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Financial Aid

How Pell Grants can help college students

If you say the word free, you will catch the attention of any college student in a 3-mile radius. At a time in their lives where money is dwindling quickly due to the independence of college years anytime the word free is included, a large crowd of college students will appear. When it comes to paying tuition, this is especially true. The two most sought-after forms of financial aid are scholarships and grants. Federal grants essentially award you with money toward your college education that you don’t have to pay back.

What is a grant?

The U.S. Department of Education annually awards grants to help students pay for college. Grants are given on the basis of financial need within your family, the cost of your education and the ability to meet certain criteria. There are four types of federal grants including Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Education Opportunities Grants, Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants, and state-issued grants. The most common for undergraduate students is the Pell Grant. In the 2018-2019 year, the maximum Pell Grant award was $6,095 for the academic year.

How do I receive a Pell Grant?

In order to apply for a Pell Grant, students must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which is better known as FAFSA, online. A report will then be sent to the student explaining the amount awarded and the criteria that applied to this amount. The grant is then paid precisely to the college the student is attending.

Do I have to pay back grants?

The grant requires you to maintain a few criteria to receive the award. However, there are cases where you might have to pay back the grant, withdrawing from the university, changing enrollment status—such as going from a full-time student to a part-time student—or you are awarded other funds that reduce the amount of federal aid needed. As long as you meet these few requirements, the money goes toward your college education.

How do I check my grant at SDSU?

To accept grants and get records on the amount awarded, look on SDBOR Banner Self Service Center. The South Dakota State University Financial Aid Office can also be contacted at (605) 688-4695 or sdsu.finaid@sdstate.edu.