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What is a student Pell Grant, and How Do You Qualify?

Pell Grants are student grants given by the federal government to assist students with financial need in defraying the costs of post-secondary education. A Pell Grant, unlike a federal student loan (such as the popular Stafford Loan program) does not need to be repaid.

Who Is Eligible For The Pell Student Grants?

All students who are accepted in undergraduate and vocational schools can apply for Pell Grants. Applying does not necessarily mean you will be given aid, however, the greater your need, the more aid you will be eligible for.

For the most part, you are not eligible for Pell Student Grants if you have already earned a bachelor’s degree or a professional degree. This is because these particular student grant funds are dedicated to helping students who don’t have access to the education otherwise. If you already have a degree, you’ve already gotten a start on your education and presumably have access to financial assistance.

However, in some cases, Pell Grants have been given to students involved in teacher certification programs at the post-baccalaureate level. In this case, the Pell Grants essentially provide aid to future teachers who will, in turn, be giving back to the community through their work after receiving the funding.

How Much Money Is A Pell Grant?

The student grant funds available through Pell Grants can vary based on the year you apply, and on your financial need itself. For example, the 2010-2011 grant year has a maximum of $5,550. The maximum grant awarded the year before (2009-2010) was $5,350.

How much a student’s grant award will be also depends on their individual need. This is calculated by the income of the student (or his or her legal guardians), as well as by the cost of tuition and expenses for the school year in question.

Students who lost a parent to military service in Afghanistan or Iraq while enrolled in school automatically receive the maximum award amount of the Pell student Grant.


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