what are pell grantsFederal Pell Grants are essentially free money, because they do not have to be repaid. These grants are selective, are only for enrolled students, and come in different amounts depending on the applicant’s need.

The grant’s amount does not depend on a student’s status as a dependent or independent, but it does depend on a few factors. The first factor is the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The second is the amount that it will cost in order to attend school. Next is the student’s enrollment status, which is essentially whether the student is attending school full-time or part-time. Lastly, the amount depends on whether the student is planning on attending for a full academic year or less.

Financial need is determined by the EFC. The lower the EFC, the greater the student’s financial need. So, a student who has an EFC score of 0 and a high cost of tuition, and plan on attending full-time for an entire academic year, will receive the maximum Pell Grant award of $5,350. As school becomes more expensive, the grant amounts also rise. In the 2010-2011 school year, the amount will rise to $5,500.

Those interested in attending school and applying for Pell Grants can start by enrolling in an accredited school and then completing Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

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