About 4.8 million undergraduate students are currently pregnant or parenting. These students often worry about how having a child will affect their financial aid and scholarships. Students can apply for financial aid and scholarships by filing their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®).
An estimated 1.2 million college students don’t know their rights in regard to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. This law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex – including pregnancy and parental status- in educational programs and activities. It’s important you know your rights, to ensure you receive equal educational opportunities.
The following questions often asked by students who wonder how their pregnancy will affect their financial aid and scholarships.
Can my university take away my merit or need-based scholarships if they find out I am pregnant?
- No. Based on Title IX, colleges are not allowed to end or reduce your merit or need-based scholarships based on pregnancy. If you stay in good academic standing in your program, you must be allowed to keep your financial aid and scholarships.
Can I keep my student status, scholarships and financial aid if I decide to take a semester off?
- It depends on the leave policy of your college. You will need to consult your college’s non-medical leave policy if you want to take more time off than what your doctor said was medically necessary.
How will my pregnancy affect my federal grants and loans?
- If your child’s due date is during the aid year, and you will be providing at least half of the support to the child, you will be registered as an “independent student”. Being an independent student can grant you more financial aid than dependent students. If you have a child within the award year, make sure to include your child in the household size when you are filling out your FAFSA®.
- If you are pregnant when filing FAFSA®, but he or she will be born that award year, you should still include your child in your household size. Be sure to preserve a copy of an ultrasound and other medical records just in case FAFSA® wants to verify your application.
What happens if I have to leave college while pregnant, do I need to pay back the aid I received?
There are a lot of factors to consider when determining whether or not you have to pay back the aid you received such as:
- When in the academic semester do you plan to leave?
- Are you dropping out or taking some classes while on leave?
- Is the aid institutional or federal?
- Taking time off from college may have an impact on your student loans, depending on your student status during your time off. To learn more about how your extended leave of absence affects your loans, contact your loan servicer and/or lender.
Make sure you contact your college’s financial aid office before taking an extended absence. Your college will help guide you.
If I’m pregnant, should I get tuition insurance?
Yes. If your pregnancy leads to medical complications that require you to withdrawal from school, you will be covered. In fact, medical withdrawals have 100% coverage. Be sure to notify the tuition insurance carrier within 30 days of your withdrawal.
If you file a claim you will be reimbursed the cost of attendance which includes:
- Room and board
- Registration and educational fees
- Campus fees
- Other applicable fees
Don’t worry, you’re not alone! You should consider meeting with your college’s Title IX Coordinator or counselor to discuss what your school can do to support you in continuing your education. If you want to learn more about your rights, we suggest you contact the U.S. Department of Education. ake sure to meet with your financial aid counselor before making any decision such as taking an extended leave.