How to Locate Free Pell Grants for Felons

thumbs upIt can be a challenge to get your life in order after leaving prison. There are so many things to think about- finding a jog, healthcare, and a place to live. The smartest move may be to go college and get a degree to ensure you find the best career path. While college can be expensive, there are programs designed to take away some of the financial pressure. Free Pell Grants for felons are on way to reduce tuition costs. One of the best benefits is that it never has to be repaid.

The Pell Grant Program is managed by the U.S. Department of Education through the Federal Student Aid division. It provides grants to individuals who can show financial hardship. Awards can be as much as $5500 per calendar year. That is the maximum. You can receive a Pell Grant award once a year for up to 12 semesters before your benefits are maxed out.

Applying for a Pell Grant is a simple process.  You need to fill out the Federal Aid for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA) form which is available online or in any financial aid office. Your answers will determine how much money you qualify for. The FAFSA is also a factor in many other financial aid programs so it is important to fill it out as soon as you are ready to go back to school.

In order to apply for free Pell Grants for felons you must be enrolled or accepted in a participating school. Students in a bachelor’s or vocational program take priority over higher degree programs. There are few awards that don’t fit into those two categories. You must also be a US citizen.

Once you complete the FAFSA you will be able to find out about whether you qualify for free Pell Grants for felons. There are certain reasons why you could be rejected from the program. The US Department of Education has a complete list under the Federal Pell grant eligibility section which includes:

  • incarceration
  • involuntary civil commitment
  • no social security number
  • history of defaulted loans
  • males unregistered with Selective Service
  • illegal residency

Most individuals released from prison can qualify for free Pell Grants for felons but there are exceptions. Check with the website if you have any questions. You can keep track of your benefits by registering at

There is a formula used to decide how much you qualify in the free Pell Grant for felons program. Many factors are taken into consideration but the most important numbers are your household income and the number of members in your household. They combine to the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The lower your EFC the more you may qualify for. The EFC changed from 5273 to 4995 in 2012.

If you want to get an idea about how much you qualify in the free Pell Grants for felon circumstance, then you can use a tool provided by The Department of Education. FAFSA4caster is an online calculator which can estimate your specific eligibility. To find out the tuition for schools you are interested in, follow the link to College Navigator.

Before you sit down to use FAFSA4caster you may want to gather any financial paperwork that will need to be taken into consideration, including bank accounts, tax records, and paystubs. After completing the form you will get a worksheet with the estimated amount of money you are eligible to receive through Federal Work-Study, your Pell Grant amount, and the maximum loan amount you can apply for.

There are a few ways in which to receive your free Pell Grants for felon payments. Usually the money is disbursed in two payments- one for each semester. It goes directly to your tuition.

In addition to the free Pell Grants for felons, you may want to check out a few other programs. There are no specific loans for ex-offenders but the Small Business Administration (SBA) does not block ex-offenders from applying for business loans. There is an SBA office in every state if you want more information.

The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) offers numerous career planning services through its One-Stop centers. There are assessment tools, help with Unemployment Insurance, career counseling, job-placement assistance, and educational services. Day care and transportation may also be provided. You can find local One-Stop centers by searching online.

You may also want to check out the Occupational Outlook Handbook offered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The handbook is updated every two years with worker conditions, expectations, training, and education requirements. Information about careers can also be at the site.

There are many options to help you assimilate back into the community, including fee Pell Grant for Felons. Take a look at your choices as soon as possible to make the process smooth.

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