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
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.
EDUCATION & TRAINING
Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
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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.