The Constitutional Principle: Separation of Church and State
Welcome Contents What's New Search this site
Visitors since 7/15/1998
Links Guest Book Contact Us
This site is eye friendly: Use your browser's view options to increase or decrease font size

Pell Grants

From the Student Information Web Page:

Researched and edited by Susan Batte.


When you apply for federal student aid, the information you report is used in a formula, established by the U.S. Congress, that calculates your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), an amount you and your family are expected to contribute toward your education. If your EFC is below a certain amount, you'll be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, assuming you meet all other eligibility requirements.

There isn't a maximum EFC that defines eligibility for the other financial aid programs. Instead, your EFC is used in an equation to determine your financial need.

Cost of Attendance (COA) less Expected Family Contribution (EFC) =
Financial need (FN)

There appears to be some discretion on the part of the financial aid administrator in determining the student's Cost of attendance and Expected Family Contribution:

Your financial aid administrator (FAA) calculates your cost of attendance (COA), and subtracts the amount you and your family are expected to contribute toward that cost. If there's anything left over, you're considered to have financial need. In determining your need for aid from the SFA programs, your FAA must first consider other aid you're expected to receive.

Your FAA can adjust the EFC formula's data elements or adjust your COA if he or she believes your family's financial circumstances warrant it based on the documentation you provide. However, the FAA does not have to make such an adjustment. See Special Circumstances for more information. In spite of this discretion, it appears that the maximum annual award was relatively small:

Awards for the 1996-97 award year (July 1, 1996 to June 30, 1997) will depend on program funding. The maximum award for the 1995-96 award year was $2,340. Under 20 U.S.C. 1070a(2)(A),

The amount of the basic grant for a student eligible under this Part shall be -

... (iv) $4,300 for academic year 1996-1997, and (v) $4,500 for academic year 1997-1998, less an amount equal to the amount determined to be the expected family contribution with respect to that student for that year.

Consequently it appears that in the formula above: COA cannot exceed $4,300 for 1996-1997 and $4,500 for 1997-1998.

$4, 500 (Or less depending upon the cost of attendance) -???? (Or more depending upon the EFC) _______ ?,??? (No more than $2,340 for 1995-1996) Under 34 CFR 668.7

Eligibility is determined based on a variety of factors including but not limited to: enrollment, academic requirements, age, and type of school and training it offers. Under Subsection (1.1), this regulation also requires that for the purposes of qualifying for Pell Grants, the student must also meet the requirements of 34 CFR 609.75 34 CFR 609.75 tells you that to get a Pell Grant you have to 1. qualify as an eligible student under 34 CFR 668.7 AND 2. Under subsection (e) of 34 CFR 609.75, IF the student is a member of a religious order, etc., who is pursuing a course of study in an institution of higher learning (e.g., college or university), then that student is expected to have a expected family contribution (EFC) of at least $3,000 1. the religious order has as a primary objective the promotion of ideals and beliefs regarding a Supreme Being AND 2. provides subsistence support to its members or has directed the member to pursue the course of study. SO in other words, if a Catholic wants to be a priest, and is told by the Catholic church that he must pursue a particular course of study in order to become a priest, then the government will automatically give him a base EFC of at least $3,000. This figure could be increased in the event the student's family is determined to be able to contribute more to the student's education.

$4,500 (Or less depending upon the cost of attendance) -3.000 (Or more depending upon the EFC ______ 1,500 (No more than $2,340 for 1995-1996)

Income Contingent Loan Program (ICLP) Under 34 CFR 668.7(a)(11)(i) - refers to 34 CFR 673.22(a)(5) To determine eligibility for ICLP: A member of a religious order who is going to college will be determined to have no financial need if that religious order promotes the idea of a Supreme Being, provides primary financial support to the student and directs the student's course of study. The Catholic student would therefore be entitled to pursue a history degree at a college, provided the Catholic church did not provide him with substantial financial aid and direct what classes he was to take. However, for seminary school, he would be determined to have no financial need. Subsection (5)(ii) is poorly worded "Requires its members to forego monetary or other support substantially beyond the support it provides" and could mean that given the course of study (seminary school) and the method of payment for eventual job placement (the church), the student would therefore be determined to have no financial need.

Perkins Loan: Again, Under 34 CFR 668.7(a)(11)(i) - refers to 34 CFR. 674.9(c) To determine eligibility for Perkins Loan and the language is the same as for the ICLP. The same applies for CWS (part-time employment), SEOG (SUPPLEMENTAL EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY GRANT), and GSL - PLUS - SLS (Guaranteed Student Loans). SSIG (State Student Incentive Grant) have no mention of a religious restriction except as determined by the individual state.

20 USC 1132d-3 Construction, Reconstruction, and renovation of academic facilities: Subsection (c)(2)(C) excludes facilities used for sectarian instruction or religious worship or primarily in connection with any part of a divinity program or school.