Can I Get a Pell Grant for Summer Term?
A Pell Grant provides assistance to students who simply cannot afford to pay for school without a little outside help. These grants don’t have to be repaid, so students in dire straights can pay for school without worrying about debt, and they could mean the difference between enrollment and disaster for some students.
But Pell Grants do come with some limitations, and in some cases, those limits could keep students from enrolling in classes during the summer term. While we advise all students to speak with their financial aid officers about their individual grant packages, this article provides general information that could be helpful to some students.
Pell Grants are disbursed based on need, meaning that students must demonstrate evidence of their financial status by filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. While the U.S. Department of Education doesn’t provide specific cutoff limits for aid, it’s safe to say that students who can easily afford the cost of school wouldn’t be eligible for this kind of assistance.
Students who do get aid from a Pell Grant are subject to yearly limits, and typically, those limits take hold on July of one year and carry over to the end of June the next year, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Students who use up all of their Pell money in the fall, winter and spring terms of one year may not have any money left over to cover the summer.
Similarly, students also have lifetime limits that hold them back from taking out all of the money they might need in order to pay for school. Some students could bump up against these limits, and that might make them ineligible to take out a Pell Grant for a summer term.
While understanding Pell Grants is certainly important for students who need to pay for school, this isn’t the sort of information that applies to all students in the same way. That’s why it’s vital for all students who think they’ll need help in order to pay for school to begin the process by filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Here, students provide information about their financial health and the financial health of their parents, and that documentation is used to determine a student’s eligibility for all sorts of aid, including Pell Grants.
Students typically fill out this document in the depths of winter, when their tax information from the year prior is available, but students who miss this deadline and who want to take summer classes can certainly fill out a FAFSA at any point. They can fill out the document online, or they can:
- Make an appointment to see a financial aid officer at the school
- Obtain a practice copy of the document
- Fill out the numbers at home
- Return to the office to fill out the document online
Students who don’t have access to a computer at home or who don’t feel comfortable with financial information in general might find that getting help from an expert makes the process a little easier.
If you’re not eligible for a Pell Grant, you still have options. Visit our “Find a Student Loan” tool to find out more about private loans that could help you to pay for school.