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Lost Financial Aid Eligibility? Here’s What to Do
Many students rely on financial aid to pay for school. However, student aid isn’t guaranteed. Students must maintain their eligibility for financial aid while receiving it. If you lost your financial aid, you may be wondering what to do next. Continue reading to learn what to do if you lose financial aid eligibility!
Eligibility for student aid
Each form of student aid has eligibility requirements. For most student aid, you need to remain eligible for as long as you receive the aid.
Federal aid, such as a Direct student loan, has a few requirements.
- Be a United States citizen or an eligible noncitizen.
- Have a Social Security number.
- Fill out the FAFSA annually in order to keep your eligibility up-to-date.
- Enrollment in an eligible degree or certificate program.
- Qualify to have a college or career school education (have either a high school diploma or GED certificate).
- Any other existing loans you have from the government are in good standing.
- Have no criminal convictions.
- You must maintain satisfactory academic progress by earning adequate grades and taking enough credits.
Failure to maintain these eligibility standards can result in a loss of federal student aid.
There are other forms of student aid such as scholarships, grants, or private student loans. Scholarships and grants will have their own eligibility requirements depending on the organization that funds them. Be sure to read all the eligibility rules that you must follow to receive the aid!
Private loans have eligibility requirements regarding credit score and income. The exact numbers vary based on the lender. If you don’t meet these requirements, you can use a co-signer who does. This will increase your chances of receiving private student loans.
See also: How to find a co-signer
Why you may lose student aid eligibility
Federal financial aid eligibility can be lost due to a number of reasons. One of the main causes is slipping grades. Another reason aid could be lost or reduced is if your family makes more money. This will change your expected family contribution and reduce or revoke student aid. A third way that financial aid could be lost or changed is if your school’s tuition and fees change.
Scholarships or grants could be lost if they are not renewable for another year or semester. If your grades slip or if you use funds for ineligible expenses you may also lose aid.
See also: FAFSA 101 guide
How to regain eligibility
Depending on the school you attend and the reason you lost your financial aid, there are different ways to get it back. It could be as simple as filing or correcting your FAFSA. Or, it could require more steps.
The first thing you should do is go to your school’s financial aid office. Ask why you lost your student aid and how you can remedy the issue. The people there will be able to adjust your eligibility or give you guidance.
Another option is to file a financial aid suspension appeal with the financial aid office. This process will differ based on the school. Often, it includes a written letter. Be sure to describe any extenuating circumstances that may have affected your eligibility. There may be other steps to the appeal depending on why you lost your student aid. If your grades were the problem, you may have to attend tutoring. Or you didn’t take enough credits, you may have to make an action plan to get back on track. To learn how to file an appeal to regain your financial aid after an academic suspension, check out our guide to writing financial aid appeal letters.
If you lost your student aid because you defaulted on another loan, you’ll have to get out of default before receiving more aid.
Fortunately, there are other options to fill in the gaps of financial aid.
Apply for scholarships or grants that fit your interests or course of study. Scholarships and grants are useful because they usually don’t need to be repaid. Exhaust all of your options that don’t put you in debt before turning to loans.
If your federal student aid and scholarships don’t cover your education expenses, look into private student loans. You’ll likely need a co-signer to be eligible.
Consider taking on a part-time job to pay for living expenses like groceries or utilities. Or, consider living at home to save money.
See also: How to find online jobs for college students
Use all your options!
Losing your financial aid and wondering how to pay for school can be stressful, but it’s not the end of the world! There are many ways to become eligible again. If that doesn’t work, use grants, scholarships, and private loans that can fill in the gaps!
Summing it up
If you’ve lost your financial aid, your first step should be to attempt to regain it. This might be in the form of an SAP appeal letter, ensuring you are in good standing with the government, or ensuring that your records are all straight with the school. You might have to get your grades up or come up with a plan to improve them.
Regardless of what you do, it may be the case that your aid is suspended for a semester at minimum. To fill in your financial need gap during this time, you can consider taking out private loans. But remember to weigh your decisions carefully and consider how much debt might be too much. If it comes down to it, you might be better off taking a break from school or switching to a more affordable option for the time being such as community college. This can help you stay on-pace with your credits while saving a substantial amount of money.
Frequently asked questions
How do I reinstate my financial aid?
The answer to this question depends on what caused your aid to be suspended. You may have to improve your grades or regain good standing with the federal government. You might also be able to reinstate your aid through an SAP appeal letter. The best way to get to the bottom of your question is to contact the office that notified you of your suspension.
Do I have to repay my financial aid if my grades drop?
If your grades drop, you might lose eligibility for financial aid in future semesters. However, under typical circumstances, you will not have to repay the grants that you already received. You will, however, still have to pay back any loans that you may have taken out. So, if your grades drop and you are expelled from college, keep in mind that you’ll still have to pay back all of your loans.
Is financial aid suspension permanent?
Most financial aid suspensions are not permanent. For example, under enrollment, low grades, or other unpaid debts do not cause permanent financial aid suspension. However, criminal convictions may result in permanent financial aid suspension.