Committing a felony is not necessarily the end of the world–provided you have paid your just dues to society of course. I have met many ex-felons who learned from their mistakes and were genuinely committed to getting their lives back on track and becoming useful, productive members of society. Part of that process often includes continuing with their education.
With that in mind, many ask the question,
“Can felons get federal pell grants to continue their studies?”
Fortunately, the answer is yes. With the right commitment to reintegrate back to society, you can have the support of the federal government to return to or attend college for the first time and start the process of getting your life back on track. If you know any felon who wishes to continue their studies, the Pell grant can help provide the financial boost they need to attend college or a university.
What is A Federal Pell Grant?
A federal Pell grant is a federal government grant that can provide as much as $6,000 per year to cover the expenses of tuition at any approved and credentialed college or trade school. It is not a loan — there is no need to repay it. A felon only needs to meet the eligibility requirements to apply and be awarded a Pell grant.
Given the unfortunate inherent discrimination against ex-felons in the world of white collar jobs, many ex-felons choose to use their Pell grants to attend a trade school, because there tends to be less discrimination in these lines of work.
Pell Grant Eligibility and Application Steps
Pell grant applications follow a strict set of guidelines before they are awarded to deserving students. Provided by the US Department of Education, the foremost qualification is financial need. Your previous academic performance will not matter much. If your felony conviction was for a drug offense, you will have to meet two requirements:
- Complete an approved drug rehabilitation program.
- Complete and successfully pass two random drug tests from an approved drug rehabilitation center.
Next, an ex-felon applying for a Pell grant must clearly show that there is financial need. The grant calculation will focus on the cost of the school and the capability of you or your family to contribute or provide funding for your education. The initial process also factors in whether you plan to be a part-time or full-time student. Note that you can only get a Pell grant for 12 semesters.
For Pell grant eligibility, an applicant must be a US citizen and should have a high school diploma or GED Certificate. If the applicant is male, he should also be registered with the US Selective Service. You can learn more about financial aid requirements by visiting the StudentAid.gov website.
The Pell educational grant can be processed once the applicant has been accepted or enrolled in an accepted undergraduate degree program. Other requirements include a clearance that the applicant is not in default on a federal student loan.
This Pell grant provides financial aid for educational purposes only. A sufficient and satisfactory GPA must be maintained all throughout the program.
To apply for a Pell grant or other types of student loans, one must start by submitting a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. This needs to be filled out every year you are in school to remain eligible. Complete your application by making a checklist of all the necessary documents to prove your identity and financial distress.
Expert Tips for Winning a Pell Grant
The Pell Grant is a need-based grant for students, including ex-felons. Whatever you did in the past should not matter, especially if you have served your time and are committed to change. To have a better chance for Pell grant approval, you should clearly present your situation and how this financial boost can help you regain your life and turn over a new leaf. It also helps if you can illustrate the depth of your financial struggles.
Your chances may also be bolstered if you have a parent or guardian who died or served in the US military in Afghanistan or Iraq after 9/11. The best case scenario is if you were 24 years old or less when your relative died — and that you were enrolled in school during that time.
Scholarships for Felons and Other Education Financial Aid for Felons
The Pell grant is not the only type of financial aid for felons wishing to attend college. There are both student loans for felons and scholarships for felons, both of which can provide extra financial aid for ex-felons wishing to pursue a college degree.
For example, students looking to attend college–including ex-felons–can get an additional $4,000 in financial aid if they are eligible for the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant.
If you are looking for scholarships, there are a number of programs that offer scholarships for felons. The website HelpforFelons.org has a great list of scholarships for felons.
As you can see, the answer is yes to the question, “Can felons get Pell grants to continue their studies?”
Interested in learning more?
Contact me today and let’s talk!