A college education is often as expensive as it is important, and even though they may have a hard time affording it, many Americans would go to great lengths to have their child attend a high-quality school.
College tuition can amount to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, and not everyone can cover that expense, at least not with some help from others.
It’s partially why so many Americans are still paying off their student loan debt, years after they’ve completed their education, as they’ve piled on incredible amounts of interest rates that will only keep growing as the years go by.
Despite all this, there are still actual assistance options available to low-income Americans looking to educate themselves, and the Pell Grant is among the first to pop up when you’re on a search.
We’ll go in-depth about the grant, how it works, and the eligibility requirements, and answer some of the pressing questions regarding this federal assistance option that’s been around for decades.
What is the Pell Grant
Essentially, the Pell Grant is a financial aid program funded by the US Department of Education, which has spent years trying to develop a method to help low-income students cover the costs of education.
These costs apply to tuition fees, but they often extend to just about any expense that may be related to a college education, including accommodation, literature, and just about anything you may need to continue your studies at a healthy pace.
Ever since it was originally created back in 1972, the Pell Grant has made hundreds of thousands of students’ lives better, and they’ve regularly been offering grants to promising students ever since the generation of ’73 entered the classrooms.
As a way of respecting the man who created it, the grant was then named after Sen. Clairborne Pell from Rhode Island, who fought for a future where anyone has a chance to educate themselves.
How do you return this money?
As per its name, this program offers grants to qualifying students, meaning that the money you’re given never has to be paid back, so long as you respect the terms of the contract you signed when you were approved.
This means that if you withdraw from a course or change your enrolment status, you may be required to pay back a portion or all of the money you were given, within a reasonable amount of time, of course.
Despite this, the Pell Grant shouldn’t be taken for granted, and you may want to explore the dozens of other assistance options available to students, ranging from student loans to the federal work-study program.
With the help of the latter, students can earn a certain amount of money by working a job in the area, and they’ll be paid an hourly wage that’ll go straight to their education costs.
Finally, let’s get to the point.
You must be aching to know exactly what amount of money we’re looking at here, and the only real answer is that it will depend on your current situation, as the US Department of Education will be calculating your rewards.
These calculations are made based on a number of factors regarding your income levels, family member status as well as residence area, all of which will go towards your total Pell Grant rewards.
If you’ve already received the grant last year, you’ll have to fill out the FAFSA form once again if you wish to continue receiving benefits, and considering that circumstances do change over time, your benefits may also end up changing with them.
Technically, it will all depend on the college you’re gunning for, and if you’re looking at a higher-end institution, the grant may only be able to cover a portion of the expenses, which wouldn’t be the case for a community college, where attendance costs are almost always covered in full by the grant.
How does it hold up after all these years?
Unfortunately, the Pell Grant has had a tough time adapting to the high-inflation climate that’s befallen our country in recent years, and many students have already resorted to other assistance options to stay in school.
With every passing year, making it through a year of college off of Pell Grant money alone has become increasingly more difficult, and some major changes are due for the grant, that is if the administration is willing to make these changes for the better.
Of course, you can’t expect to get everything served on a platter, and you’ll have to work excruciatingly hard to keep your finances in check while studying.
Despite all of this, a college education is extremely important if you’re looking to lead a successful life, at least in this day and age, and you should value it above everything else if you’re able to.