The Pell Grant: The Premiere American Scholarship Grant

If you want a sure way to get through college and graduate without any debt from loans whatsoever, then the Pell Grant is the best way to do it. A Pell Grant is a post-secondary Federal grant that is sponsored by the Department of Education itself! It’s named after United States Senator Claiborne Bell, and was supposed to be called Basic Educational Opportunity Grant.

The main difference between a Pell Grant and an educational loan is that, a Pell Grant is not in any way a loan.  It does not require repayment, although it is awarded to recipients on a “financial need” basis. The main way to apply for a Pell Grant is through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA form.

The maximum Pell Grant award for a single award year is $5, 550, although there are cases where a student can acquire two consecutive Pell Grants in a single award year. Pell Grants are great since you can use them on any of the approximately 5,400 participating post-secondary educational institutes all throughout America.

Who is Eligible for the Grant?

Not only should the recipient exhibit signs of financial need to be eligible for the Pell Grant, he or she must also be an undergraduate and have not yet received any bachelor’s degree. The amount of the award is varied, depending on the income of the family that is reflected in the Expected Family Contribution in the FAFSA form.

Today, 30% of tuitions are from Pell Grant money, a sharp decrease from the 1990 statistic of 60%. This doesn’t mean that fewer students need grants, however – this simply means that other students have moved on to other grants, and that tuition fees are steadily rising, and the Pell grants are covering less and less of the tuition than it used to.

Pell Grant Advantages

It’s quite a very big deal if you can get a Pell grant for your college education, since the amount of grant money almost virtually never runs out – when more students apply, the government allocates more money, so you’re sure to always have a slot for the grant. Not only that, when you’ve paid some tuition money for yourself, Pell grants can reimburse the money. And if in any time during your college years your financial status has changed, you can simply adjust the amount you are applying for.