Want to get a college education but don’t need years of student loan debt? The government has free grants available to help students do exactly that. These federal grants are not loans, which means you don’t have to worry about repaying them. This means they are essentially free money set aside to help more students afford a college education.
There are many forms of financial aid available, but unfortunately, many students think they have to rely only on loans. While loans are helpful, they have some serious downsides. Many students end up graduating heavily in debt, and it takes many years to finally repay the loans. One alternative to student loans is an education grant.
One of the largest federal grants available in the United States is the Pell Grant. In 2022, the maximum available from the Pell Grant is $6,895. The main eligibility factors are your EFC (or expected family contribution), whether you attend school part or full time, and the total cost of your tuition.
To qualify for a Pell Grant, the first requirement is that you are an undergraduate student who has never earned a higher education degree. So, your undergraduate degree is the first college degree you have started to earn. However, the majority of Pell Grants are offered and awarded to students whose families earn less than $30,000 salary per year.
But, some Pell Grants can also be awarded to students whose parents earn between $30,000 and $60,000 per year. And, although it’s rare because the Pell Grants are typically meant to help students from low-income families, it is possible for students whose parents make above $60,000 per year to be awarded a Pell Grant.
How much you receive from the Pell Grant changes each year. Normally, the price increases to reflect the rising cost of college that happens with inflation, and also competitive tuition prices.
For those who are awarded a Pell Grant, the funds you are awarded can be used to pay for your school tuition but also can be spent on living expenses, books, supplies, and more. If you have money from your grant that is leftover, you will not have to give that money back. If you have covered all of your school expenses and still have some remaining money, those funds will be refunded to you.