Pell Grant Benefits for Nursing Students
The Pell Gant is one of the most common federal grant programs. It is available to all eligible students with no restrictions on field of study. Nursing students may be eligible for this type of financial assistance. Grants are generally preferred to loans because grants do not have to be repaid. While the amount awarded is primarily determined by your financial means, since these funds are administered by colleges and universities, the amount of money they are allocated is also a contributing factor to your overall award. In fact, not all nursing schools participate in the program. If they do not, you will not be eligible for that particular financial assistance option.
Completing the Pell Grant Application
Since this grant program is federally funded, the application process is a bit time consuming. You will need to provide sufficient financial information on your application for a determination of your grant status to be established. The most important documents are your income tax statements. The government can easily verify your information using your tax data. You can apply online in much the same way you apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The easiest way to apply is online. When you do, you will be asked if you are interested in federal student loans to supplement your education financing plan.
Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR)
Once all of your financial data has been submitted, the U.S. Department of Education, which administers the program, uses a complex formula to calculate your maximum award. Incorporated into the formula are your available funds that can be applied to your education, the cost of your college education based on the school you will attending, and the amount of money you are expected to pay toward your education. You will need to know your status as a full-time or part-time student when you apply for this grant. Your financial records and approved award are summarized in your Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR). Your school requires a copy of the ISIR to release your grant funds or apply them to your account.
Application to other federal grant and loan programs must include information about your grant award. You cannot accept more financial assistance than the government has determined you are eligible to receive. Depending upon the amount of your grant award, you may not need other assistance.
State nursing education scholarships and grants may be contingent upon your receipt of a Pell Grant. The intent is that students first seek assistance from the federal government, then states, and finally other sources of financial aid including the nursing school itself, organizations, and foundations.
Many public colleges and universities offer assistance to financially needyy students through the federal Pell Grant program. Most students will apply for assistance when they are first admitted to the school but applications can be reviewed each semester if your financial situation changes. The following is an example of a college that offers the Pell Grant to students.
Saginaw Valley State University (Michigan)
Students enrolled in the nursing programs at the University may be eligible for the Pell Grant. To determine eligibility, students must complete the Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Awards are based entirely on financial need. Typical award amounts range from $500 to $5,500. Part-time students are eligible but may have their award amount reduced accordingly. Only students who are pursuing their first bachelor degree qualify for assistance. Students interested in this grant can get additional information and applications from the financial aid office by calling (989) 964-4103.
While it is not typical, there may be an employer-sponsored scholarship program that requires you to prove you do or do not have a Pell Grant. This may occur with highly competitive scholarship programs. A public hospital that administers scholarships and grants may ask about your grant status if they receive a large portion of their funds from the federal government. This is to prevent duplication of awards.
Some foundations may ask for a copy of your ISIR as proof you have received the grant. They want to make sure you have sufficient funds to pay for your education before they award you a nursing scholarship or grant that you will not be able to use because you do not have the financial means to actually attend nursing school. They may also use it as documentation of your financial need if you are applying for need-based scholarships. This is simpler that asking for tax forms and other records and trying to determine your financial situation. With the ISIR, the work has already been done for them.
Nursing students should apply for a Pell Grant as soon as they have been accepted to an accredited nursing program. You want to get as much as you can in grants before seeking out loans which can be very expensive in the long run.