How to pay for college is one of the biggest questions kids and parents face today. College costs have skyrocketed with no end in sight so how can you find money to help students and parents incur less college loan debt.A viable option is educational grant programs. This money source is awarded to offset the high price of college tuition for those that cannot afford loan programs. The grant money awarded does not have to be repaid and can be used towards a student’s tuition at a university or college.

One of the federal government’s biggest educational grant programs is the Pell Grant and it is intended for students from low income families. The reason the federal government offers this program is to provide access to a college education for those who truly cannot afford the tuition but deserve an opportunity to education that will eventually allow them to get a successful job. In order to apply for the Pell Grant a student must first check to see if their college participates in the program, it is rare that a secondary school would not participate in the program but it needs to be checked.

Pell grants are disbursed by the colleges but the money comes directly from the federal government which is a plus because you don’t have to compete against other students when applying. In order to apply for the Pell Grant you have to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Then the government uses the financial information from the FAFSA to determine if the student is eligible for the program.

If eligible the government uses a formula to figure how much aid the student will receive for the year. Every year the amount does increase since most colleges also increase their tuitions on a yearly basis. If the student attends school full-time they will receive more money than part-time students.

The majority of the Pell Grants are awarded to undergraduate students working towards their first Bachelor’s degree, making it very rare that a student would receive money for their postgraduate degree. In order to keep receiving money each year from this particular educational grant program the student must update their FAFSA application yearly and also keep a minimum GPA of 2.0 (in most cases) otherwise they risk of becoming ineligible for any given year. .

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