Educational Pell Grants For Felons: Step by Step Guide on Applying for a Pell Grant
If you have a felony and are looking for a way to pay for going to college, the federal Pell Grant Program can give you as much as $6,000 per year toward the cost of your tuition.
The best part is that a Pell Grant is NOT a loan, its actually free money that you will never have to repay.
Not everyone qualifies and there are specific eligibility criteria you would need to meet.
However, having a felony record, does not automatically disqualify you from getting the funding. We will go over what the criteria are, and break down the application process step by step.
What is a Pell Grant?
It is a need-based grant offered to undergraduate students, who want to enroll in a college or technical school. This money is provided by the US Department Of Education.
The main criteria to qualify is financial need. Your grades or other type of merit you may have received while in high school do not make a difference.
For the 2018-19 academic year, the maximum amount you can receive is $6,095. However, how much you can personally get, will depend on the following:
– your financial need. Its determined based on the cost of your school and your expected family contribution.
– cost of your school
– whether you are a part or full time student
– whether you attend for the full academic year or not
It is important to realize that you can only get a Pell Grant for 12 semesters, which is equivalent to 6 years.
Also, you may be eligible for a larger Pell Grant, if you have a parent or guardian who served and died in US military in Iraq or Afghanistan, after 9/11. You could qualify, if at the time of death, you were less than 24 years old, and enrolled in college or technical school at least part time.
Finally, it is possible to get up to $4,000 per year extra in grant money, if you are eligible for a Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant.
Basic Eligibility Criteria
Here is a list of criteria, every applicant must meet in order to be considered for the Pell Grant.
– Be a US citizen or an eligible none – citizen
– Have a high school diploma or GED Certificate
– Demonstrate financial need
– If male, you must be registered with US Selective Service
– Be accepted or enrolled in an eligible undergraduate degree program
– Certify that you are not in default on a federal student loan
– Certify that you will use federal aid only for educational purposes
– Maintain satisfactory GPA while enrolled in the program
If you want to go to college, but have not completed your high school education, find out how to get your GED.
Once you decide that you want to go college or trade school, its very important to choose the right major or course of study. If you are going to be spending thousands of dollars on a professional degree, you better make sure that you can get a good job after graduating. Too many felons make the mistake preparing for a career in a field where they have very low chances of being hired because of their criminal past. Learn about the top degrees for ex-cons that will launch your successful career.
Am I eligible if I have a felony?
There is a very common misconception that individuals who have a felony conviction cannot qualify for a Pell Grant. This is not true. The fact is that you are cannot get a Pell Grant while you are still incarcerated. However, once you are released, you are eligible to apply. In fact, its best to start applying when you are close to being released, because it will take time to process your application.
One disqualifying felony is a conviction of a sexual offense (forcible or non forcible), and you are subject to an involuntary civil commitment after being released from prison.
Another situation where your eligibility may be limited or suspended is for a drug related crime.
– your eligibility might be suspended if the offense took place while you were receiving federal student aid. However, you may regain eligibility (even during the same award year) if you successfully complete an approved drug rehab program, or pass two unannounced drug tests administered by an approved drug rehabilitation program.
– If you are convicted of a drug-related crime after you submit the FAFSA application, you may lose eligibility for the grant or any other type of federal school tuition aid. Moreover, you may be asked to pay back any federal money you got during a period of ineligibility.
– If you are convicted of selling an illegal drug two times, your aid will be taken away indefinitely.
– For possession crimes, you get three strikes, before your aid is revoked for good.
How do I get paid?
There are several options to consider:
– your school can apply the grant directly to your tuition costs
– you can get paid directly
– a combination of the above two
What should I do to maintain my grant?
In general, its not difficult to continue being eligible for the grant. First, you need to stay enrolled in an undergraduate program at a US based school. Second, you need to fill out the FAFSA form every year that you are in school. Third, you need to maintain a certain GPA (get good grades), complete a specific number of credits every year and successfully move toward finishing your degree. All of this will depend on the particular school you will be attending.
How to apply for a Pell Grant?
To start the application process, fill out a FAFSA form.
When you go through the application, it is very important that you are honest about your felony conviction. Similarly, you have to be truthful about your finances, and report an honest amount for your family contribution.
Even if you don’t qualify for a Pell Grant, filling out the FAFSA may help you gain access to other types of education loans and grants that you would qualify for.
While it is not easy to go back to school after serving time in prison, don’t let the challenge derail you from getting your life back on track. Higher education can open a lot of career opportunities for you, help you earn a good living and live as an honest, upstanding citizen.
I just got out of prison May 2 of this year after being down for 4 and a half years. I must say it is really hard out here for convicted felons. I had a job and a home when I got out until my uncle decided he was going to move back to Michigan and only give me one week notice and the day I was suppose to be out of the house Work called and said they has to terminated because their policy changed for felons and I was there 6 wks if not longer. Now I am homeless living with people that use and mind you I have been clean for almost 5 years! It is really hard and all I got to say guys is if you got someone incarcerated about to get out they need you more then ever
My daughter was convicted for a s*xual offense and will be release in 16 months, is there any help with any grants that she can utilize in continuing her education and guidance in what subject would fit her best due to her past.
My son has been in prison in Mississippi for 20 years and will be paroled to south Carolina at the end of 2024. He already has higher education, is a certified paralegal, and advanced paralegal in the fields of criminal and civil litigation. I’m searching for employers who may consider hiring an ex-felon as a paralegal (advocate in the upstate South Carolina region. Any suggestions ?
My fiancée will be released June 14,2020.He’s seeking information about grants for truck driving school.Could you please email me information on how he can get started now?
Want to go to truck driving school how to i get pell Grant to pay for school
I filled out the FAFSA form. Did not see any questions asking about a felony, other than a drug related felony question. My felony is not drug related. Also since I did the automatic transfer of my last years tax form from IRS, will it know that I’m unemployed since I lost my job at the begging of this year?
So I already received fafsa and a grant but it still doesn’t cover my college expenses i still owe 900 per semester and I still have to pay for my books any grants available? Desperate
Could you please send me some more imfo or a FAFSA application to fill out
I want to Go to Truck Drivers School and want to Apply for Pell Grant ?
My son is looking to go to welding school and he just got of state jail and is a felon and will be off parole in may. He was told about pell grants and he is 25 years old. What website can he apply for pell grant.
I will be released in 2 months and started the FAFSA process. However I did not see anywhere to describe my felony conviction?
I’m looking for Pell Grant’s for ex-felons in ALABAMA
Attending online college in NORTH CAROLINA
I’m looking for information on grants. I know I will definitely qualify thanks for the info.