Getting a Pell Grant and student loans is not a difficult process. However, it does take timing and good communication with the financial aid offices at the colleges you would like to attend. There is a step by step process that you must go through in order to get your financial aid. There are also deadlines that you have to meet. Otherwise, you could find yourself losing out on financial aid that you might otherwise have been awarded.
Make sure that you fill out all of the information on the FAFSA thoroughly. You’ll need either your last tax return or your parent’s last tax return, as well as a few other basic pieces of information. Anything you don’t fill out correctly just causes a delay in you getting your Pell Grant or federal student loans, which can only cause problems as the beginning of the semester looms. The FAFSA sends a report out to the schools you have chosen where the financial aid office draws together a total financial aid package, which will typically include subsidized student loans, unsubsidized student loans, and a Pell Grant if you qualify for one. It will also include any other scholarships, grants, or work-study programs that the school is offering. You might have to sign the letter and return it to show acceptance of the award. Read your award letter carefully to determine what your next step should be.
If you are awarded a Pell Grant and you do not turn it down, you don’t have to do anything further. The amount will be applied to your tuition bill and you don’t have to worry about it anymore. Your student loan paper will require you to sign a promissory note, which your financial aid counselor will have for you.