A Pell Grant is a form of student aid. Student aid is money that is used to help pay for the cost of post-secondary education. The Pell Grant is a form of federal student aid that is given as a distribution of funds from the federal government to students in an effort help offset tuition costs. In most cases, these funds do not need to be paid back, which is a great incentive for students in comparison to taking out student loans. Federal Pell Grants are issued based on the number of credits and classes that they are enrolled in and the total income of their household.

The program was started in 1973 particularly for students that were seeking a higher education that came from low-income households. 48 years later, the Pell Grant has grown to be the most widely distributed federal student aid across the country. Grant funds are primarily given to undergraduate students, though there are some exceptions for postbaccalaureate certification programs.

The maximum amount of funding that a student can receive for a particular school year is determined by the annual budget passed by Congress each year. For the current school year, the maximum amount that a student can receive for the Pell Grant is $6,345.00, and the minimum is $639.00. The grant is awarded to the student annually and requires an annual FAFSA application to be completed to determine continued eligibility. Additionally, they may be required to maintain enrollment status and to meet certain academic requirements to remain eligible to receive the Pell Grant.

The funds are typically paid out in a series of payments. These payments can either be made directly to the school to cover all or some of the total amount owed by a student, or they can be made directly to the student. The funds can be used to cover direct costs such as the cost of enrollment, and any fees associated. They can also be applied towards indirect costs such as textbooks and supporting materials for classes. They can even be used towards room and board and other living expenses to support the student while they pursue their higher education.

A student can receive the Pell Grant for a total of twelve semesters, which is the equivalent to six years of schooling. This requirement was recently lowered down from eighteen in 2012. This means that students can be eligible to receive it many times if they continue to apply and are found eligible. Applications can also be updated when necessary to reflect any changes in a student household’s financial situation.

Student aid can be crucial to students being able to afford the rising cost of seeking a higher education. There are many different forms of aid available, but grants are a good option to explore as they most often do not require repayment. Students are encouraged to complete the FAFSA application every year to determine their continued eligibility to offset the cost of school by using the Pell Grant.