How to Check the Status of the Pell Grant Application and Disbursement
The Federal Pell Grant is money that is available exclusively to students who are experiencing financial need in regard to their education expenses. This money is provided for students by the U.S. government, and it is only available to undergraduate students. Since the Pell Grant is a grant and not a loan, the money awarded does not ever have to be repaid. The maximum amount that can be awarded to a student through a Pell Grant for the 2016-2017 school year is $5,815.
In order for a student to be considered for the Pell Grant, he or she needs to fill out a FAFSA form. This form will allow them to be evaluated by the United States Department of Education. Through this formulaic assessment of a student’s financial need via the FAFSA form, students will be deemed either eligible or ineligible for the Pell Grant. For many students, the FAFSA form represents the financial need of the student’s family as many students are not yet deemed independent from their families and thereby unable to fill out a FAFSA form that represents their sole income.
FAFSA Eligibility Notification
Once a student has filled out and sent in their FAFSA form, he or she will then be notified of whether or not funding can be received. Each student’s eligibility is determined using the same formula. If you are interested in checking on the status of your Pell Grant application, you should check on the status of your FAFSA. If you filled out your FAFSA online, you can check on its status as soon as you submit it online. If you filled out a paper version of your FAFSA, then it may take 7-10 days after the date your FAFSA was mailed for information regarding its status to appear online.
You can generally expect to receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) anywhere between three days and three weeks following your FAFSA submission. After this, you can expect to receive an aid offer or award letter from the school you are attending. Your school might send you aid money as early as the spring before a fall semester or perhaps as late as immediately before your classes begin.
Your school will disburse your Pell Grant money according to their own respective regulations. A school will typically apply the amount of money awarded to a student to his or her account. This account includes expenses like tuition, room and board, and any other fees associated with the school. There may be instances where a student’s account is less than the amount awarded by the Pell Grant. If this is the case, the student will then be issued a “refund” by the school. This money will be delivered to a student in the form of cash, and it can be used to help pay for approved education-related costs.
Some approved education-related costs that a Pell Grant’s remaining balance can help to pay for include:
- Supplies, like art supplies, art materials, or office supplies
- Rent for an off-campus apartment
- Reasonable food expenses
- Utilities and other bills associated with an off-campus apartment
- Transportation costs to school that might include a subway or bus, for instance
If you still have questions about your Pell Grant application and disbursement, a financial advisor at your school can assist as well.