The federal Pell Grant qualifications that will allow you to get a Pell Grant are relatively simple and straightforward, and the most vital thing that you must realize is that it is going to be your finacial need for such aid that is going to have the most dramatic effect on your ability to receive this award.
The important thing that you must keep in mind about financial need is that it stands as an indicator of your ability to contribute money directly towards your education-related expenses straight out of your pocket, or your family’s if you’re still a dependent.
The Pell Grant is designed for students that come from lower-income families who may have a considerable difficulty paying anything towards their child’s college education, and thus display a very high financial need for additional funding to attend college.
This means that you must demonstrate significant need for such funding before you will be able to qualify, and the way this is determined by the Department of Education is via the information you provided during the submission of the official Pell Grant application, more commonly known as the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
The FAFSA and EFC
The FAFSA, or Free Application for Student Aid, is the universal application for federal financial aid for college students from across the country, and by filling it out on-time, and in a complete fashion, you can automatically make yourself eligible for the vast litany of federal aid that is currently in existence, including the Pell Grant. When you fill out your FAFSA, an EFC metric is going to be calculated as a result of the information you submitted.
This EFC metric, or expected family contribution, is essentially an indicator for how much your family is supposed to be able to contribute towards your college education. It is calculated via the inclusion of several factors, but the most important one is your family’s household income. By taking into consideration your family’s income level, a formula is used to determine your EFC, and upon knowing this you can have a good idea of whether or not you’ll be able to qualify for a Pell Grant.
The primary EFC threshold for the issuance of the majority of Pell Grants for the 2010-11 school year is set at 4,995. Having an EFC below this threshold will disqualify you from receiving a Pell Grant. While income isn’t the only factor that plays into the calculation of the EFC, or the determination of your ability to qualify for a Pell Grant, it is by far the most important factor, and to give you an idea of the kind of income level your family is going to need to be able to qualify, the majority of students that receive Pell Grants have families who make around 23,000 dollars per year or lower. This is not to say that you cannot become eligible for the award if your family has a higher income, it just means that it is going to be more difficult.
Various Other Qualifications for a Pell Grant
Need isn’t the only qualifying factor that you must be aware of though, as there are a whole variety of less of important Pell Grant qualifications that you must have on your radar if you want to avoid any sort of difficulty while applying for the grant. These include, but are not limited to the following items.
You need to be attending a four-year college or university that participates in the Pell Grant program, and you must be making satisfactory academic progress in a qualified, degree-oriented curriculum. You must not have defaulted on any previous federal student loans, and you must not have a Pell overpayment on your record.
You should be pursuing an undergraduate degree of some kind, although some professional degrees are able to qualify. You must be a U.S. citizen, or be able to prove that you are living in the country legally on a permanent basis. You will also have to sign a form if you are approved for the grant that will state that you will only use the proceeds of your grant for school-related expenses. These are the major qualifications for the Pell Grant, and by taking these into consideration you can help improve your chances at receiving this award without much of a hassle.