Do You Know the Benefits and Limitations of the Federal Pell School Grants?
The biggest appeal of the Federal Pell grant comes from the fact that it is a sure deal which you will not have to reimburse. Unlike the many other federal loans for students (E.G. PLUS, Stafford or Perkins), these school grants are available to eligible undergraduates for as long as they meet the specified criteria. Moreover, the eligibility criteria are not hard to reach, as long as the student shows he is in dire need of money for the purpose of attaining a higher education degree and he maintains a satisfactory academic performance. As a side note, while these school grants are aimed for undergraduates, certain credentialing programs might also be eligible.
It is necessary to point out that you can apply for the Pell grant even in the case of long distance learning, with the condition that the educational facility provides recognized certification and degrees. However, the maximum amount of cash that a student can receive annually will greatly depend on the attendance status. Naturally, the highest amount will be granted to students who attend college full time, followed by those who undergo three-quarters, half-time and less than half time. Even though a full-time student will receive almost five times the sum granted to a student with less than half attendance, a noteworthy fact is that the Pell grants are among the very few programs that offer money to the latter category.
A third major advantage of the Pell grants resides in its availability. Dissimilar to other student loans, which imply a lot of hassle when starting the application process, the Pell grants can be found almost everywhere. The application process consists of filing in a Free Application for Federal Student Aid and it can be found in libraries, secondary and post-secondary schools, governmental agencies and online. Based on the data you fill out in the application, a committee will decide on your eligibility and the amount you are entitled to receive based on a number of factors, such as family income, size, cost of attendance and for how long you plan to attend college, to name a few.
A further great feature of these school grants is the fact that the funds are transferable. What this entails is the fact that if you decide to move to another approved educational institution while the Pell grant is approved, then you will have the loan money at your disposal. For instance, if you enrolled in a community college with the intention of meeting the minimum requirements for a Master's or Bachelor's degree, then the Pell grant money will be at your disposal when transferring to the higher educational institution.
The limitations of the Pell grants come from the fact that the maximum funds available are modified each year, usually based on the Federal funds allocated for the program. However, if you check on the U.S. Department of Education website, the federal grants section, you will notice that the available funds have constantly been increased in the five past years. On the other hand, while the funds have been increased exponentially from 2007 to 2010, the additional funding added in 2011 is extremely low and the number of applicants is very high.
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