The Pell grant rules are designed to ensure that the students most in need of help paying for college get the money they need.
The Federal grant program was first conceived of as a way to help students afford college even if they came from households with low incomes. It is still a program for low income students, but students should apply for it whether or not they think they qualify as low income.
Pell grant rules define low income as generally having an annual income below $60,000, although the program does try to ensure that the lowest income students get help first. This is why it is extremely important for all students who think they may qualify for a grant to complete their higher education should apply before the filing deadline. Because there are limited funds, the sooner you apply the more likely you are to get Pell grants.
Grant eligibility rules now state that students can only receive funds under the Pell grant program for a total of 12 semesters.
In addition, students who have an annual income under $23,000 may be eligible for enough grant money to pay for their entire education costs at state schools. This annual income limit used to be $30,000, so students with very low incomes should consider applying well before the deadline. Pell grant eligibility rules are set for the coming school year, but they may change again, so it’s important to apply each year as soon as the application is available.
Government grants spell out requirements that students must be enrolled in a certain number of units and continue to attend classes and make progress towards completing their degree program. Money received under the Pell grants program is distributed directly to the schools. Each school has different rules about how it is distributed after this. Most schools credit the money to the student’s financial account and use it to pay for tuition. If there are any funds left after that, the school has rules that cover how and when it is distributed to the student. You should check with your school.
The Pell grant rules are set out by the student aid commission, but how and when funds are given to students are solely the responsibility of the school. To ensure you get the maximum you are eligible for, be sure to apply early and follow your school’s rules for enrollment and progress towards graduation.