2011-2012 Pell Grant Eligibility
The Federal Pell Grant is a need-based grant for students that are enrolled in a post-secondary institution. Eligible Pell Grant applicants are usually considered low-income or face a financial hardship. In order to determine if you are eligible to receive a Pell Grant, you must complete the FAFSA, of Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is the only application that is required for the Pell Grant and it is completely free to apply. The FAFSA must be completed on or before the current yearís submission deadline. This deadline changes yearly, so itís important to check the current yearís deadline to make sure you meet the submission requirements.
Once the FAFSA application has been complete, you will receive a SAR (Student Aid Report). This report will show and EFC score, also known as Expected Family Contribution. This number will determine if you meet the requirements to receive the Pell Grant. The lower your EFC score, the greater the chances are that you will receive the Pell Grant. An EFC score of zero means that you qualify to receive the full Pell Grant amount.
The maximum Pell Grant amount depends on financial need, costs to attend school, status as a full-time or part-time student, and plans to attend school for a full academic year or less. Beginning with the 2011-12 award year, you may receive only one Pell Grant award during a single award year. In prior years, students were able to receive up to two consecutive Pell Grant awards during a single award year to accelerate their program toward their degree.
Schools usually distribute Pell Grant funds to the eligible students directly (usually by check) or they will usually pay the balance of the studentís tuition. Any remaining money will be distributed to the student, who can purchase anything related to their education. The school must inform the student in writing how much the Pell Grant award amount will be, as well as, how and when they will be paid. Schools must disburse funds at least once per term (semester, trimester, or quarter). Schools that do not use semesters, trimesters, or quarters must disburse funds at least twice per academic year.
You may not be eligible for a Pell Grant if you have a drug conviction that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid. This may be reversed if students undertake the appropriate remediation steps. Students must also sign a statement that will certify that they will only use their aid for education related purposes, are not currently in default for any federal student loans, and that they donít owe a refund for any prior federal education grants.
The Federal Pell Grant has become extremely popular due to the fact that students do not have to repay the Pell Grant. Low income undergraduate students who have yet to earn a bachelor's or a professional degree are eligible to receive a Pell Grant. Also, students whose parent or guardian died as a result of military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after Sept.11, 2001 are also eligible to receive the Pell Grant. The student must be under 24 years old or enrolled at least part-time in college at the time of your parent's or guardian's death.