Attending college can be an expensive endeavor; however, the Federal Pell Grant Program can help prospective students to reduce out-of-pocket expenses by paying for tuition, textbooks, and in some cases, living costs as well. These grants are available to low income individuals who are seeking post-secondary diplomas, yet are unable to afford the rising cost of getting a quality education. Vital information regarding the Pell Grant process is something all applicants should be aware of before filing.
Filing for a Pell Grant can be done electronically or by regular mail. Filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step. When filing on the web, enter fafsa.ed.gov into the computer's browser. Before clicking on the link, double-check the highlighted address below the link; other websites that look similar will attempt to seek payment for filing. The government website application is absolutely free. When using the postal service, applications can either be acquired on college campuses or printed out via the FAFSA website, and then mailed in upon completion.
A series of questions will be asked during the filing process, starting with date of birth, Social Security Number, driver's license / ID number, income tax returns, and bank statements. A PIN (Personal Identification Number) will be issued under the condition that the applicable is considered independent. If not, a signature from one or both parents is required. The PIN will enable applicants or parents to sign the form electronically, as well as enabling access to the application for any needed changes. It is also important to obtain the appropriate school code, as each participating academic institution has a numbered code that coincides with the college or university the student plans to attend.
The same principle applies to the FAFSA paper applications for mailing; however, the process will be transported out much quicker when filing on the web. Once the application is completed electronically, the form can be printed out immediately, which is recommended. From that point, the completed FAFSA form can be accessed at any time, except for Sundays between 5:00 AM and 11:00 AM, Eastern Standard Time (EST). A valid PIN is always required to gain access. Applicants will also be notified by email, verifying that the form is being processed. A Student Aid Report, or SAR will be sent back to the applicant approximately 1 week after electronic submission, and two to three weeks when done by standard mail. These have been the primary steps that are need to complete this Pell Grant application, and students that are able to complete such steps should be able to meet their final end goals of receiving a substantial amount of Pell Grant aid.