A Pell Grant is a grant program run by the U.S. Department of Education to provide financial aid to students in undergraduate programs (although, in some cases, students in post baccalaureate teacher certification programs can get them). The great thing about grants, though, is that they do not have to be repaid.
Pell Grants, like federal undergraduate student loans, are based on need. The maximum amount you can get from one can change annually (for the 2014-2014 school year it is $5,730). How much of that you get depends on:
- Your financial need (cost of attendance less your Expected Family Contribution)
- Your cost of attendance
- Your status as a full-time or part-time student
- Whether or not you are attending school for a full academic year
There is also a limit on how many Pell Grants you can get: No more than 12 semesters (roughly 6 academic years). However, the amount of any other student aid for which you might qualify does not affect the amount of your Pell Grant.
Grants like these should be an important part of your financial aid strategy, as it will reduce your potential debt upon graduation.
If you are looking for more information about federal financial aid for college, then download my free book, Applying for Federal Financial Aid: The Definitive Guide for Students and Parents.
For more information about what happens after you graduate, get my free book, I Graduated; Now What? A Guide to Dealing with Your Student Loans.
You can also access the latest news on student loans, get answers to Frequently Asked Questions, and read articles in my Library. Continue to educate yourself as you go through the process of making smart decisions about college financing!