Do you pay back a Pell Grant?


A Federal Pell Grant, unlike a loan, does not have to be repaid. Pell Grants are

typically awarded only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor’s

degree. Under certain conditions, students enrolled in a post baccalaureate teacher

credential program may be eligible to receive Federal Pell Grants.What is a Pell Grant in simple terms?

A Pell Grant is money the government provides for students who need to pay

for college. Grants, unlike loans, do not have to be repaid. Eligible students

receive a specified amount each year under this program.SHOP DISCOUNTED ITEMS AND SAVE HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS

Applying for financial aid as a student can be confusing but Benefits.gov

is here to help. There are many ways to pay for school from personal

funding, student loans, grants, and scholarships. The first step in your

financial aid process is filling out the Free Application for Federal Student

Aid (FAFSA). In this article, you will learn what the FAFSA is and what you

need to do to get started with federal student aid.


What is FAFSA?

Is FAFSA money free?

It is not the financial aid itself. However, the FAFSA enables the student to qualify

for many types of financial aid from several sources. Some of this money is free money,

some must be earned through work, and some must be repaid. There are three main

types of financial aid.

FAFSA is an application used by most two and four-year colleges, universities,

and career schools for awarding Federal, state, and college-funded student aid.

Completing and submitting the FAFSA is free, and it gives you access to the

largest source of financial aid to pay for college or career school.

Most states and colleges use your FAFSA information to decide your eligibility

for state and school aid. Some private financial aid providers may use your

FAFSA information to decide whether you qualify for their aid as well.

When Should I Apply?

You should submit your application as soon as the FAFSA begins accepting

applications for your planned school year. The opening date changes each

year but it’s typically in the early fall. Be sure to watch for FAFSA

announcements either on their website or social media accounts to know

when you can begin your application.

You should apply as early as possible to have a chance at the most financial aid.

Some scholarships are on a first come, first serve basis and financial aid

opportunities can run out. Check out the FAFSA deadlines page to view

deadlines for federal and state aid. Your school will also have different

deadlines, so be sure to check with them as well.

What Do I Need to Apply?

Much of the FAFSA application centers around you and your family’s financial

situation. If you are under the age of 18 or your parents are paying for your

schooling, you will need mostly their information.

Here are the kinds of documents you will need to get started:

Your Social Security number

Your parents’ Social Security numbers if you are a dependent student

our driver’s license number if you have one

Your Alien Registration number if you are not a U.S. citizen

Federal tax information, tax documents, or tax returns, including IRS W-2

information, for you (and your spouse, if you are married), and for your

parents if you are a dependent student:

IRS Form 1040

Foreign tax return or IRS Form 1040-NR

Tax return for Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin

Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or Palau

Records of your untaxed income, like child support received, interest

income, and Veterans noneducation benefits, for you, and for your parents

if you are a dependent student.

Information on cash; savings and checking account balances; investments,

including stocks, bonds and real estate (not including the home in which

you live); and business and farm assets for you and for your parents if you are

a dependent student.

How Do I Apply?

The FAFSA is online and can be filled out through Studentaid.gov. There are

several steps to filling out the FAFSA. Make sure you are ready before you

get started and review all FAFSA guides and videos. You will need to create

an account, fill out basic personal information, list which schools you are

applying to, decide your dependency status, and report your parent’s financial


Learn More

For more information on other benefits and resources for students and to find

out what you might be eligible for, check out the Education and Training Category

and the Benefit Finder.

The Benefit Finder can take between 10-30 minutes to finish, and all answers are

kept confidential. Once you have completed the questionnaire, you will receive a

list of government benefits you may be eligible for and where you can apply.

Check out this video to learn more about the Benefit Finder.



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Do you have to pay financial aid back?

The answer depends on the type of aid you receive. If you receive what’s often

called “gift aid” — grants or scholarships — the answer is usually no. But if

you borrow student loans, you’ll very likely need to pay that money back, with interest.