Pell Grant / Financial Aid Frequently Asked Questions
The federal government has a variety of grants, loans and work-study programs to help you pay for continuing education and training.
The President announced in May that he encourages unemployed Americans to consider education and training opportunities during this period of economic hardship. In particular, the President highlighted the availability of federal student aid, including the Federal Pell Grant. If you are currently unemployed, you may be eligible for federal financial aid, including a Federal Pell Grant. The maximum Federal Pell Grant award for the 2009-10 academic year is $5,350.
2. I am currently unemployed. Am I eligible for federal financial aid?
If you are currently unemployed, you may be eligible for federal financial aid. Eligibility for federal grant aid, such as Pell Grants, is need-based and depends on the total income of your family. Federal student loans are available regardless of your income level. Financial aid administrators at participating institutions have been urged to take an unemployed person's current economic circumstance into account when determining a student's eligibility for Pell Grants and other student assistance.
A student must also meet certain other eligibility requirements including (1) not being in default on a federal student loan, (2) having a high school diploma, General Education Development (GED) equivalency or otherwise demonstrate his/her ability to benefit from the education or training offered, (3) being a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, (4) Pell Grants are not available to students who have already received a bachelor's degree, (e. g. cannot be used for post bachelor/graduate degrees) and (5) cannot have been convicted for possession or sale of an illegal drug while receiving Federal Financial Aid.
3. I received a letter from my state workforce agency while receiving unemployment benefits encouraging me to consider seeking additional education and training. Does this mean I will receive federal financial aid?
A letter from your state's workforce agency does not guarantee you federal financial aid. However, you should bring that letter (or, if you no longer have the letter, other evidence you are currently receiving unemployment benefits) to a financial aid office at the school you are considering. The U.S. Department of Education is working with community colleges, colleges and universities to help them meet your financial needs.
4. I am currently unemployed and am in need of benefits and/or reemployment services. Where can I get more information?
Check with your state workforce agency for available benefits and services. Assistance is available to locate state workforce agencies visit your local One-Stop Career Center.
5. What other forms of financial aid are available?
In addition to the federal financial aid offered by the U.S. Department of Education (see Question 1), there may be opportunities from your state or the school that you are interested in may offer scholarships or other institutional aid. For example, some institutions have established special financial aid programs to address the needs of those who have recently lost a job or otherwise have become unemployed. Your local One-Stop Career Center will also have information on training funds available from the U.S. Department of Labor. Visit your local One-Stop Career Center.
6. What costs does a Federal Pell Grant cover?
Federal Pell Grants are available if you are taking classes as part of a program that leads to an undergraduate degree or certificate. Federal student aid, including Pell Grants, can be used to cover a variety of costs, generally including:
- Tuition and fees normally assessed;
- Books, supplies, transportation, and miscellaneous personal expenses;
- Living expenses such as room and board; and
- An allowance for costs expected to be incurred for dependent care for a student with dependents.
7. How much can I receive from a Federal Pell Grant?
The Federal Pell Grant Program is a need-based program and the amount a student is eligible for is determined when you complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). For the 2009-10 academic year, the maximum Pell Grant award is $5,350.
Complete a Federal Student Aid form.
8. Where can I get more information on federal financial aid?
9. What additional resources are available for more information?
Funding Education Beyond High School-The Guide to Federal Student Aid is a free publication that the U.S. Department of Education offers to explain the federal financial aid process.
10. I have additional questions, who may I contact?
http://federalstudentaid.ed.gov/ or call 1-800-4-FED-AID
11. If a recipient is awarded Pell grant will his/her enrollment in training effect his/her unemployment?
12. What is the impact of self enrollment on UI benefits?
As long as the training is approved, the claimant will be able to collect their unemployment benefits without having to meet some of the eligibility requirements.
13. If I am already in training and am not receiving a Pell grant, will I be eligible to receive a Pell Grant?
A claimant who self-enrolls in a training program which will make them more employable by increasing their job skills would have to go through the fact finding interview process to determine if their training could be approved. If the training is approved, the claimant will not have to look for work or accept work while they are attending the school/training.
If you are currently in training and not receiving a Pell Grant, DO NOT withdraw from your training program. Speak to an administrator at your training institution to see if your course of study is Pell Grant eligible then contact the program representative that approved your training program.