Accessing Your Pell Grant Funding

Written by Michael Bennet

Most students understand that the Pell Grant can provide them with up to 5,645 dollars per year to put towards their college expenses, but many fail to understand some of the critical intricacies of this federal award.

The reality is that most Pell Grant funding is quickly utilized on tuition and various living expenses, and only a minority of the time does a student actually gain access to their Pell Grant aid directly.

Direct Deposit

This is because Pell Grant funding is typically deposited directly into the student’s account at school, and then quickly applied to any outstanding account balances that may exist.

Because the Pell Grant is disbursed at the beginning of each semester, students normally have large account balances that must be paid for, and when the Pell Grant funding comes in, it is immediately used to pay for such account balances.

Accessing Pell Grant Aid

If there is money leftover after everything has been paid off, the student may then have a chance at gaining access to their remaining aid via several different mechanisms, such as via direct debit, or perhaps a cash release. This almost always takes place after the student has paid all of their critical education related expenses such as tuition, so that they can in fact attend school.

Remaining education related expenses such as books, and perhaps money for living expenses if the student lives off-campus can then be paid for directly by the student with the Pell Grant aid that they may have accessed via their student account. Students who have major concerns about this process should contact their school’s financial aid department, as each college may handle this situation a bit differently.