What Can The Pell Grant Be Used For?

Mike Brown Updated on June 7, 2017

Federal Pell Grants are one of the most sought after forms of financial aid awarded by the federal government. They can be worth thousands in free money for college and there isn’t a set number of people that can receive them. As long as you meet the financial need requirements, this money is as good as yours.

Here’s what you need to know about this coveted form of financial aid:

What is a Pell Grant?

Pell Grants are need-based grants, free money that is awarded to students based on income information and other factors gathered from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form.

Who is eligible?

Federal Pell Grants are usually awarded only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's or a professional degree. However, a student enrolled in a post-baccalaureate teacher certification program might receive a Federal Pell Grant. Your school will be able to tell you whether the program qualifies.

Students must be able to prove financial need to qualify for this grant. Depending on your circumstances you may qualify for a full or partial grant, which the FAFSA will indicate at the time you fill it out. Your school will confirm this, and may ask for documentation to prove claims made on the FAFSA.

What can a Pell Grant be used for?

The Pell Grant program doesn’t have restrictions on using funds solely for tuition. Pell Grants can be used to cover costs to attend college, ranging from room and board to tuition and fees.

How do I apply?

Fill out the FAFSA. The form will ask you for your own financial information and, if applicable, information about your parents regarding income, assets and family size. These factors determine your financial need. That need is taken into consideration when deciding how much, if any, money is awarded to you in the form of a Pell Grant.

How much money can I get from a Pell Grant?

Pell Grants are currently worth up to $5,815 annually. However, the exact amount varies depending on a variety of factors. This amount is calculated based on a formula that considers factors such as your financial need, your cost of attendance, your status as a full-time or part-time student, and your plans to attend school for a full academic year or less. Amounts can change each year. Generally, the maximum amount will rise.

How will I receive my Pell Grant?

Your school can apply Federal Pell Grant funds to your school costs, pay you directly, or combine these methods. Generally, the school will apply your grants to your account balance. If you live off campus, the account balance will just include tuition and fees. Then the remaining amount is sent to you. If you live on campus, your room and board may also be included in your account balance.

The best part? Because you filled out the FAFSA, your university knows you’re interested in receiving financial aid and may offer you a scholarship that’s fully- or partially-based on financial need. Without receiving your financial information from your FAFSA, your school would not know that you need scholarship money. So, make sure you give them all the information possible to increase your odds of getting free money for college.

If you qualify, Pell Grants are a great way to pay for college. Don’t fall for these 5 Pell Grants Myths and assume you’re ineligible for the Pell Grant until you fill out the FAFSA. Eligibility is based on a complicated formula that takes into account much more than income that the federal government calculates for you.

Published in: Grants

About the Author
Mike Brown

Mike is responsible for the editorial and marketing direction of Nitro. He has a history of helping people thru his educational background—first as a teacher at the Pennsylvania State University and then thru 15 years of development and marketing of education programs. Read more by Mike Brown

Recommended Student Loan Lenders

Lender Rates (APR) Loan Types Terms Eligible Degrees Eligible Loans  
4.00% - 11.86%1 Variable & Fixed 5 - 15 years*

Undergrad & Graduate Students Learn More

View Disclosure

Lender Rates (APR) Loan Types Terms Eligible Degrees Eligible Loans  
3.80% - 11.90%1 Variable & Fixed 5 - 15 years

See Examples

Undergrad & Graduate Student & Parent Learn More

View Disclosure

Lender Rates (APR) Loan Types Terms Eligible Degrees Eligible Loans  
3.54% - 12.07%1 Variable & Fixed 8 - 15 years

Undergrad & Graduate Student & Parent Learn More

View Disclosure

Lender Rates (APR) Loan Types Terms Eligible Degrees Eligible Loans  
3.04% - 9.67%1 Variable & Fixed 5 - 15 years

Undergrad & Graduate Students Learn More

View Disclosure

Lender Rates (APR) Loan Types Terms Eligible Degrees Eligible Loans  
4.53% - 9.69% 1 Variable & Fixed 5 - 15 years

Undergrad & Graduate Students Learn More

View Disclosure

Comments

Do you still have a gap to fund your education?

If so, check out these 6 featured lenders:

Find your best option