Pell Grant Returns to Offer Students Financial Aid

The Liberty University full-year Pell Grant is back and available to students once again after being eliminated with the Department of Education’s $9.2 billion budget cut in 2017.

The year-round grant offers financial aid for the two semesters during the school year and additional aid for the summer.

The Pell grant is a government-funded award that is given entirely off of need. It is not in any way off of performance or academic record like a scholarship would be, as grants are a form of financial aid that does not need to be paid back. The grant provides anywhere from $593 to $5,920 for eligible students.

The amount of aid given depends on financial need, costs to attend school, student status as a full-time or part-time student and plans to attend school for a whole academic year or less.

“The Pell Grant is unique because students do not have to apply separately (like for most financial aid),” Dimitri Stevanus, a Liberty financial aid call center agent, said.

To become eligible for the grant, an undergraduate student must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid on time and be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen.

The FAFSA plays a big part in the allotting of the grant. The Pell Grant can be given if the FAFSA form cannot be evaluated, as it is the most accurate way to determine the financial need.

Year-round Pell Grants are different from summer Pell Grants because it can provide up to 50 percent more in aid than the latter.

“It cuts down the cost of tuition big time,” Stevanus said.

Liberty University senior Megan Versen personally experienced the help of a Pell Grant.

“I would not have finished school without (the Pell Grant),” Megan Versen said.

As Versen’s financial situation changed, she thought she was not going to be able to finish her schooling.

“I received the Pell Grant for my final year because we had lost all of our income after the passing of my stepdad,” Versen said.

Versen is not the only student at Liberty because of a Pell Grant, Stevanus said he felt that it would not be hard to find someone in a crowd at Liberty who received the grant.

“Financial aid was nowhere near enough for me to try and finish this last little bit of schooling,” Versen said. “When they told me I qualified for the Pell Grant and how much I received, that was just enough for me to make it through the school year and finish college.”


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