What is a Pell Grant? How Can You Get One?

Barry Lenson

What is a Pell Grant?

You’re probably heard that the Federal government offers Pell Grants to deserving American college students. So what is a Pell Grant, and how can you get one? Let’s take a closer look.

What is a Pell Grant? It’s a need-based grant that is offered to certain low-income undergraduate and postbaccalaureate students. One catch? You can only obtain one Pell Grant at a time.

Is a Pell Grant a loan? No, it is a grant, which means that you do not have to repay it.

How much money can you get? The maximum Pell grant for the 2010-11 award year (July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2011) is $5,550.

What qualifies you for the maximum amount? Grant amounts are dependent on: how much your family can pay toward your education; the costs of attending your school; your enrollment status (full-time or part-time); and whether you will attend school for a full academic year or less.

How can you apply? Fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form online.  This form asks for information about: your income (and assets if you are independent); your parents' income and assets (if you are dependent); your family's household size; and the number of family members (excluding parents) who are attending postsecondary institutions.

How can I find out more? Visit the U.S. Department of Education’s Pell Grant information page online.  While there, you can download a copy of the Pell Grant Program Handbook. 

So is a Pell Grant for you? It depends. Check out the resources we give above to learn more.

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