What does the Federal Pell Grant Cover?

The Federal Pell Grant is one of the many financial aids given out to deserving students from low to middle class income families who want to pursue their undergraduate or to students pursuing their post graduate degrees. The main aim of this grant is to increase the access to education amongst poor students. There are close to 5,400 participating institutions where the students can utilize their Pell grants.

The Pell Grant was once known as the Basic Educational Opportunity Grant. The Pell grant does not have to be repaid like other grants. Pell Grant takes name from the US Senator of Rhode Island, Claiborne Pell. Similarly other school grants are available to the students pursuing their education in America to help them with fund their education and much more.

Pell grant is offered to students from poor families. There are several factors that are taken into consideration before the Pell Grant is awarded to a student, a student who satisfy all these criteria is alone eligible for the Pell Grant:

1) The students applying for the Pell grant must be from poor families and should be in need of financial assistance. This is determined by a formula that the department uses.
2) The students should have a valid high school degree or a GED or must have been home schooled
3) They should be enrolled in a program
4) Should be a citizen of America or a permanent resident or other eligible non citizen.

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To apply for the Pell Grant the students have to file a FAFSA form – also called the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form. Once all the paperwork is cleared the students are granted the loans that the can be use to purchase resources that will help them in their education apart from paying the tuition fees.

The Pell Grant and other school grants can be used to purchase the below mentioned items or services:

1) Computers or laptops for educational purposes
2) School supplies like paper, pencils, pens and other stationery items that are required
3) They can be used to pay the slab fees or any other student fees that is not included in the loan or the financial aid that the students may have received.
4) They can also be used to purchase books required for the successful completion of the degree or course
5) In some cases the Pell grants and other school grants can also be used for financing student housing and several other items that a student may require during his or her school tenure

The Pell grant is usually centrally issued to the institution. Once the funds arrive that fees that are not covered by the loan are removed and the remainder funds are mailed to the student by the institution. The student can use the funds as they want. Usually students complete their expensive shopping, usually for text books, computers and much more with these funds. However, to learn how to spend the funds and grants properly and wisely students are encouraged to talk to their academic counselors or financial aid counselors who will be able to guide them properly with their budgets. One most important fact that the student has to keep in mind while spending the Pell Grant or any other school grant is that that money can be used only for purchasing educational items and cannot be treated as personal income.