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Why Didn’t I Receive Financial Aid?
Many college students depend on financial aid to help fund their education. However, not all students are eligible to receive aid. Not receiving any aid can make a student wonder “why didn’t I get any financial aid?” There are several possible reasons. Continue reading to learn more!
You didn’t complete the FAFSA
In order to receive federal financial aid, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) annually. The FAFSA is used by the Department of Education and schools to determine a student’s eligibility for financial aid. If you did not complete the FAFSA for the academic year when you are seeking aid, you won’t receive any.
If you did complete the FAFSA, but didn’t receive financial aid, confirm that you completed the form for the correct year. Contact your school’s financial aid office if the wrong form was completed.
See also: FAFSA 101 guide
You don’t show financial need
Part of students’ financial aid reward is based on financial need. For federal financial aid, your need is calculated based on the information provided in the FAFSA about you and your parents’ income and assets. This information is used to calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). If a student’s EFC is high, they may not receive need-based financial aid including:
- Federal Pell Grants
- Direct Subsidized Loans
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
- Federal Work-Study (FWS)
A student’s EFC can change from year to year if their family earns more or less money. Therefore, if you qualified for need-based aid one year, you may not the next year and vice versa.
There are types of financial aid that are not need-based, and any student who is eligible to complete the FAFSA can receive them. The types of non-need-based federal financial aid are:
If you didn’t qualify for need-based federal aid, consider taking out Direct Unsubsidized Loans or private student loans to fill in the gaps for funding your education.
See also: What does my FAFSA EFC number mean?
You’ve borrowed the maximum amount
There is an annual limit on the amount of federal student loans one can borrow. The limit depends on your year in school and whether you are in undergraduate or graduate school.
|Year||Dependent undergraduate students||Independent undergraduate students|
|First year annual limit||$5,500; no more than $3,500 subsidized||$9,500; no more than $3,500 subsidized|
|Second year annual limit||$6,500; no more than $4,500 subsidized||$10,500; no more than $4,500 subsidized|
|Third year and beyond annual limit||$7,500; no more than $5,500 subsidized||$12,500; no more than $5,500 subsidized|
|Total undergraduate loan limit||$31,000; no more than $23,000 subsidized||$57,500; no more than $23,000 subsidized|
Graduate/professional students can borrow up to $20,500 annually. The total amount of federal student loans a graduate/professional student can borrow is $138,500. No more than $65,500 of Direct Subsidized loans can be borrowed.
Students who have already borrowed up to the annual or total limit will not be eligible to receive more federal student loans until they pay some back.
Additionally, there is an annual maximum Pell Grant amount. The limit for Pell Grants in 2021-2022 is $6,495.
Your GPA is too low
Students must be in good academic standing to receive federal aid. The required GPA varies from school to school, but typically students need a 2.0 or higher. If your grades fall below the minimum GPA, you could lose eligibility for financial aid.
You aren’t enrolled in enough credit hours to get financial aid
Another academic requirement to receive aid is the amount of credit hours a student takes. Students who wish to receive federal financial aid need to be enrolled at least half-time, as defined by their school. If a student fails or withdraws from classes and drops below half-time, they will not be eligible to receive aid.
You have loans in default
This is less likely to be the case for undergraduate students who haven’t entered repayment on their student loans. However, if you have federal student loans that are in default, you are ineligible to receive additional federal aid. Contact your loan servicer to get back into good standing and regain eligibility.
Many students depend on financial aid to help pay for college. If you don’t receive enough or any financial aid, there are other options. Consider applying for a private student loan, looking into college alternatives, or searching for scholarships!