Paying for college is no small undertaking. After all, the entire affair costs thousands and thousands of dollars. So, how do you go about being able to afford college? Believe it or not, the out-of-pocket expenses for tuition fees aren’t as bad as you’d think. For example, Princeton University has a tuition of more than $55K. That’s a lot of money no matter where in the country you live. However, in 2018, the average cost for a student who attends Princeton came up to only about $17,000. That’s about a 70% “discount.” How’s this possible? Grants.
What is a Pell Grant?
Pell Grants refer to money given by the government to applying students who are in a particularly difficult financial situation. According to Federal Student Aid (FSA), only an Undergraduate student will receive a Pell Grant. So, if you’re already smart enough to have received your Bachelor’s degree and are moving onto your masters, no more Pell Grant for you.
Do I need to pay the grant back?
The cool thing about a Pell Grant is that money you receive doesn’t have to be repaid. It’s for you to use on your education, no strings attached. This can sound amazing when compared to a student loan, which must be paid back at some point.
There are, however, some circumstances where you may be required to repay a Pell Grant. For instance, if you were to leave your academic program early, you’d have to repay the grant. If you dropped to a certain enrollment status, such as full-time to part-time, you’d have to pay it back. Likewise, if you received too much money from scholarships, negating your need for the grant, you’d have to pay it back.
So, how much are we talkin’?
The amount you’re granted can vary depending on your “Expected Family Contribution,” the cost for attending your school, whether you’re a full-time or part-time student, and if you’re planning on attending school for a full academic year. The maximum amount awarded for a Pell Grant is $6,195. To clarify, “Expected Family Contribution” refers to what you can pay out of your own pocket based on the information given when you submitted your FAFSA form.
The money you need to get a higher education can seem pretty daunting, but luckily Uncle Sam is here to help so you don’t have to do it alone.