You may be surprised to learn that the Federal Pell Grant application process doesn’t start with a Pell Grant application – it starts with the FAFSA. The FAFSA determines your eligibility for a number of different federal, state, and school financial aid awards, including Pell Grants. Because the lion’s share of federal money goes to the early applicants (and because states and schools make financial aid decisions very early in the year), you would be smart to submit your FAFSA in February.
Your Pell Grant application and your FAFSA are one and the same. Once you’ve submitted your FAFSA, it will take a few weeks for it to be processed, while the U.S. Department of Education calculates your financial aid eligibility and Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Pell Grants are need-based, so if your EFC falls below a certain number, you’ll be automatically eligible for a Pell (assuming you meet all other eligibility requirements). This is how your FAFSA became your Pell Grant application.
Once your FAFSA is reviewed, the Education Department will send you a Student Aid Report (SAR) telling you what kind of financial aid you qualify for, and how much. If you qualify for a Pell Grant, it will be documented in your SAR. The report will also give you detailed instructions on how claim your Pell Grant, although typically, you don’t have do anything. The Pell Grant money is usually sent directly to your school, which will apply it to your tuition. If there is money left over, the instructions in your SAR will explain how to claim it from your school.
Overall, the Pell Grant application process is pretty easy…as long as you submit a FAFSA! (Thousands of qualifying students don’t – but that leaves more money for you.) See the EducationGrant.com Pell Grant page for more information and detailed eligibility requirements.
Tags: Pell Grant
Federal government education grants are another source of funding for college. You’ve probably heard of the well-known Pell Grant, but two other federal grant programs you may not be familiar with are the Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG) and the National SMART (National Science & Mathematics Access to Retain Talent) Grant. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education is hoping that many more college students apply for these grants this year, because there was a lot of money left over last year.
You must be a Pell Grant recipient to qualify for an ACG or SMART grant. Beyond qualifying for a Pell grant, the ACG grant program requires good grades in challenging high school courses. Available to undergraduate 1st- and 2nd-year college students, the ACG also requires maintaining a 3.0 GPA. ACG awards range from $750 to $1300.
The National SMART grant is open to undergraduate 3rd- and 4th-year college students with a 3.0 average who are majoring in science, math, technology, engineering, or in a foreign language defined as essential for jobs in homeland security. SMART grant awards range up to $4000 per year.
Unlike student loans, grants are free money – you don’t have to pay them back! It’s worth your while to apply for as many grants as you’re eligible for, and to begin the process now, as soon as possible. There is a lot more federal money for college grants and financial aid than students realize, but you can’t leave it until April or May to apply. When it comes to federal student aid and college grants, the early bird gets the bucks!
If you’re looking for financial aid to pay for college or a career school program, you’re probably also looking for FAFSA information and some how-to tips. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the application for the U.S. Education Department’s student aid program, your first stop for college funding. Why should you get the FAFSA information you need as soon as possible? Well, there’s a lot more federal money for college than many students realize, but you have to apply for it to have any chance in getting your share. The sooner you apply, the larger your share may be.
State and School Financial Aid Deadlines: March 1, 2009
Your FAFSA makes you eligible for more than than just federal financial aid. Most U.S. states and many individual colleges and career schools use your FAFSA information to determine your eligibility for their own financial aid programs - but their application deadlines are usually in early March. Since all financial aid is awarded on a first come, first served basis, it’s in your best interest to get all the FAFSA information you need to submit your application as soon as possible.
A key part of the FAFSA process is getting a FAFSA P.I.N. (Personal Indentification Number). When you fill out the FAFSA online, which is the fastest way, your PIN is what allows you to electronically “sign” your application. Go to the FAFSA website to apply for your PIN, and start collecting the documents you’ll need in order to fill out your application efficiently. Get more FAFSA information and instructions for obtaining your FAFSA PIN from EducationGrant.com’s financial aid pages and on the federal student aid site: