How Can I Get Pell Grants For Senior Citizens – Older adults over 50 who have retired from their careers or have become empty nesters may find this a golden time of self-reflection and transition. A lot of senior citizens in the United States decide to return to school or college after their retirement and find several options to fulfill their educational goals.
Thanks to the growing number of educational grants for seniors and federal assistance programs that help older adults fund their education without increasing their financial burden. One of the most popular is the Pell Grant for senior citizens which is awarded to students irrespective of their age and is based on the financial need of the applicants.
Highlights of this Post
What Are Pell Grants For Senior Citizens?
Federal funded grants are excellent financial aid opportunities that are provided by the government to enable students including senior citizens to pay for their college fees and other educational expenses.
Pell grants for senior citizens are generally awarded based on the financial need of the applicants instead of academic merit. Unlike student loans, Pell Grants for senior citizens are not required to be repaid. Pell Grant is a widely known and readily accessible federal college grant designed by the government for undergraduates.
The Pell government grants for low-income seniors program has assisted countless low-income students as well as senior students to afford college and continue their education. Even though the amount of tuition awarded by Pell Grants for senior citizens has gone down over time, they are still accessible and may not vanish anytime soon.
History Of Pell Grants For Seniors
The origin of the Pell college grants for senior citizens dates back to the Higher Education Act of 1965, a piece of legislation that was a part of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society Policies and aimed to foster better educational opportunities in the nation.
The Higher Education Act of 1965 not only established the popular federally funded Pell Grants for senior citizens but also included a lot of educational policies like educational loan programs and scholarships.
The Pell Grants for Senior Citizens was formerly known as the Basic Education Opportunity Grant Program and got its name from Claiborne Pell who was a democratic US senator belonging to Rhode Island.
Claiborne Pell was responsible for the establishment of the Pell Grants for senior citizens to benefit low-income college students and incarcerated criminals. Unfortunately, the provision of the legislation was dropped later.
Today billions of dollars are set every year by the United States Department of Education for Pell grants for senior citizens. The amount of the Pell Grants for senior citizens award is also increasing with each passing day. The maximum grant from 2010 to 2011 was $5550 against the Pell Grants for senior citizens award of $4050 in the academic year 2006 to 2007.
How Do Pell Grants For Senior Citizens Work?
The Pell Grant for seniors requires senior students to fill out the FAFSA online. This application will ask a series of questions related to you and your household finances in addition to other pertinent information.
Those who apply for the Pell grants for senior citizens will receive an electronic copy of the FAFSA application. The financial aid officials at your school will determine how much federal amount will be provided to you using the FAFSA application.
Pell Grants for senior citizens are reserved only for undergraduate students however in some cases graduate teacher training programs also cover Pell Grants. The school will calculate the Expected Family Contribution calculated through FAFSA and the cost of your attendance to determine your financial needs.
The cost of your school’s attendance includes tuition, school fees, room, books, board, and other educational expenses. The EFC factor considers family and student income and assets like investments and bank accounts.
What Are The Eligibility Criteria To Qualify For Pell Grants For Senior Citizens?
The Pell Grants for senior citizens address the economic needs of low-income families and provide them with assistance to cover their college costs. Several eligibility criteria are required for senior citizens and other undergraduates to qualify for Pell Grants for senior citizens. These criteria are as follows
Senior citizens and low-income students who are applying for the Pell Grants for senior citizens to meet their college costs have to prove that they are a citizen of the United States or qualified noncitizens and have valid Social Security numbers. Applicants are required to meet both the citizenship and Social Security number criteria to qualify.
2. Strong Proof Of Financial Need
Senior citizens who are applying for Pell Grants for senior citizens to cover their college costs need to prove a robust financial need. Elderly people are required to demonstrate their family situation and why they are unable to meet their tuition costs.
The United States Education Department refers to the assessment of a student’s ability to meet the ongoing education and tuition cost as well as the expected family contribution or EFC. This boils down to the fact that applicants who earn less than $20,000 annually are eligible to receive Pell Grants for senior citizens.
3. High School Diploma Or A General Education Diploma GED
Senior citizens who have a high school diploma or have passed a GED (general education diploma examination) can qualify for Pell Grants for senior citizens.
There may be other relevant home school programs or equivalent examinations that are acceptable under the Pell Grants for senior citizens however to qualify for Pell Grants for senior citizens you need to prove that you have a relevant high school education degree.
4. Enrolled In An Accredited Degree Program
Applicants of the Pell Grant program should be enrolled in an accredited degree or certification program and should not be taking merely classes that include a non-matriculated format. Pell grants for senior citizens aim to help students move on in their college careers and earn a higher degree.
5. Academic Performance
Applicants should have a minimum C average to be eligible for federal financial aid under the Pell Grant program after their first year at a recognized college.
6. Filing FAFSA Free Application For Federal Student Aid
Applicants are required to fill out FAFSA or the Federal Application For Student Aid form and provide all the information related to their assets, personal information, and income details.
Students are required to be certified that they would be using the Pell Grants for senior citizens’ funds for educational purposes only and are not defaulters on any educational loan.
How To Apply For Pell Grants For Senior Citizens?
Students applying for college grants for high school seniors should start by filing federal applications for student forms. The FAFSA form can be accessed easily online. You need to fill out the entire form and submit it online. The process of applying for Pell grants for senior citizens is easy.
You can also submit the FAFSA through email. The paper version of FAFSA can be found at a variety of locations and you can start by visiting the financial aid office of your college. Sometimes legal offices and libraries also carry FAFSA forms. The Pell Grants for senior citizens form will ask for relevant information related to your financial status, household size, educational programs that you are considering, and other important details.
Senior citizens need to fill out FAFSA every year to continue receiving assistance. Older adults looking for government grants for disabled seniors can also qualify for Pell grants for senior citizens. To learn more details about the Pell Grant visit https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types/grants/pell.
How Much Is The Pell Grant Award For Seniors?
The maximum award for the academic year 2022 to 2023 is $6495. This amount may change depending on the availability of the program fund. The grant award that you get depends on your cost of attendance and EFC. Students may receive one Pell Grant every year. Being eligible for Pell grants for senior citizens will open doors to many federal grant programs.
The information entered in the application changes every year thereby leading to different grant awards. The Pell Grants for senior citizens award is given to students for the entire year from July 1st to June 30th. If the financial situation of a family changes after filing FAFSA the family needs to file an appeal with the school to receive a larger Pell grant.
The best thing about the Pell Grants for senior citizens is that there are no age restrictions therefore individuals belonging to any age can apply for the Pell Grant. It is critical to note that older adults should apply for Pell Grants for senior citizens within the deadline to secure the grant.
What Are The Significant Benefits Of Pell Grants For Senior Citizens?
Before seniors look for any other education grant they should first complete filing the Department of Education’s Free Application For Federal Student Aid and apply for the Pell grants for senior citizens.
The Pell Grant is one of the most flexible and generous college grants designed for individuals of all ages including senior citizens. Following are the significant benefits your citizens can receive on becoming eligible for Pell grants for senior citizens.
1. Substantial Grant Award
The Pell Grants for senior citizens offer financial aid to undergraduate students that can help them cover their education expenses and college fees. The upper limit of the Pell grants for senior citizens is $5500 per year.
The college tuition cost is somewhere around $25,000 to $30,000 per year for students who have enrolled in private post-secondary institutions. Even though the Pell grants for senior citizens are not huge, they can help you to reduce your financial burden to a great extent.
2. The Pell Grant Can Be Received Up To 4 Semester For Academic Year
Eligible older students can receive Pell Grants for senior citizens for up to 4 semesters of the academic year. Even though there can be certain restrictions to this point it is desirable as the grant award enables students including elderly people to take advantage of the Pell grants for senior citizens and speed up their college education process.
3. Pell Grant Amount Can Be Adjusted As Per The Financial Status Of The Student
If an older adult experiences changes in his or her financial status, the Pell Grants for senior citizens amount can be adjusted as per the changes after already being awarded an initial amount.
4. Pell Grant Can Be Used Retroactively
Another benefit of becoming eligible for Pell grants for senior citizens is that you can use the Pell Grant to refund the tuition fees that you have already paid. In other words, if a student elects more courses than what is applied, the Pell Grant amount can be changed, and the extra tuition amount will be paid or refunded at a later time. The Pell Grants for senior citizens award can be received for a class that a student takes a second time.
5. Pell Grant Program Offers Advances To Students
The Pell Grant award is paid in October for the fall semester and in March for the spring semester. Advances on the Pell grants for senior citizens are offered to help eligible students cover initial expenses such as school supplies and books. The advance amount is usually $500.
To bridge the gap between the cost of attendance and the expected family contribution, many schools offer Pell Grants for senior citizens, work-study programs as well and a combination of unsubsidized and subsidized federal loans.
Going back to school and attaining educational goals as a senior citizen can be daunting and overwhelming especially if you have not attended school for a long time. There is no upper limit to expanding your knowledge and skills and going back to school is possible at any age. However, the cost of education in the United States can be really expensive even if you’re a senior citizen and you have a good chunk of savings or financial resources behind you. There are ways through which you can continue your education and cover the cost. The Pell Grants for senior citizens is one such way through which you can fulfill your dream of going back to school or college.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Apply For Pell Grants For Senior Citizens?
Paying for post-secondary education can be expensive for anyone and seniors might not wish to use their hard-earned savings or pensions to pay for the educational courses therefore applying for Pell grants for senior citizens funded by the federal government will help you to pay for the courses.
How Can I Receive Pell Grants For Senior Citizens?
Based on your FAFSA details the Department of Education will decide your expected family contribution amount on the form. The federal government uses the details to determine the amount of money that you will be receiving through Pell Grants for senior citizens.