2012-2013 Pell Grant Eligibility
The maximum Pell Grant award amount continues to be $5,550 for the 2012-2013 school year, but there have been many Pell Grant eligibility changes that congress has passed in the 2012 Budget. Due to continued budget deficits, Congress was forced to increase the Pell Grant standards, which ultimately makes it more difficult for students to qualify.
In order to become eligible for a Pell Grant, applicants must have a GED or high school diploma. This requirement now makes it extremely difficult for immigrant populations who do not have degrees that are recognized by the United Stated education system. Students must now have an accredited high school or GED in order to be eligible for a Pell Grant.
Starting in the 2012-2013 school year, the number of years a student can receive a Pell Grant has changed from 18 semesters to 12 semesters. This has impacted students attending for-profit institutions the most since there is a large percentage of students that have a full-time job and a family. With all these responsibilities, it usually takes these students a longer period of time to complete their program.
Another major change in the Pell Grant Eligibility is that the Pell Grant income level that a student must have in order to receive the maximum Pell Grant amount from $30,000 to $23,000. Students that once qualified to receive the full Pell Grant amount with an income of only $30,000 may no longer be eligible for the full amount unless their income is $23,000 or less.
Estimates vary, but about 100,000 to 150,000 of the program's nearly 10 million recipients are expected to be affected by the new criteria, which go into effect July 1, 2012.
Students that feel they meet the above Pell Grant eligibilities must complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) to be considered for the Pell Grant. The FAFSA takes into account your financial situation and other family related information to determine what you should contribute towards your education. If you are considered low-income and unable to contribute towards your education then you have a good change of receive a Pell Grant for the upcoming school term.