Pell Grant Funding Increase Of 40% Possible


The Bush Administration is warning that the economic battering consumers are taking today will likely increase the need for the federal government to expand the funding of its popular Pell Grant program college moneyto keep pace with anticipated demand.

Last week, The New York Times published excerpts of a memorandum from Thomas P. Skelly, the Department of Education’s Director of Budget Service, who warned that the country’s current economic climate is stoking demand for Pell Grants which is currently funded to the tune of $14.2 billion annually. Skelly noted that as of July 31, 2008, 800,000 more students had applied for grants than last year, from a program that currently assists six million low-income college students.

Director Skelly has said that funding should be increased to $20.1 billion for the 2009 fiscal year, which would represent an increase of 40% over the previous year. Grants are disbursed to eligible students in amounts ranging from $431 to $4731 with increase in the maximum granted likely.

Applying For A Federal Pell Grant

Before students can apply for a Federal Pell Grant, families must fill out a FAFSA or Free Application for Federal Student Aid form which the federal government will use to determine grant eligibility. The deadline for applying for the upcoming academic year (which begins with the Fall semester) is June 30th. The FAFSA determines what is known as an EFC – Expected Family Contribution – the amount of money that each family must come up with to pay for their student’s schooling.

There are several factors brought into consideration when applying for a Pell grant including: tuition, room and board, books, supplies, and related expenses. Moreover, class load – which is the number of credits carried – is another factor which helps determine eligibility.

Part time students are eligible to receive Pell Grant money, but the amount of money they’ll receive is lower. Each factor is weighed against the family’s EFC to determine whether a grant will be awarded and for how much.


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