2012-2013 Pell Grant Application

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is the official Pell Grant application.  Students interested in the Pell Grant must fully complete and submit the FAFSA on or before the deadline.  Each state has a specific deadline, so please consult with your collegeís financial aid office to determine when your FAFSA is due. 

The FAFSA determines if you are eligible for the Pell Grant based on your current income, assets, family size, and cost of attendance.  All financial information given in the FAFSA will be used to calculate the potential Pell Grant award amount.  Students considered low income and in need of additional funds to pay for college will be eligible for the Pell Grant.
Below are tips to improve your changes to receive a Pell Grant for the 2012-2013 school year.

Donít provide retirement assets:  Families can dramatically impact their chances for financial aid if they include assets from their 401k plans, IRA, 403b and other qualified retirement accounts on the FAFSA.  The FAFSA form only requires that you share non-retirement assets. 

Donít include business assets: Parents who have a family owned or small business do not have to report the companyís net worth  on the FAFSA if it has fewer than 100 full-time employees.

Know your schoolís FAFSA deadline: Colleges impose deadlines on families to submit their FAFSA applications.  These dates can be earlier for students applying through early decision and early action options.  Know your specific FAFSA deadline, so you can still be eligible for a Pell Grant and other financial aid.

Although there are essentially no federal deadlines for seeking financial aid, states do impose deadlines for families who hope to qualify for financial aid through their state programs. State deadlines can be as early as February. In some states, aid is given out on a first-come, first-served basis, so it's best to file your FAFSA well ahead of the state deadline.
Contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center if you need assistance.  Some states offer a FAFSA class where students and parents can gain more information on how to correctly complete the FAFSA.  The FAFSA information center can also be contacted through chat or email. 

Marital Status:  You need to provide your marital status (divorced,
separated or married) on the day that the FAFSA is filed. Separated and divorced parents will sometimes enjoy a financial aid advantage.

Have to right parent complete the FAFSA:  In families of divorce, the parent who has taken care of the child during the majority of the 12 months dating from the day the FAFSA is submitted is considered the custodial parent. This can be especially advantageous in families when one ex-spouse earns significantly less than the other. Ideally, the child would live with the lower-earning parent for
at least six months and a day. This parent would complete the FAFSA, and the other parent's income would not be included. If the custodial parent remarries, however, the income from the new spouse would also be included on the FAFSA.

Fully complete your application:  Avoid blank answers.  If the answer to a question is zero or not applicable then write ď0Ē or Not applicable on the online form.  Leaving answers blank can cause potential miscalculations. 
Graduation Rate Detail Information: When you complete the FAFSA and designate that the application be sent to specific schools, the FAFSA website will provide you with the graduation rates of each school on your list. Try to avoid schools with low graduation rates.

Parentís education level:  Schools will give applicants additional financial aid if they are considered first-generation college students. If parents didn't graduate from college, select "high school" as the highest education attainment.

The helpful FAFSA tips above can increase your chances of receiving a Pell Grant and other forms of financial aid, such as federal student loans and work-study programs.  Itís important to have all your financial documentation near you, so you can accurately answer all FAFSA application questions.
Pell Grant Requirements