College can open a bevy of opportunities for diligent students. Getting to that point takes years of hard work, effort and, finally, funding. Grants provide a much-needed relief for students to be able to afford classes as well as housing and other necessities while they focus on school work.
A federal Pell Grant is an excellent way to pad your path to paying for college and all of the extras, such as textbooks. Unlike a loan, a Pell Grant doesn’t need to be paid back.
Pell Grants for Students
One of the most well-known government grants for individuals is the Pell Grant. These are free and clear if you have and can prove a financial need. The requirements for a student to get a Pell Grant include:
- Student is an undergraduate
- Student is currently enrolled
- Student has accepted enrollment at an eligible college degree institution or certificate program
- Student has obtained a high school diploma or equivalent
- Student is a U.S. citizen or otherwise eligible noncitizen
The student must stay enrolled in the college for the entire academic year in order to stay compliant with the federal grant rules. As long as the student remains in school, the Pell Grant does not require any repayment.
Pell Grant Georgia Requirements
As long as students are a United States citizen or legal equivalent, they can apply for a Pell Grant regardless of what state they live in or what college they plan to attend. The Pell Grant Georgia requirements as well as those for other states are based on the following:
- The student’s financial need
- The cost of attending the college in which the student is currently enrolled or to which the student was accepted
- The student’s enrollment status, either full time or part time
- The student’s plans for the following academic year
Amount of Funds From a Pell Grant
The Pell Grant has a maximum award of around $6,000. The amount the student can receive is crafted around a few factors, including:
- The student’s financial need
- The amount of time the student will be attending college during the year, either full time or part time
FAFSA and the Pell Grant
To begin the Pell Grant application process, you will need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form, also known as the FAFSA. The FAFSA Pell Grant form can be completed online. The federal deadline for the 2019 academic year is June 30. Students may apply at any time before that date. If you are unsure of the current deadline, check with your college or program about the cut-off date for the FAFSA.
2018-2019 Pell Grant Chart
Each year, the federal Pell Grant releases a chart that includes a disbursement schedule as well as the amount that will be awarded. The 2018-2019 Pell Grant chart shows that $6,095 will be awarded for that specific academic year.
How Pell Grant Funds Are Disbursed
The college receives the actual funds from the Pell Grant and distributes it to the student through direct deposit, cash or check. The college must notify the recipient in writing of how and when they will release the funds. The college legally has to distribute the funds to students at least twice per academic year.
How to Apply for a Pell Grant
A strong grant application convinces the funder of who you are and your plans for the future. Comment on how you’ve contributed to your community or school and what contributions you plan to make in the future that the grant money will assist you in achieving.
Consider what makes you stand out from the pack. Research all aspects of your interests, any hobbies in which you excel or awards that you’ve received that can help to get the attention of grant admission officers.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business trends and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.