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Federal Pell Grants
What is a Federal Pell Grant?
A Federal Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have
to be repaid. Pell Grants are awarded only to
undergraduate students who have not earned a
bachelor's or professional degree. (A professional
degree would include a degree in a field such as
pharmacy or dentistry.) For many students, Pell
Grants provide a foundation of financial aid to
which other aid may be added.
How do I qualify?
To determine if you're eligible financially, the U.S.
Department of Education uses a standard formula,
established by Congress, to evaluate the
information you report when you apply. The
formula produces an Expected Family Contribution
(EFC) number. Your Student Aid Report (SAR)
contains this number and will tell you if you're
How much money can I get?
Awards for the 1999-2000 award year (July 1, 1999
to June 30, 2000) will depend on program funding.
The maximum award for the 1998-99 award year
was $3,000. You can receive only one Pell Grant in
an award year. How much you get will depend not
only on your EFC but also on your cost of
attendance, whether you're a full-time or part-time
student, and whether you attend school for a full
academic year or less. You may not receive Pell
Grant funds from more than one school at a time.
How will I be paid?
Your school can either credit the Pell Grant funds
to your school account, pay you directly (usually by
check), or combine these methods. The school
must tell you in writing how and when you'll be
paid and how much your award will be. Schools
must pay you at least once per term (semester,
trimester, or quarter). Schools that do not use
formally defined, traditional terms must pay you at
least twice per academic year.
Can I receive a Federal Pell Grant if I am enrolled
less than half time?
Yes, if you're otherwise eligible. You won't receive
as much as if you were enrolled full time, but your
school must disburse your Pell Grant funds in
accordance with your enrollment status and cannot
refuse you an award simply because you're enrolled
less than half time.
Excerpted from "The Student Guide", prepared by
the U.S. Department of Education.
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