Important Pell Grant Tips and Keeping It

by April Sargent
(Hopkinsville, Kentucky, USA)

Like a lot of high school graduates that will apply this year for college, I did the same. I have ADHD which only compounded my case. I was unsure of what I wanted to Major in and was encouraged to go ahead and enroll in college right out of high school. I was not aware of all of the changes that would take place nor all that college life would entail. Even though I went to a local community college and stayed at home this still was a major adjustment. My parents did what they thought was best for me all throughout elementary, middle, and high school. My mother thought that taking me off of the medication I was put on in second grade would benefit me better and that my second grade teacher was just picking on me and didn't want to have to deal with keeping my attention. This caused me to struggle the rest of the way through school. It has caused a lot of struggle for me now.

My advice to all of the new and upcoming college bound students would be.... Please make sure you know exactly what you want to do before you enter and apply for your Pell Grant. If you are unsure what it is that you would like to do take a summer and start working somewhere. Explore the places that interest you and make some money before you jump into college. I think that if I would have done this I would have found out that my nitch in life is nursing. I love to help people and I have been a CNA for almost 9 years now. If I would have known this before I applied and started college then I might not have messed things up.

I went to college right out of high school and was awarded a Federal Pell Grant and a CAP Grant. This was a lot of money for someone that had never had the responsibility of taking care of money. I didn't even
have a checking account until I got the Grant money. By being indecisive about what I wanted to pursue now I have ran into issues with the Federal Pell Grant and with student loans. I am still a CNA and am struggling to get into the nursing program at my local community college. I have a tremendous amount of student loan debt and I am on a SAP Appeal that I have to show every semester that the classes I am taking apply toward my degree and it is a struggle to maintain full time status while waiting to apply to the nursing program. I have to work full time also to support myself. After my divorce I lost my home and my car because I didn't make enough to keep them. Now I live in an apartment and have to rely on a friend of mine to take me where I need to go.

Be very careful with your new found freedom and be very careful with your grant money. Have your plan of action in place and ready to go before you apply for your Grant money. Life's lessons come with a price. Please take it from someone that has been there and make sure everything is in place and ready before you take that step. If you don't make the grades and maintain a full time status you will be put on what is called Academic Probation and if that doesn't wake you up then you will be suspended and you will loose all funding. I can tell you from experience that paying for one semester of college on your own with no help and it having to be full time student status is a small fortune that is very hard to come by. Please use your Pell Grant money wisely.

Thanks April for sharing your Pell Grant tips. I'm sorry you had to learn the hard way. Grant money comes with a big responsibility to use it wisely and do good in school. Best of luck to you.

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What I Did To Receive My Pell After Being Denied

by Telia Smith
(De Witt, Arkansas, USA)

After trying for several semesters on getting my degree in accounting, I was faced with a few unusual circumstances that caused me to lose my pell. Not only did I lose my fiance due to a massive heart attack, I was also homeless and had no means of transportation. I thought that all hope was lost. I finally decided to get out the rut of depression I was in and went to the college I was attending and asked my financial aid advisor what was it I could do to receive my pell again. She told me to write an essay to the Pell Committee and wait on the results. I dug deep down within and wrote the essay of my life for the Pell Committee that I thought would get me back in school. I was elated when I found out that I had received my Pell back! Now I am more determined than ever to prove that I can achieve my goals... even if I am 36 years old.

Telia, thanks for sharing. Sorry for your loss. I'm glad you got some great advice from the financial aid office. It's always a good idea to ask for help and request reconsideration. Best of luck to you.

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My College Experience

by Jillian N. Barrois
(Katy, Texas, USA)

My College Experience

For some kids when you think about college you think about parties every night. For kids who think the opposite of parties, they may look at college as being expensive but worth the whole journey of it all. Me personally I look at college being expensive but worth the whole journey.

In the beginning of my college life, I started at Xavier University. Since I did not have any scholarships I had to take out a student loan. I was under age at the time so my parents were in control of the loans. I just was excited about being in college. As soon as I left Xavier and sat out for a year, I was hit with paying my loans back.

I am currently enrolled in college, but under a Pell Grant. I believe it is good to see if you qualify for a Pell Grant first because those you do not have to pay back. The most amount of a Pell Grant you can qualify for is $5,500. To get the full amount you have to be enrolled in at least 12 credits. Which is considered a full time student. If you are not enrolled in college with at least 12 credits, however many credits you enrolled in doing that semester. You only get a portion, for example at my school enrolled in nine credits you only get 75% of the $5,500. It may not be much, but if you are attending a community college all you will need is a Pell Grant.

For me the Grant covers my classes, my books, and my bills since I always tend to have a little extra. I am also offered a subsidized loan and an unsubsidized loan, but since the Grant covers everything for me taking out a loan is not needed for me.

I will inform you on what was informed to me. Although you may get offered a lot of money and you can think about all the things you can do with the money. Only take out what is needed, if you decide to take out more then what you need. The bills will pile up and pile up and you will be drenched in student loans. For the most part of everything college is a wonderful experience and they have a lot of opportunities that can help towards school, you just have to be willing to give it a try.

Jillian, thanks for sharing "My College Experience" with a Pell Grant and financial aid. Good luck to you in college.

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