Should I pay back my Pell Grants?

All the students who received this financial aid for their college expenses in the form of Pell grants have one question in common: Should I pay my pell grants back? If you are one among them? Feel lucky you have landed at the right place. Check out this article.

Updated by Viswathika on 30th January 2020

Answering the question 'Should I Pay Back My Grants?

Well, it's a NO.

You don't have to pay back the money you got as a Pell Grants. Only those who fail to complete their academics for which the grant was awarded must pay some portion.


Pell Grant is a need-based financial aid provided to pursue the first bachelor's degree or the students who are enrolled in certain post-baccalaureate programs by the U.S federal government.

Using Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) the government calculates the family's expected family contribution (EFC) and decides the amount of Pell Grant to be provided.

All the students who received this financial aid for their college expenses in the form of Pell grants have one question in common: Should I pay my pell grants back? If you are one among them? Feel lucky you have landed at the right place.

In this article, we will see whether to pay the pell grant back. If so, under what conditions and how to tackle them.


Also Read - Expected Family Contribution


Pell Grant, Scholarships and Loans

Pell grants are a non-taxable financial option given to students with financial need. These funds can be used to pay student's tuition and other college fees.

Pell Grants are typically similar to the scholarship you receive for your exceptional performance in academics. The only difference is that scholarships are merit-based and are given based on your academic excellence.

Both do not demand you pay it back unless the given requirements are satisfied.

On the other hand, Pell Grants and Loans are poles apart. Loans on the majority of the time require interest and should be repaid within the period mentioned.


Read More - Are Pell Grants Taxable


Here are some of the reasons which may need you to pay back your Pell Grants.


When should I pay back my Pell Grant?

Not under all cases, you should back your grant. Here are 303984 cases which makes you ineligible for the grant obtained and you should pay the grant back.

  • Withdrawing from program

If you have received the Grant based on the program you took in your college, you must pay back the grant if you have withdrawn or changed the program. But you don't need to pay the full amount back. You are required to pay half of the unused money. 

    For Example, If Summit receives $800 as Pell Grant for Science program and due to some circumstances he quits the semester mid-way or completed 50%. So now the unused money he has is $400. He must repay half of this amount. That is, he must pay back $200 to the Federal Government.

But, If you change the program after completing the semester for more than 60%, then you don't require to repay it.

  • When you become 'Pell-Overpayment'

Changing your enrollment status like the time you spend in college from Full-time to half-time makes your fees lesser. Now you will have some excess Grants, If you did not pay back the excess money back then you are categorized as 'Pell-overpayment' and will not receive any further Federal financial aids. So before changing any categories consult your management or the federal aid administrator.

  • Excessive Financial aids

This is a rare case to occur. If you receive financial aids which includes your: Pell Grants, scholarships and other financial assistance by institutions and receive money $300 more than your cost of attendance or your tuition fee, your Pell Grants get canceled and you need to repay the money offered. If you receive other scholarships and aids make sure that the money you receive overall is within this limit. Also, consult your college administrator if you get excessive financing.

                                  excess money from financial aid


Finally,

To conclude- Pell Grants are non-taxable 'gift-aid' you receive that do not require to be repaid. Just ensure that you follow all the obligations and fulfill the requirement needs of the pell grant. Pell grants are renewable scholarships, which you do every year. Do not forget to renew before the deadline.