5 Little Known Facts About Pell Grants
On the surface, Pell Grants are a helpful way for lower-income students who need financial assistance to attend college. But, there are a few common misconceptions and little known facts that you should be aware of:
- There is no Pell Grant application, per se.
- To qualify, you must not already have a Bachelor’s Degree.
- Your jail time or felony charges could restrict you from receiving a Pell grant.
- If you were convicted of possession of illegal drugs for the first time, you won’t be eligible for federal aid until at least one year since your conviction.
- If you were convicted for selling for the first time, you won’t be eligible for federal aid for at least two years from the date of your conviction.
- If you have more than one offense for selling or more than two offenses for possession, you can only regain eligibility after you complete an approved rehabilitation program.
- There might be a 2010 Pell Grant increase.
- The Pell Grant is named after Senator Claiborne Pell.
To “apply” for a Pell Grant, as with most other education grants, you need to submit a FAFSA. There is no other form or separate Pell grant application to fill out. The Pell Grant is available to students through the federal government, so your eligibility and award funding is determined by some of the questions you answer on the FAFSA. Once you submit your FAFSA application, you will be notified by email or regular postal delivery if and when you receive Pell Grant funding.
Pell Grants are awarded to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor’s degree or professional degree. One caveat: If you have earned a bachelor’s degree, but are enrolled specifically in a post-baccalaureate teacher certification or licensing program, you still might be eligible for a Pell Grant. But, if you are enrolled in a certification program, be aware that the school you are attending must not also offer a bachelor’s degree in education.
We know – fine print is such a pain. But, better to be informed, right? For more details about this stipulation, visit the Federal Pell Grant section of the Transition to Teaching page.
If you are currently in jail: Your eligibility for a Pell Grant depends on the type of institution in which you are incarcerated. People in federal and state penal institutions aren’t eligible for Pell grants, but students in local penal institutions are.
If you’re not incarcerated: it depends on the nature of your offense. The law imposes restrictions on drug offenses in particular.
To determine whether a drug offense affects your eligibility, go to the Student Aid Eligibility Worksheet.
One of the more significant steps President Obama has taken to boost access to higher education is his proposal for a 2010 Pell Grant increase to $5,500 for the 2010-2011 school year. The total number of Pell Grants that could be available in 2010: about 7 million.
Claiborne Pell was a Democratic Senator from Rhode Island and was best known as the sponsor of the Pell Grant, which was created in 1973 and was originally known as “Basic Educational Opportunity Grants”. Pell grants initially provided grants for prisoners because Pell understood that education while incarcerated resulted in a 65% drop in repeat offense rates, and that resulted in a safer public.