What You Need to Know About the Pell Grant Deadline

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Each form of financial aid comes with its own regulations and limitations, but all begin with an application process that adheres to deadlines that, if missed, can seriously impact your chance at receiving aid. The Pell Grant was first established under the Higher Education Act of 1965 and aided in paying for the college educations of many since then.

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities totals Pell Grant disbursements during the 2011-2012 academic year at $33.4 billion, given to almost 9.7 million students. For the 2013-2014 school year, students received an average of $3,651 in the form of a Pell Grant, per New America Foundation’s Federal Education Budget Project. Eligibility for the grant is dependent upon the following factors:


The annual FAFSA deadline for maximum funding is June 30th. Some schools establish earlier deadlines that may affect your application, so be sure to check on this well in advance. The maximum amount that an individual can receive from a Pell Grant is $5,815 for the entire 2016-2017 academic year. The earlier you submit your FAFSA, the more funds you’ll be in consideration for since many grants and scholarships are exhausted early as applicants stream in.

A full third of the 21,945,597 FAFSA submissions for the 2011-2012 academic year came in during the first quarter, per Forbes Magazine. Thus, those who wait to apply until summer or hold off on filing their taxes until April, thereby not updating their FAFSA until then, risk losing potential funding that they would’ve received had they just applied a bit sooner.

Lifetime Eligibility

The biggest benefit of the Pell Grant is that it doesn’t have to be repaid. If there are any negative aspects to the award, it would have to be the lifetime eligibility that caps at 12 semesters (or the equivalent) and 600 percent of your awarded amount. Thus, if you attend school for four full years and use the entire award amount every semester, you’ll have exhausted all of your Pell Grant benefits, which is fine for most students, because Pell Grants aren’t available for graduate school. While the typical college student attends college in the fall and spring semesters of the year, some also attend during the summer semester. It is important to remember that no additional aid is available for the summer months if it has all been used in the prior two semesters.

Being that the FAFSA is free to apply and submit, it’s wise for everyone attending college to fill it out. You never know what aid might be available to you, and for the 19 percent of college students who didn’t even bother applying for aid for the 2012-2013 school year, per LearnVest, they never will know. It’s possible many of those who didn’t apply thought they couldn’t after the deadline had passed, but this isn’t true.

We are the best resource on the Internet for information on the federal Pell Grant. Pell Grants are given to students based on financial need as compared to their Expected Family Contribution. For the 2011-2012 award year, 13,412,848 applicants met eligibility criteria for a Pell Grant and 9,444,368 of them ultimately received the grant, per the U.S. Department of Education. Take advantage of the resources we offer to add yourself to that list.


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