Going Over the Pell Grant Payment Schedule

Written by Michael Bennet

A student’s Pell Grant payment schedule is something that students should at least have a general understanding of, as most Pell Grant aid is disbursed in a unique way that students may not be familiar with.

This is because instead of receiving a check in the mail like a student would expect to receive with most student loans, Pell Grant money is sent directly to the school without the student being able to access the funding beforehand.

This essentially means that the college will act as an intermediary between the aid, and the student, and while the student will still be able to access their funds via their student account, this typically only occurs after certain account balances are taken care, such as tuition, and room and board.

This happens almost automatically, as the school’s financial aid department will allocate their Pell Grant aid seamlessly once it is clear that such education related expenses haven’t been paid for yet.

Accessing Pell Grant Aid

Students will eventually be able to access any leftover Pell Grant money once it has been established that it is not needed for tuition, and other college expenses that may be credited to the student’s account. Because the Pell Grant is only supposed to be used on “education related” expenses, and the student is only able to use it perhaps on living expenses if they are living off-campus, including food, books, and other miscellaneous items.

If the student needs to in fact get a hold of their aid in order to use it on these things they can usually request a cash release that will entail a check being sent to them, or perhaps access their account via a direct debit card. The bottom line is that the student typically needs to wait until their account balance is paid off before they can gain access to their Pell Grant aid, and the majority of the time the student will never actually handle the funding that their Pell Grant provided to them.

The standard Pell Grant payment schedule consists of one disbursement per semester that the student is planning to attend. This means that Pell Grant aid will be sent to their school at the beginning of each semester, typically once during the fall, and once during winter. If the student goes to school on a quarter system, or perhaps is taking classes during the summer, additional disbursements will be made accordingly. Overall the process is fairly simple and straight forward, and most of the time students don’t even need to worry.