Another free $400 college aid could be coming your way

(NerdWallet) – College students could see their Pell Grant increased to as much as $400 for the upcoming academic year, thanks to the federal spending bill signed into law on March 15.

Congress raised the annual Pell Grant limit to $6,895 for the 2022-23 academic year as part of the 2022 federal budget. This is the largest Pell Grant increase since 2009.

“The $400 increase in the maximum Pell Grant – the largest increase in 10 years – is a critical and much-needed investment in making college affordable for today’s students,” said Mamie Voight, CEO and president of the Institute for Higher Education Policy, in a statement. Nearly 7 million students receive Pell grants each year, Voight said, and many are minority students.

Pell-eligible students who have already received financial aid award letters for the 2022-23 academic year will likely receive revised letters, according to Karen McCarthy, the Association’s vice president of public policy and federal relations. National Student Financial Aid Administrators, or NASFAA. The increase will be reflected in any financial aid award letters that have not yet been sent.

More for Pell Grants, work-study and PSLF

The increase in funding will affect more than students receiving the maximum Pell Grant. The law expands eligibility and increases reward amounts, according to McCarthy.

The federal budget also includes increased funding for the federal work-study program. Students could see higher scholarship amounts and more students could become eligible for work-study, but those changes aren’t guaranteed, according to McCarthy.

Although the final budget does not contain as much support for students as the initial proposal, it does increase funding for higher education beyond Pell and work-study. Minority Serving Institutions, or MSIs, will receive increased funding over last year’s budget, and programs to help disadvantaged students pursue higher education will also see increased funding.

Funds are also being allocated to the Department of Education to further expand eligibility for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, or PSLF. The ministry has expanded eligibility for the PSLF with a temporary waiver, which runs until October this year; this funding will allow the program to include more borrowers whose previous payments were deemed ineligible.

Submit the FAFSA to be eligible for assistance

In order to be considered for any federal student aid, including the Pell grant and work-study, you must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. Submitting the FAFSA makes you eligible to receive grants, scholarships, loans, and other state assistance.

Submit the FAFSA even if you are just planning to pursue higher education. This will give you an idea of ​​how much help you will receive if you end up signing up. you do not have to accept aid if you decide not to go to university.

The Pell grant, like grants and work-study, is a form of aid that you do not have to repay. Eligibility for the grant is determined by your expected family contribution as well as the cost of attending the school you are considering.

Take advantage of aid you don’t have to repay before accepting federal loans or aid you have to repay. If you must use loans to pay for your education, exhaust all federal loans available to you before applying for private student loans.

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