Many people consider attending college to be an investment in their futures. Like any investment, this involves time and money. College tuition, student fees, books, housing and other costs can make earning a college degree quite expensive. One way to defray costs is to apply for government financial aid through the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Aid isn't unconditional, however. If you fail to meet certain requirements, you may still need to repay money disbursed and may lose financial aid support for the following quarter or semester. Not passing a class isn't an excuse for reneging on your obligation to repay certain types of aid.
The FAFSA asks students to enter information about their finances to determine how much they'll be able to contribute to college costs. Dependent students must also list information about their parents' finances. When determining aid awards, government calculations take into consideration your financial situation, the cost of college where you'll be attending and your enrollment status (for example, full or part time). Financial aid packages might include loans, which must be repaid; grants, which don't need to be repaid; and work-study arrangements.
Unsubsidized loans and subsidized loans must both be paid back eventually. Although the government subsidizes some loans by making payments on interest accrued while you're enrolled in classes, you might choose to make interest payments on unsubsidized loans to defray future interest accrual. If you've used FAFSA loans to pay for college classes during a particular semester, it doesn't matter whether you pass the class or not. Either way, you still need to repay the loans. If you've used FAFSA grants to pay for college classes, these don't need to be repaid even if you didn't pass the class. This is simply because grants don't need to be repaid.
Not passing classes threatens your financial aid package whether you used loans, grants or both to pay tuition. Financial aid receipt is contingent upon making what's called "satisfactory academic progress" in your classes. Students receive credit for classes in which they've earned an A, B, C, D or P (pass). You don't receive academic credit for a failing grade. Enough accumulated F grades could jeopardize whether you meet credit requirements for receiving financial aid during the next semester or quarter.
Withdrawing from classes is slightly different from failing a class in that it doesn't negatively affect your grade point average or transcripts. However, if you don't pass a class because you've withdrawn instead of failing, the same rules apply with regard to FAFSA requirements. If you've used financial aid loans to pay for classes from which you've withdrawn, these loans will still need to be repaid. Grants don't need to be repaid, but not earning sufficient credits for the academic period because of course withdrawals could still limit your access to financial aid.
If you're worried that you might not pass a class, talk with your professor or teacher's assistant for ideas on how to improve your grade. Visit the tutoring center for additional help. If you're working full or part time, consider reducing your scheduled hours to devote more time to classes. If your grades are suffering because of a medical, emotional or family emergency, consider withdrawing from school and returning the financial aid money for that school year. You can try again another semester. It doesn't make sense to go into student loan debt if there's little chance of passing classes.
- Photo Credit Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images
What Happens When You Fail a Course in College?
When you fail a course in college, you lower your grade point average and, depending on whether or not the course is...
Do You Have to Pay Back a Pell Grant?
Pell grants are issued by the federal government to students who demonstrate need. They max out at $5,730 per school year (as...
How to Pay Financial Aid Back
Struggling to pay financial aid back? Guess what? You are not alone. Several peopel get financial aid in order to go to...
How to Get FAFSA Back After Failing Classes
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA, is the form college's receive from the federal government that states...
How to Go Back to School After Failing Out
Students fail courses and are dismissed from school every year. Some students may re-apply and be re-admitted to school after failing out...
What Is Financial Aid Suspension?
Financial aid in the form of scholarships, loans and grants can reduce -- or even eliminate -- the amount of money that...
Do You Have to Pay Back Pell Grants If You Drop Out?
Higher education is an extremely expensive venture. Most students do not pay for their education in cash. Instead, most students finance their...
What to Use FAFSA Money For
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to get grants and loans from the federal government to attend college....
If You Fail a Class Do You Have to Pay Back Loans?
Student loans, which come from the federal government, private lenders, and colleges and universities, help many students pay for their educations. However,...
Can You Quit Receiving Financial Aid for Dropping Classes?
Tuition costs, student fees, textbooks, room and board, parking permits and other college-associated expenses can total thousands of dollars. Financial aid, in...
Does the Middle Class Get Financial Aid?
The middle class can qualify for financial aid, but a person must first complete the FAFSA to see how much they qualify...