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New rule gives maximum Pell Grants to children of fallen service members

W. R. Boughner TMCS USN Ret

Newton County Veteran’s Service Officer

509 Main St. (or) PO Bx.1380

Newton, TX. 75966

Telephone: 409-379-9017 e-mail Fax: 409-379-2058

A new rule takes effect July 1 that expands higher education benefits to more children of fallen service members, while also raising the age limit to receive the aid and exempting it from a separate law that cost prior recipients hundreds of dollars a year.

The Education Department is implementing the FAFSA Simplification Act, signed into law in 2021. The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which students must fill out each year to receive the assistance. While some schools have their own internal deadlines, the Education Department's deadline for the FAFSA is June 30.

The new law includes a "special rule" that kicks in with the new academic year: The department will no longer award Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants to the children of parents who died as a result of their service in those wars.

Instead, it will implement new eligibility requirements for the children of certain fallen service members to receive the maximum possible Federal Pell Grant regardless of their family's ability to pay for school.

The maximum Pell Grant for the 2024-2025 school year is $7,395. To receive the maximum award under the special rule:

• A student's parent must have died "in the line of duty while serving on active duty" on or after Sept. 11, 2001. This new requirement doesn't tie the parent's service to the wars. Previously, students received grants if their parent died "as a result of performing military service in Iraq or Afghanistan" after 9/11.

• A student must be under age 33, a nine-year extension. For Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants, the upper age limit was 24.

Normally, the value of a student's Pell Grant depends on circumstances that might include their family size and parents' income, among other factors that contribute to each individual's Student Aid Index score. However, the children of service members who died in the line of duty, while on active duty, since 9/11 can get the maximum.

Because the money will now go out in the form of Pell Grants instead of Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants, that administrative change will save students hundreds of dollars.


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