Receiving a Pell Grant Disbursement

Written by Michael Bennet

Receiving a Pell Grant disbursement will be dependent on the decision that is made by your school’s financial aid department once you have qualified for the award. Your college should have detailed the award amounts you would be receiving as a result of the Pell Grant in your official financial aid award package.

Pell Grant aid is typically credited on a semester-by-semester basis, and you therefore must ensure that you receive the appropriate amount of aid at the start of each semester.

Using a Pell Grant Disbursement

You can expect most Pell Grant disbursements to be immediately credited towards your current student account balance by your financial aid department. This essentially means that you will never actually handle the money you receive from your Pell Grant, and rather the financial aid office at your school will simply credit the proceeds of your award towards specific education-related expenses, such as tuition, and room and board.

If you don’t have a current account balance at the start of a semester, and all of your institutional costs have already been taken care of, you can expect your Pell Grant aid to be credited into your student account. You can then typically access that money in different ways—this will depend on the policy of the particular institution you are attending. You may then have to request a cash release on the Pell Grant aid that was deposited into your student account if you need to utilize that funding as cash to pay for certain types of college expenses.

Remember that you must use your federal Pell Grant disbursement towards only education-related expenses. These may include things like food, transportation costs, books, and even a computer. While it may be difficult for your school to verify all of your expenses, you did have to sign a form that certified that you would only utilize the proceeds of your Pell Grant in such a proper fashion, so be careful where you end up spending your money.