I have been on both sides of the rope. I attended college on a full pell grant back in 93 and had to drop out because my first daughter ( who was born with a severe birth defect) took a turn for the worse and was in a coma for 7 weeks. I went to the dean and they excused my pell, refunded it all back and made it look like I never attended. 12 years later, I tried to get a pell grant because even though my hubby has a decent career, we still struggle because we have three small children and one income. We sacrafice for me to stay home with the girls. When I finally decided to go back to school for nursing, we sat down and talked about all of our options. I applied for the pell and was given a EFC number higher than the cost of tuition for a full year at the cc in my district. So no pell! We figured out what we could cut back on or cut out completely so that we could save up the money for my first semester. We managed to do that and I was able to take two classes last fall. This semester was a disaster because, we figured that I would use my hubby's vacation pay that he gets every month (it comes out of his check so its not EXTRA money) because it is a 5th check for the month. We could pay our bills and live with his reg. paycheck and then I would use his vacation pay for school. The month I needed to register for the Spring 05, his vacation check didnt come. So I had to borrow the money from a family member, which I paid back the following month when he received two months worth of vacation pay.
I can not get a pell and I am managing to pay for school myself which I thank god for because otherwise I wouldnt be able to go. Now my state offers a grant for nursing students but you have to be officially admitted to the program and I am still doing pre-req's. So when I get admitted to the program I plan on applying for that grant, which isnt based on need, its strictly for nursing students. You can only get this grant if you dont receive a pell, so you cant get both which i think is only fair. Also, a family friend who is on the board for the Purple Heart organization here in my state is going to get me a scholarship
for school but again I have to be admitted to the nursing program. So all I have to do is get myself through the pre-req's and I should have no problems after that. I only have two more classes of pre-req's and then I am done and can apply to the program. WOOOOHOOOO
To the OP, maybe you could check out and see if your state offers any type of nursing grants or even some of the local charity organizations. They might have nursing scholarships
that you can apply for. I would check out all of your options, you never know what is out there to help. I do feel your pain though about the pell grant. I think they need to lower their income maximum and give some of us a break that have a larger family. I wish you all the luck in the world!