The Official Pell Grant Application

Written by Michael Bennet

Before you can become eligible for the Pell Grant you must submit the FAFSA. The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the official Pell Grant application that you must complete if you want to be considered for the variety of federal student aid that is out there, including the Pell Grant.

The information that you provide during the submission of your FAFSA will determine if you are able to qualify for a Pell Grant, and this is why it is crucial that you devote the appropriate attention that is needed while completing this application.

You should be happy to hear that filling out a FAFSA is actually not that difficult, and when all is said and done the most vital thing that you must take into account if you want to successfully complete a FAFSA is having the appropriate information by your side that is needed while completing this form. This will help you fill it out as accurately, and as quickly as possible.

Required Documents and Information

More specifically, the actual information and documentation that you should have close by when completing your federal Pell Grant application includes the following items:

  • You should make sure to have a valid social security number, and a valid driver’s license.
  • Depending on the amount of bank accounts you have, savings, checking, and otherwise, you will have to have all the appropriate records and documentation for such accounts.
  • Knowing your status as a United States citizen is a must due to the fact that you will have to provide your alien registration card, or permanent resident card if you are not a U.S. citizen.
  • Make sure to hold on to all of your home loan information and other related documents if you own a home, as these will be needed when you are completing the FAFSA.
  • If you own a business or a farm—you will need to supply the appropriate data and records that accompany such endeavors.
  • If you have significant investments in stocks, mutual funds, or otherwise, you will need the appropriate documentation to support these types of investments.
  • You will need your spouse’s tax documents if you are married.
  • You will need your parents’ tax documents if you are a dependent.
  • Finally you will have to have all of your W-2 forms, and federal tax returns from the previous year.

Accessing the FAFSA Form

Once you have all of the aforementioned documentation and information at your disposal, completing your Pell Grant application should actually be a snap. You will have the choice to fill out either a written form, or an online version, and it is highly recommended that you opt for the online version if you want to make the process go by as quickly as possible.

If you do want to complete the written form for whatever reason, you can go ahead and obtain the hard copy from either your school’s financial aid department, online at the official FAFSA website, fafsa.ed.gov, or by calling the number 1-800-4-fed-aid. If you decide to complete the online version you can go ahead and do so at fafsa.ed.gov.

SAR: The Student Aid Report

Upon the finalization and ultimate submission of your FAFSA, an SAR will be generated shortly thereafter. The SAR, or Student Aid Report, is an accounting of most of the information that you provided when completing your FAFSA, and it should also contain your EFC, and eligibility status for certain types of federal aid, including the Pell Grant.

This is why it is important to not neglect your SAR after you submit your application even if you are unsure of what it is, as it is critical that you take the time to go over it to ensure that you provided accurate information when completing your application. You’ll be able to see your Pell Grant eligibility status after viewing your SAR, and hopefully by demonstrating a high level of financial need you will be able to qualify for the full Pell Grant amount.

FAFSA Deadlines

If you want to increase your changes of becoming eligible for the Pell Grant and receiving the highest amount of financial aid possible, it is recommended that you make sure to submit your FAFSA by the appropriate deadlines, as not doing so may even put you out of the running for all kinds of federal student aid completely.

The absolute latest deadline for submitting a FAFSA for 2013-14 is set at June 30 for the upcoming fall semester, and the absolute earliest you can submit one is set at January 1. It is actually best to submit one before March, as many institutions send out their award letters by late spring, and base their financial aid qualifications on a first-come, first-serve basis.