Many single mothers think that once you qualify and receive financial aid that you are free and clear. While that is true in some cases, in others you may be forced to repay part or all of your financial assistance. Here are some of the common rules and regulations for receiving financial aid, such as Pell grants. The amount of assistance you receive from your Pell grant is based on your income. They use your EFC, or expected family contribution, to determine how much money you will receive from the government. If your award letter from your university states that you will receive $5000, don’t expect to instantly get handed a check.
That $5,000 figure is based on you going to school full time, registered with at least 12 college credit hours. What if you just want to take six hours? You would receive 50% of your award, as six hours is considered half time. Taking ¼ time, or 3 hours, would get you $1250. Going ¾ time would get you 75% of your $5,000 award, or $3750. If you drop a class and go from full time to ¾ time expect to have to pay back the difference. If you drop all of your classes expect to pay back all of your Pell grant money. In some cases, like if you can’t afford to give part of your award money back, it is better to fail a class than to drop.
You must have a grade point average of at least 2.0 to continue getting financial aid. If you flunk a class and your overall GPA drops below 2.0 say goodbye to your Pell grant. You must pay for a class out of your money, get your GPA back up, and then if you still qualify for a grant you will start receiving one again.
You must reapply for a Pell grant every year. Financial aid starts over in January. As soon as you complete your IRS tax return re-apply with a FAFSA. Your aid awarded at the beginning of the year covers the Fall semester of that year and then the Spring semester in the following year. Basically you apply in January and February for the semesters starting in September and the following January. While grant money is basically free money for college, you do have to play by the rules. Do good in your classes, don’t drop, and you should be fine.