2012 Changes To The Pell Grant
Free grants for single mothers and anyone else who qualifies to get a college education has been available for several years. If you’re thinking about going back to school there are some significant changes to the Pell Grant and other federal financial aid for education you need to be aware of.
What Is The Pell Grant
The Pell Grant is awarded to those enrolled in an accredited college, university or vocational program. If you qualify based on your income, you could receive a maximum of $5,500 toward tuition and fees.
Changes To The Pell Grant
Congress voted to make some significant changes to the Pell Grant program. Due to budget cuts to the program, additional changes needed to be made to make up for those cuts.
GED or High School Diploma Requirement Change
On July 1, 2012, you will no longer be eligible for a Pell Grant or any of the other free grants for single mothers interested in going back to school, if you do not have your GED or high school diploma.
The current “ability to benefit test” was created specifically for those without a high school diploma or a GED. Passing this test means you have the ability to benefit from the curriculum offered in college level course work. It’s another way of saying you have the skills and ability to keep up and do the work like any other student. It also allowed you to apply for any of the free grants for single mothers. Congress now requires that single moms and everyone else who wants to get a Pell Grant must have a GED or high school diploma. No exceptions.
If you enroll prior to July 1, 2012 and pass the “ability to benefit test” you can still apply for a Pell Grant. Needless to say, if you’ve been thinking about going back to school. Time is running out. You need to get busy looking for a school. Get yourself enrolled and apply for your Pell Grant. The alternative option which may not be an option if finances are tight. Is to pay for your tuition yourself.
Pell Grant Income Requirements
While you can still take advantage of free grants for single mothers courtesy of the U.S. government. The award amounts have also been “adjusted” for 2012 and beyond. This grant is based on your income. The new income requirement has been reduced. Before your total household income had to be less than $30,000 per year to qualify. That amount has been reduced to $23,000. Unfortunately, that means a lot of single moms and others no longer make the “financial cut”. It also means your EFC or Estimated Family Contribution may also increase.
If awarded a Pell Grant under the new rules, the award amounts will not be as high as before. If you are already attending a college or university on a Pell Grant. It is also possible your grant award will drop significantly as well.
The FESOG which stands for Federal Education Supplemental Opportunity Grant is another of several free grants for single mothers awarded based on financial need. But it’s award has been reduced to a maximum of $1500.00 a year. That’s down from $4,000. Preference is given to those who have already been approved for a Pell Grant. This grant was created to help supplement the Pell Grant award. Remember, you must now have a GED or high school diploma even for this much smaller grant.
So Are There Any Other Free Grants For Single Mothers Trying To Go To School?
The good news is yes there are! But with the major changes in the Pell Grant program, you can ?bet single moms and everyone else will be frantically looking for these grants as well. You’ve got to get started now. There are both corporations and non-profit organizations with plenty of free grants for single mothers to get an education. What’s interesting about the change in the GED or high school diploma requirement. Is the impact it may have on single moms over the age of 35. Many older individuals choosing to go back to school do not have a GED or high school diploma.
What Are My Alternatives?
Well there are alternatives. Like the Jeannette Rankin Foundation. They offer free grants for single mothers over 35. It’s a needs based grant. If you meet their financial criteria, you could get money to attend college. But the Rankin Foundation like many other organizations require you to have either a high school diploma or GED.
Get Your GED!
You’re going to have to get your GED. There’s no getting out of this if you don’t have the financial means to pay tuition yourself. You can enroll in GED classes on line and take practice tests as well. You can also check for GED study programs in your area. Some may be offered free of charge.
While free grants for single mothers are available, funding at least on the federal level is shrinking more and more each year. It’s time to put a plan in place now, before you find yourself unable to attend college due to finances.
You have until July 1, 2012 before the changes kick in. If you are enrolled and apply for one of the free grants for single mothers before the deadline. You are still eligible to receive a Pell Grant and other federal financial aid. But you should get your GED anyway. After the deadline the new rules go into effect. So when the next semester begins, if you do not have a GED you will not receive grant money for the next semester. So you’ll need to decide quickly. It may be easier to get your GED now. Then enroll in the college or university of your choice. This way you won’t have to be concerned about your financial aid disappearing.
Free grants for single mothers are about to become extremely competitive as more and more applicants realize government education grants are quickly becoming a thing of the past.
Did you know that there are free grants for single mothers who want to become teachers? The U.S. school system is in need of motivated well educated teachers to get our educational system back on track. If you’ve thought about teaching as a career, now is the perfect time to go for it!
What about the cost of tuition? Most single moms can hardly afford to take care of their children, let alone the additional financial burden of tuition. Thankfully, the U.S. government has a grant called Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant, also known as TEACH. As with all free grants for single mothers, there are specific requirements you must satisfy.
Free Grants for Single Mothers – Eligibility Requirements
• You have to be U.S. citizen or a qualified non citizen.
• A valid Social Security number is required.
• Must have a high school diploma or GED.
• If you’re a single mom but were home schooled, as long as you satisfied the requirements for your high school diploma according to the laws of your state. You are still eligible for free grants for single mothers.
• If you do not have your high school diploma or a GED you will be given an alternate basic math and reading skills test. This test is given to determine if you will be able to get the most benefit from the instruction offered at a particular school.
• You should be enrolled and completing six credit hours or equivalent courses toward your degree or certification.
• Satisfy any terms as required by your state of residence.
If you satisfy the above requirements, your next step will be to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid also known as FAFSA. You can apply at your school’s financial aid office on campus. By the way, make sure your college or university participates in the TEACH program.
The TEACH grant awards up to $4,000 per year towards your teaching degree. But you must also sign a contract agreeing to teach a minimum of 4 years in low income school districts. If you fail to complete the agreed upon 4 years, your grant will convert to a loan and you will be required to pay back the entire amount. Make sure before you sign on the dotted line, you fully understand that TEACH is one of those free grants for single mothers that remains free only if you fulfill your obligation.
There are other free grants for single mothers you can apply for as well. The Federal Pell Grant which is primarily based on financial need awards a maximum of $5,500 per year. Although, the requirements state that you must not have earned a bachelor’s or professional degree. There are some cases where this requirement is waived if you are enrolled in a teacher certification program.
You’ll find the application process for most free grants for single mothers to be fairly simple. The TEACH application and Pell Grant are no exceptions. So what are you waiting for? Start looking for a TEACH eligible program today, and you’ll be one step closer to starting your career as a teacher.