Beacon College

Pell Grants – a Gift From Uncle Sam

By Emerson Sandow

Since the early 1980s, the Pell Grant Program has provided much-needed relief to students from a variety of secondary educational backgrounds, including those attending vocational schools in such programs as two-year nursing certification, court-reporting, paralegal, and legal secretarial, as well as the standard two- and four-year college paths.

The Pell Grant is based on financial need, which makes it a very utilitarian grant, with a large number of applicants able to qualify. A Pell Grant is not a student loan – it is a “gift” that is not repaid. For qualifying students in the 2017-18 academic year, the Pell Grant amount is $5,920 per year, an increase over previous years.

In order to find out if you qualify for a Pell, you must begin by meeting these requirements:

  • If you are in college, you must be seeking your first undergraduate degree (or vocational certificate)
  • Meet the financial eligibility requirements
  • Attend a college or vocational school that accepts Pell Grants
  • Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aide (FAFSA)

There are plans to increase to Pell Grant annual maximum amounts so its future seems quite secure. Visit the government website for complete information and downloadable worksheets & applications.