Federal Pell Grant


The Federal Pell Grant is designed to make college more affordable and easier to attend for low-income students.  Not all college students qualify for this government grant.  A specific formula is used, known as the expected family contribution (EFC).  This formula uses the student’s or parent’s income and assets, family size, and household size.  There are also restrictions on participating colleges.  Luckily, both full-time and part-time students qualify for this grant.  Students, however, must be classified as undergraduates or vocational students.



  Applying for the Federal Pell Grant is easy.  In fact, your soon-to-be college student can do so right online.  To get started, have them visit FASA.ed.gov.  Once on the website, fill out the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA).  In three to five days, your child will received a Student Aid Report, otherwise known as SAR.  You and your child should carefully review this report to ensure all information entered was accurate.  A summary of the above mentioned EFC (expected family contribution) will also be provided.  Once again, verify this information.  The wrong information can prevent your child from getting the necessary funding.












After the FAFSA form is completed and results are gathered, your child must check with their college or university.  They will determine how much aid is received.  As for distribution of funds, it occurs different ways.  Some schools will simply subtract the awarded amount from the tuition bill.  Other schools will give your child a check for the amount.  In the event your child receives a check, ensure they know the importance of putting that money towards tuition, living expenses, and school supplies.  If they misuse the funds, you will be back to square one wondering how to cover the cost of college.


Even if you or your child suspects you will not qualify for the Federal Pell Grant, still complete the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA).  This application is not only used to determine federal financial assistance, but state and school too.  Application deadlines are important to receive the proper funding.  Check with the college in question to ensure their application deadlines match the federal recommendations.


In short, the Federal Pell Grant can help reduce the cost of college for qualifying students.  Unfortunately, this money does not cover the entire cost of education.  If you are concerned about the remainder, speak with your child and their school guidance counselor.  In additional to federal grants, many states also have education grants for qualifying students.  If obtaining a loan is a concern, due to poor credit, encourage your child to apply for scholarships.  Thousands of scholarships are provided each year to students.  Preference is often given to students with good grades, community involvement, and involvement in school related extra curricular activities, but it is free and easy to apply.


The Official website to government grants is www.usa.gov