The first step in Pell grant eligibility is completing a FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid). Once this has been accomplished, you have made yourself eligible to be considered for a Pell grant. There are many other grants you may also be eligible for so consulting with your school counselor or financial aid advisor can be a key to your success.
The maximum amount that an applicant can receive for 2010-2011 is $5,500. Depending upon your need, you can be awarded all or part of this amount.
A Pell grants are needs-based. This means that you must demonstrate a significant need for money in order for you to attend college. It is designed for students with low incomes and who are suffering from tough financial circumstances.
Pell grant eligibility also includes being a student who is pursuing a first time bachelor’s degree, has a high school diploma or GED, possess a valid social security number and are making satisfactory progress with their studies.
It is imperative that the student understand and research all the factors associated with Pell grant eligibility before beginning the application process. Some of these include:
- Adjusted Gross Income (AGI)
- Expected family contribution
- Cost of Attendance (COA)
- Deductions to AGI.
The last factor (above) is the most important one to pay attention to since being unaware of all the possible reductions available can be a major reason for having your application rejected.
Students who do not fill out their Pell grant application successfully (which usually means improperly) the first time, run a greater risk of being declined a second time. A visit to the Pell grant official website will be most helpful in establishing Pell grant eligibility.
You must be a US citizen, have your green card or be a naturalized citizen of the United States in order to establish Pell grant eligibility. Also, being independent of your parents or raising a child on your own, will increase your chances of an award.
In the event you are registered for summer courses and are enrolled at least halftime, you may be eligible for a second Pell grant. This means you may be able to double the amount of money you are scheduled to receive in one year. However, in order to qualify for a second Pell grant, you must have at least completed your first Pell grant award year before you get extra for summer courses.
Some of the necessary documentation that may be required for submission along with your application are:
- Federal tax returns
- W-2 information
- Verification of untaxed income i.e. veteran’s benefits
- Bank statements
- Business records
Students who have been incarcerated, arrested for narcotics or who have defaulted on a prior government student loan are not pell grant eligibility material!
In recent years, there have been slight changes and differences in Pell grant eligibility that have been voted on by Congress. One of these changes is that it is no longer necessary for students to be attending school on a full-time basis. There is no longer a prescribed minimum number of credit hours. Taking even one course will ensure Pell grant eligibility.