Article: A Pell Grant allows you to have some or all of your college expenses paid for by the Federal government. The best thing about a Pell Grant is the fact that it is not a loan, so you never have to pay it back. Having free money to reduce or eliminate the need for student loan payments in the future is wonderful, so anybody who qualifies for this program should take advantage of it.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to know if you meet the requirements necessary to receive a Pell Grant. The fact of the matter is, it really isn’t possible to know if you are eligible for a Pell Grant unless you fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. The FAFSA returns a number known as your Expected Family Contribution, which is used to determine your eligibility and how much money you can receive, if any. Still, there are some factors to think about that can contribute to whether or not you are likely to be eligible.

First off, if you are a dependent of a family with an annual income of more than fifty thousand dollars, you can expect not to qualify. Most of the people who do qualify come from families with an income of less than twenty thousand dollars each year. Several other factors can play into this, and to list them all would be exhaustive. However, you can expect that if you live independently of your parents or legal guardians that you are more likely to qualify. This is especially true if you care for children of your own. Essentially, the more difficult it would be for you to pay for college, the more likely it is that you qualify for a Pell Grant.

In addition to financial considerations, the Pell Grant is only offered to legal residents of the United States, and it can only be applied toward undergraduate degree programs. If you have already earned a degree in another field, you might not be eligible, depending on the field. You also cannot be in default on a federal student loan, and you must use the proceeds of your grant for education at a legitimate college or university. You will be required to meet specific academic benchmarks that will be set by your school in respect to your grades and the number of classes that you drop. Finally, if you have ever sold illegal drugs while receiving federal financial aid, you will most likely not qualify.

The author is a financial aid counelor at a prominent university, and writes about how to gain Pell Grant eligibility, and the various Pell Grant requirements.

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