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How to Apply for a Federal Pell Grant Online

by Maria Magher

The Pell Grant Program provides money for college that students do not have to repay. The maximum award is $5,500 per year, but the amount you receive depends on your financial need, how much tuition costs at your prospective college and whether you will go to college full-time or part-time. Applying for the Pell Grant is easy, and you can do it online by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Go to www.fafsa.ed.gov. Click on "Start a New FAFSA."

Enter your personal information, including your name, your Social Security number and your birthdate. For the next step, you will select a password and enter it.

Indicate if you are a U.S. citizen, if you will be a first-year student and if you will be getting your first bachelor's degree. You must meet all three requirements to eligible for a Pell Grant.

Select the school you plan to attend and enter the federal school code. If you do not know the code, you can search for it on the Pell Grant website.

Enter information about your parents, including their level of education and whether either of them can claim you as a dependent.

Enter information about your finances and your parents' finances. Use your previous year's tax return to help you quickly find the pertinent information, including your gross income and the deductions you claimed.

Review and validate your information. Submit your application.

Items you will need
  • Computer
  • Previous year's tax return for both you and your parents
  • Federal school code for the college you plan to attend

Tips

  • You can save your online application and return to it later if you can't complete the form in one sitting.
  • If you don't want to provide your parents' information, you will have to provide information demonstrating you are an independent student. You can be declared independent if you are married, a military veteran, have children or meet other criteria.

Warning

  • If you provide fraudulent information on your FAFSA, you may have to pay back any financial aid you received; additionally, you may be fined up to $20,000 and receive prison time.

About the Author

Maria Magher has been working as a professional writer since 2001. She has worked as an ESL teacher, a freshman composition teacher and an education reporter, writing for regional newspapers and online publications. She has written about parenting for Pampers and other websites. She has a Master's degree in English and creative writing.

Photo Credits

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