Pell Grant Calculator
In 2010, the Obama Administration reportedly increased the maximum amount that a student could receive through the Federal Pell Grant program. Prior to that change, students could receive $4,731 per year. Now, they can obtain $5,815 per year. This a huge amount, especially considering that students who get a Pell Grant aren’t required to pay it back. However, not all students who apply for a Pell Grant get this full amount. Some don’t get any at all.
Before students use the full amount of a Pell Grant disbursement in their college plan estimates, they should take a little time to tinker with calculators. By looking closer at what sorts of funds they might get, they may have a better picture of their financial health, and their plans might be all the stronger for it.
Preparing to Calculate
Pell Grant calculators work best when students have hard facts and figures to input. Random guesses tend to lead to random results, so while it might be a hassle to pull together documentation, students who do so might end up with numbers they can really count on.
- The cost of tuition at the school the student plans to attend
- The amount of state aid a student expects to get
- The amount of college aid a student expects to get
- The amount of money the household earned
It’s important to be accurate, so students should take time to get the right numbers and the proper documentation, so they can fill this form out as completely as possible.
It can be tempting to lie on these little forms, fudging a number here and raising another number there. Doing so isn’t really helpful, however, as these calculators don’t go to any kind of federal agency. They’re just used for a student’s estimation purposes, and lying to oneself won’t really help in any way.
Of all of the calculators available, the tool provided by the U.S. Department of Education might be the most accurate. The FAFSA4caster asks students a series of about 10 questions, and within minutes, students are provided with an answer about their Pell Grant eligibility. Students who don’t qualify will be instructed about other federal sources that could help, including federal loans.
Students who have obtained a Pell Grant in the past may have one more calculator they should access as they plan for school, as there are limits on the lifetime amount a student can receive in a Pell Grant. The Lifetime Eligibility Used statistic helps officials to keep track of how much a student has pulled out of the Pell Grant program during a lifetime of education, but students can also do a quick calculation for their own records.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, students cannot obtain more than 100 percent of Pell Grant aid for longer than 6 years. If students get the full Pell amount each year, and they’re entering their 7th year of school, they may not be eligible for the grant at all.
If you have any questions about how grants work, you can meet with your financial aid advisor at your school.