Students with learning disabilities (LD) who are graduating from high school this year are thinking through where they will go to college and most importantly – how to pay for it. The cost of college can place significant strain on a family’s finances. Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Education offers several programs that provide financial aid to students to attend college.
Among this aid is the federal Pell Grant program. Pell provides grants which do not have to be paid back, to students who can demonstrate financial need. Students can qualify for up to a maximum of $5,550 for this upcoming school year (2012-2013) based on the resources which a dependent student’s family can contribute to the cost of attending college. (An independent student’s aid amount is based on their own financial resources.) A student can apply for a Pell grant at the same time they are applying for other forms of financial aid such as federal student loans. Applying for Pell and other student aid is easy and can be done online through Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Pell provides all students that qualify, including those with LD, a strong foundation upon which to pay for college. As students pick which college they are attending -- whether it is a community college, a 4-year school, or other option -- applying for Pell and other federal student aid should be among the first steps students and their families take to make college affordable.