charged by the educational institute.
  3. Whether the student is going to attend a full-time or part-time course.
Once you are informed that you are eligible, you have to submit various kinds of information to the authorities from the financial aid office. You receive the grant money, only after your information is found to be acceptable. Hence, if you have some difficulties regarding the information, you should get it clarified from the school or financial aid authorities as early as possible. The following is the list eligibility criteria:
  1. You must fill and submit FAFSA form, which binds you to use the grant only for your education.
  2. You have not defaulted on any other Federal student loans or grants. You have to assure the authorities that you will repay this loan.
  3. It is important that you, as an undergraduate student, should be attending an approved course in order to achieve a bachelor's degree.
  4. Your progress in your studies must be satisfactory.
  5. A valid Social Security number.
  6. A high school diploma or GED.
  7. The college has to be covered by the Pell Grant program. There are 5,400 colleges that come under this program.
  8. You must be able to satisfy the authorities about the benefits you will receive from the offered tuition or the program.
  9. You must be a US citizen or permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen.
  10. To receive the grant, the applicant, if he belongs to 18-25 age group, must be registered under selective services.
  11. You must be able to attend school legally in the US.
  12. Federal tax returns, declaring candidates untaxed income.
  13. His parents (if dependent) or spouse's (if married) tax returns.
  14. W-2 information, declaring his income for the last financial year from different sources.
  15. Information about the untaxed income such as veteran's benefits, social security.
  16. Bank statements, total investment and mortgage information.
  17. Business records, if he owns a business or a farm.
  18. A candidate with any criminal record with the federal, state or penal institution, automatically gets disqualified.
  19. An applicant drawing student aid gets disqualified to receive it, if gets a drug related conviction while drawing it.
It may take 2 months or more for the authorities to complete the verification of your information. So, to be on the safe side, you must try to apply at least, 10 weeks before the semester begins.

Pell grants are awarded to low-income students, in order to help them continue their education and to help them realize their potential to the maximum. Though, you are allowed to receive only one grant per educational year, there is no limit on how many times you can receive it.