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Restrictions On Grants for Women

Updated on April 25, 2012

Women can get free money, but...

Pell grants, as legislated by Senator Claiborne Pell in the mid 1960's, provide free government money for deserving women and some men. As indicated in the title, this type of funding does not have to be paid back to the taxpayers. The federal government wants every qualified woman to have a fair opportunity to attend college regardless of financial need or social status.

For better or worse, these particular grants do have some strings attached. Senator Pell envisioned women's higher education as an entitlement: he may or may not have envisioned the long list of limiting factors built into the program. Here are just a few of the caveats written into the labyrinthine myriad of Pell Grant regulations. Be careful to be well-prepared before applying for this ever-growing bounty of free government cash for college.

Women cannot be in jail

Incarceration in a state or federal penal institution disqualifies women for Pell grant eligibility. Plan to apply on the date of your release or, optimally, don't get arrested, tried, and sentenced in the first place. Some colleges and universities do hold classes in prisons. Inmates are permitted to learn, but supplemental funding sources must be secured before enrolling.

Senator Claiborne Pell: a man who wanted women to go to college for free.
Senator Claiborne Pell: a man who wanted women to go to college for free. | Source

Women cannot be ambitious students

In some cases a woman may want to take courses at more than one school concurrently. No law prohibits this, but Pell grant funding is not available in such situations. Many of these women are hard-working folks who simply desire to finish their degree as soon as possible in order to take better care of their families and build their careers in the working world.

In the current education environment, classes are often cancelled due to lack of enrollment. Graduation plans can be stalled due to lack of availability for required courses. Almost all colleges accept transfer credit from similarly qualified institutions: unfortunately the Pell grant people do not look favorably upon such stratagems.

Women must be degree-seeking students

The majority of students at most major colleges and universities are degree-seeking. These honest and hard-working scholars have declared a major and are following a predetermined plan to attain their diploma. In this group are many well-intentioned women. These women find themselves eligible to apply for Pell grants, but many of their brethren women find themselves shunned by this free government money program. A Pell grant will not be considered for any woman who is taking courses outside of a formal degree program. Extremely smart and intelligent women may be enrolled in Nuclear Physics and/or Woman's Studies, but unless these courses are stepping stones to an official college degree, the government refuses to pay for them.

Women cannot get their entire education paid for

The ultimate injustice of the Pell grant program to women just might be the fact that a maximum award amount has been placed on individual grants to specific women. For some reason, the upper limit hovers at about $5000, depending on what year it is. Adding financial insult to financial injury is another fact that the average monetary award is much lower: about $2500. An average college education at an average college costs much more when room, board, and books are factored in. A typical college calculus book or even a used Home Economics book could cost over $100, and most professors actually expect students to come to class with the book on the first day of school.

Women cannot stay in school for 7 years.

Significant Pell grant limitations are imminent. Beginning with the 2012-2013 award year, recipients can only receive a Pell Grant for up to a maximum of 12 semesters.A typical college undergraduate degree program obligates 4 years of study, or 8 semesters because no one goes to school when it's nice outside. This government-imposed free money limitation limits Pell scholars to 6 academic years. Women who don't complete their studies in that time frame will need to find another source of free money to continue their much-deserved education.

Women are not permitted to be registered for Selective Service

Males between the ages of 18 and 25 desirous of free government money for college must register for Selective Service in order to apply for Pell grant gratis government largesse. Women find themselves completely shut out of this process and may not involve themselves in any way. The system is closed to them because they are women. Women are advised not to to wait in the Selective Service queue or to attempt to add themselves to the Selective Service database so the federal government can potentially implement a military draft in order to compel involuntary military service.

Please answer this question

Women should be allowed to go to college for free

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    • nicomp profile imageAUTHOR

      nicomp really 

      7 years ago from Ohio, USA

      @Shyron E Shenko: Men have suppressed and oppressed women for far too long. The tide is turning now: women can get free money from the government and go to college where they may sit next to some of the men that caused all these problems.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      7 years ago from Texas

      Women should be granted the same benefits as men. But I know that is not likely to happen. Informative hub.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      7 years ago from south Florida

      With so many restrictions, nicomp, the Pell grants in most cases are more a travesty than an opportunity.


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