According to the U.S. Department of Education, the Federal Pell Grant program provides college funding for low-income students. Pell Grants are need-based awards for undergraduates and can be used to attend one of 5,400 post-secondary institutions.
Pell Grants can be used to pay educational expenses such as tuition, fees, room and board, and other related education costs.
Students determine eligibility for the Pell Grant by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The deadline to complete the application is June 30 for the next academic year. The deadline can be earlier for state or school-based scholarships and grants.
One award is given for each academic calendar year. The award is generally split and distributed equally during the academic semesters.
Pell Grants cannot be disbursed more than 10 days before the start of classes. The actual time of disbursement varies by school and could be on the first day of classes, at the end of the drop/add period or in monthly payments.
The school can distribute Pell Grant funds by crediting the outstanding balance of a student's account. Students can also be paid directly by check, cash or electronic funds transfer into the student's bank account.
The Pell Grant can be reduced for students who do not attend school full time or do not attend for the full academic year.
- Paul Keleher