The White House’s student loans announcement on Wednesday included a surprise raise for Pell Grant recipients: if their income is less than $125,000 (or $250,000 for a married couple), they are eligible for twice the loan forgiveness of other borrowers with similar incomes. .
Although the aid is not large enough to pay off the average student loan debt, $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients is certainly more relief than $10,000 for other qualified borrowers.
The Federal Student Aid website was quickly flooded with borrowers checking their accounts, many of whom focused on one question: “Did I get a Pell grant?”
It’s no wonder so many people can’t remember all the help they got to pay for college: Student aid is the financial equivalent of L.A. Central Market at lunchtime, a jumble of options, compromises, and uncertain consequences. There are many scholarships, grants, and public and private loans available in addition to what students and parents can afford to pay.
But answering Pell Grant’s question is relatively simple.
How to Know if You Have a Pell Grant
No need to dig through boxes of old records – just log into your account on the Federal Student Aid website. (If you don’t have an account, you can create one on the site’s “Create an Account” page. You’ll need a social security number and contact information.) There, you’ll find a timeline with a breakdown of all the forms of assistance you can receive.
It’s recommended that you sign in (or create an account) whether or not you’re interested in your Pell Grants history, just to make sure the Department of Education has your current contact information and that your billing record is accurate.
But good luck with it today! The site is still overloaded with visitors checking their accounts.
What is a Pell Grant?
Pell grants are a form of federal aid for low-income students that do not have to be repaid, so they are a direct discount on college tuition fees. The money is given by schools to students who have not yet completed a bachelor’s degree or higher, and whose family cannot cover the cost of college education without help.
Unlike many forms of aid, there is no set income limit or other financial factor that determines whether or not you receive a Pell Grant. Instead, the college reviews your free federal student aid application, which provides a detailed picture of your family’s income, assets, and liabilities, to estimate the expected family contribution, which is how much you and your parents (or only you, if you’re independent) can afford. to cover savings or loans. He compares this number to the cost of attendance, which includes tuition, fees, housing, food, and books. If your family contribution cannot cover the cost of your visit, you are eligible for a Pell Grant.
Certain special circumstances may also qualify for Pell grants—for example, if your parent or guardian died while serving as a public safety officer or while serving in the military in Iraq or Afghanistan after 9/11.
Pell Grants are awarded on a sliding scale based on need, with a maximum of $6,895 for the 2022-23 school year. Slightly more than a third of students received Pell grants, with half of the money going to students whose families earned less than $20,000, according to the Education Data Initiative. The average grant, according to EDI, was $4,491.
Roughly 60% of Americans with student loan debt received Pell grants, according to the Biden administration. This means that more than half of the borrowers eligible for the loan forgiveness announced on Wednesday are likely to be eligible for $20,000 assistance rather than $10,000.
The name, by the way, comes from Senator Claiborne Pell of Rhode Island, who championed the program.
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