Making Use of the Pell Grant on Living Expenses

Written by Michael Bennet

Students are able to use their Pell Grant on living expenses as long as they are able to access their aid once their other account balances have been taken care of.

Pell Grant money is sent directly to the student’s college, so they will have the final say as to how the aid is appropriated, and when the student is able to access it.

Students don’t get sent a check, or receive their money directly via other mechanisms that may be commonplace with other types of financial aid.

Gaining Access

With the school acting as an intermediary, bedrock education related expenses such as tuition will typically be paid for almost automatically. If the student is living on campus their school’s financial aid department will usually credit their account for room and board, which can then be paid for via Pell Grant aid.

These can be considered living expenses, although most students want to know how, and when they will be able to access their Pell Grant money when they know that they are going to be living off-campus.

Students will be able to access the leftover funds in their account by either cash release, or some other mechanism such as direct debt at the beginning of each semester. This process normally works quite well because the Pell Grant is only given to students who have not yet paid for their cost of attendance, and therefore have already had all of their financial aid accounted for.

Using the Pell Grant on living expenses is really about the student understanding their entire financial aid package, and how their aid is supposed to be allocated. Because this is done almost completely by their school’s financial aid department, it is critical that the student contact their school if they have any other questions about this issue.