Pell Grant Deadlines
Federal Pell Grants are awarded to students seeking their first bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution based on financial need. To qualify for a Pell Grant, students must fill out and submit a FAFSA – Federal Application for Student Aid – by the end of the school year for which they intend to use the grant.
Deadline to Apply for Pell Grants
For the 2015-2016 financial aid year, students must apply for the Pell Grant by turning in their FAFSA at any point between January 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017. With that said, the FAFSA is used to determine eligibility for other grants and financial aid from other sources that may have stricter deadlines, so check the individual application deadlines for financial aid awarded by states or institutions. Furthermore, there are several first-come, first-served student financial aid programs, so it makes sense to submit your FAFSA as soon as possible.
If you intend to fund your schooling using other forms of financial aid, even if it is not affiliated with government or school aid programs, some institutions require that you be eligible for the Federal Pell Grant to be considered for their scholarships and grants.
Who is eligible for a Federal Pell Grant?
Pell Grants are intended to assist students with demonstrated financial need in funding the costs of an undergraduate education. To apply for a Pell Grant, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident seeking your first four-year undergraduate degree, enrolled at least part-time in an eligible college or university. Males ages 18-25 must also be registered with the U.S. Selective Service.
Pell Grants are awarded based on a multifaceted formula. Your financial need and the final amount you are awarded is determined by several factors:
- Expected Family Contribution (EFC), or the amount of money you and your family are anticipated to be able to provide
- The cost of attending your school, including tuition, fees, and room and board expenses
- Enrollment status – whether you are full-time or part-time and the number of semesters you plan to be enrolled each school year
The maximum amount for the 2016-2017 financial aid year is set to $5,815. If your financial need exceeds the maximum amount awarded by the Federal Pell Grant, there are several Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) in addition to grants and scholarships made available by individual states or institutions. Just make sure you understand the deadlines for each scholarship and grant, as they may require earlier submission than the June 30, 2017 Federal Pell Grant deadline.
How Is Pell Grant Money Disbursed?
The federal government pays your Pell Grant award amount directly to your school. Depending on your education costs, you may not see the actual money at all. The school will apply the grant money towards your account against tuition costs, fees, and any room and board costs incurred by the school on your behalf.
Any money leftover from the Pell Grant will be issued back to you by the school as a refund. This may happen by check or debit card, or be directly deposited into your bank account, depending on the school and individual circumstances. This refund is intended for eligible school-related expenses such as textbooks, school supplies, lab costs, commuting costs, or room and board costs.
Don’t forget to reapply for the Pell Grant each year you are enrolled.