INA, IL (KFVS) - A Pell Grant is a form of financial aid students don't have to repay.
Yet, $2.9 billion went unused in the last school year by high school graduates.
Based on a student's financial needs, the Federal Pell Grant can provide more than $5,000 a semester.
Dalton Miller knows.
"Anything helps. If you can get money for free thendefinitelyy go for it," said Miller.
New analysis shows students left millions of dollars on the table last year.
A combined $260 million in heartland states.
As a Freshman at Rend Lake College, Miller says without Pell Grants, college wouldn't be an option.
"I figured I wouldn't be able to pay for it (college) on my job alone. So, without the Pell Grant I wouldn't be able to go here. And I thank god everyday that I get to go here," he said.
Cheri Rushing, the Director of Financial Aid at Rend Lake College says it's "disappointing" to hear the numbers are so high for the state of Illinois.
Financial aid advisors say it's because students simply don't fill out the paperwork.
"I think it is disappointing to know that there is such a large number of students that maybe aren't made aware of it," said Rushing.
"That's what made me want to go to college. If I don't have to pay as much, then I might as well go," said Miller.
Rushing says she and her staff visit 13 high schools in the district to make sure future students know what is available to them in regards to financial aid.
More than 60 percent of students enrolled at Rend Lake College receive some form of financial aid.
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to find out more about the report.