The complete authority when it comes to determining the eligibility of a candidate for a Pell Grant lies with the Department of Education. Before we go into any systematic approach in determining a candidate’s eligibility for a Pell Grant, it’s worth stressing on the Federal Pell Grant’s primary mission – which is to help a candidate pursue an education even if she/he is facing inappropriate financial circumstances. The main objective is to provide an alternative support system to such candidates with respect to monetary resources. Considering the number of candidates who really need such a support system, it goes without saying that the entire process needs to be streamlined so as to generate maximally optimal results.
The Department of Education more or less use a standard formula to determine the eligibility of a candidate for a Pell Grant. Among the many parameters that influence the eligibility, the most crucial one is perhaps the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The other major parameters are the Cost of Attendance (CoA) as defined by the University and the enrollment of a student in terms of full-time or part-time course.
The first thing a student needs to do for a Pell Grant is to submit a full-fledged financial report to the Department of Education. The candidate does the same by submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. The FAFSA helps the Department of Education in determining certain financial aspects with respect to the candidate.
A few of them are as follows
- That the candidate will not misuse the allotted funds and will use them solely for educational purposes only.
- Provide enough evidence that the candidate has not defaulted on repayment of financial aid or loans of any other financial agency and hence candidate is not going to use the Pell Grant for the clearance of that loan amount.
- The course the candidate is pursuing is affiliated with a well recognized university and the degree certificate ultimately obtained is of significant value.
- The financial income of the candidate’s family is less than or about around $20,000 per year (This rule has some exceptions, though.)
- The candidate must be a permanent resident US citizen or an eligible non-citizen and must possess a valid Social Security number.
- No criminal records in the candidate’s past including jail-terms and substance-abuse related offenses.
These are just some of the pre-requisites and issues verified by the Department of Education before they offer a candidate a Pell Grant. The candidates hopeful about receiving Pell Grants need to apply at least 10 weeks before the commencement of the next semester. The reason is because the process of verification is considerably elaborate and the candidates may be asked to submit a few other documents like bank statements, tax returns, etc to better substantiate their requirement of the Pell Grant.
It is worthwhile to note that every candidate who is considered eligible for a Pell Grant does not always receive the maximum amount provided by it and the Pell Grant eventually provided could be fractional sum decided upon by the Department of Education.
Keep in mind that is it always wise to work backwards from the date of your college year beginning and apply well in advance for a Pell grant. Lastly, a frequently asked question here is if you can apply for a pell grant from a different state other than the one you live in apart from of course the requirements for a Pell grant? Read everything you can about Pell Grant and applying for a Pell grant here at studentelligence.com.