Financial aid helps to offset the cost of higher education. Each year, students are required to apply for aid so that financial aid counselors can reassess their financial and academic circumstances. In order to qualify for many aid programs, you must maintain good grades throughout the time you receive aid. Falling behind on your grades, however, does not mean you are permanently ineligible for financial aid programs.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
In order to continue receiving federal financial aid, you must maintain satisfactory academic progress throughout your years in college. The purpose of your satisfactory academic progress is to ensure that aid is put to its best use. Students who fail classes must retake them, which can mean a waste of financial aid funds. Passing all of your classes and increasing your grade-point average shows your school’s financial aid department that you are committed to completing your education in less than five years as mandated by the U.S. Department of Education.
In order to regain your financial aid privileges when pursuing an undergraduate degree, you must increase your grade-point average to a 2.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale. If you are pursuing a graduate degree, your grade-point average must remain at 3.0 or higher. Ensure you maintain enrollment in classes you register for. Completion of less than 100 percent of credits attempted can lead to further probation or suspension from financial aid.
Submit an appeal to the department head in your school’s financial aid office. If you meet the minimum qualifications of the financial aid programs, you may be granted the opportunity to receive financial aid.
Organizing an Appeal
Appealing your suspended financial aid takes time. A hearing committee generally has to review your file and personal information to assess whether or not an appeal should be granted. A statement explaining why you were unable to maintain the minimum GPA is required with your letter of appeal. Suspension occurs after you are on probation for three consecutive semesters. Financial aid counselors need to know why you believe you can maintain your grades after going three or more semesters with a poor GPA.
If your appeal is denied, consider financial aid alternatives such as need-based grants and scholarships. You may be able to appeal to other administrators at the college, but if you are struggling to keep up your grades, other aid options may work best. Scholarships that don’t require high GPAs are your best alternative. Visit local civic and community clubs for leads on local scholarship funds. With a little research, you can find awards that substantially offset the cost of your education.