Thousands of students across the country depend on financial aid to pay for their college education. Unfortunately, while financial aid can be very difficult for students to receive, it is frighteningly easy to lose, which can put students in a tough situation.
If you’ve lost your financial aid, then you might be wondering if there’s any way to get it back. Luckily, as long as you take the right steps, you can regain the financial aid that you need to fund your college education.
How Do You Lose Financial Aid?
There are several ways a student may lose their financial aid:
Not Maintaining Satisfactory Academic Performance – To receive financial aid for college, there are a variety of requirements that students will have to meet. However, the most important is maintaining your grades. In fact, the most common reason that students lose their financial aid is due to academic performance.
Virtually every form of financial aid requires that students maintain a 2.0 GPA, which is a C average. If your grades dip below this level, you will probably lose your financial aid. Similarly, students usually need to take a set level of credits to be eligible for financial aid, meaning too light a class load can strip your funding.
Increase in Parents Income – If your parents’ income increases beyond the acceptable level, your financial aid package may be reduced or removed. An increase in your school’s fees or tuition may also cause you to lose your financial aid.
Aid Limits – Some colleges only offer certain types of financial aid during freshman year, and if you are an upperclassman, you may not be entitled to college-sponsored aid.
Possessing or Selling Illegal Drugs – If students are convicted of possessing or selling illegal drugs, they will no longer be eligible for federal student aid.
If you’ve lost your financial aid, the most important thing that you can do is identify the cause.
Plan Your Next Move To Pay For School After Losing Aid
Once you know why you lost your financial aid, the next step is to plan your next move to try to regain aid eligibility. If you lost aid due to unsatisfactory academic performance, there are options available to get your aid back by working with your financial aid office. However, if you’re no longer eligible for federal student aid because of a drug offense or in the case of other types of aid, because you’ve exceeded an aid limit, you may need to find other types of aid.
How To Regain Your Eligibility And Get Your Aid Back
Visit the Financial Aid Office
Your college provides a variety of resources to help its students, and this includes a financial aid office. If you receive a notice that you are no longer eligible for aid, you should visit the financial aid office at your school and discuss your options with a staff member immediately.
For example, if you lost your aid due to bad grades, you can talk to the financial aid office about the best way to improve your academics so that your aid can be reinstated. Ask about the requirements for the aid you were receiving, and find out if there is any way to reestablish your aid eligibility.
File an Aid Appeal
If your aid was removed due to circumstances beyond your control, then your most effective solution for restoring your funding may be filing a financial aid appeal.
Submitting an appeal will not work in every instance of lost aid. However, it is a particularly good option if there was a change in your family situation, such as your parent losing their job, that occurred after you submitted your FAFSA® application.
If you can prove extenuating circumstances, it may be possible for you to regain your financial aid. The aid appeal process is complex and varies by school, so many students and parents use FAFSA® aid appeal services to help recover federal student aid.
If your aid was removed due to unsatisfactory academic performance that was caused by a special circumstance in your life such as a major health-related issue such as an injury or a learning disability, you can file an SAP appeal. An SAP appeal helps explain to the school the extenuating circumstances that resulted in lower grades.
Your Options If You Cannot Regain Eligibility
If you are not able to regain eligibility you still have options to stay in school.
Cut Your Costs
If you have the option, consider cutting costs in other areas, so that you can cover the cost of the lost aid and still go to school. For example, consider living off-campus or living with family if they are nearby to save on room and board.
Another option is to take fewer classes to reduce your obligation. If you do choose to take fewer classes, keep in mind that this may also affect your aid, as well, since certain types of aid require you to be a full-time student. If this is an option you are considering, talk to your school’s financial aid office first to ensure you fully understand the credit hour requirements for your current financial aid package.
Private Scholarships Private scholarships are another option to explore to help pay for school if you lost financial aid. However, if you need to get aid quickly, scholarships may not be an effective option.
After exhausting your other options for getting back your financial aid or finding alternatives, you may need to turn to private sources. Make sure to only use student loans as a last resort.
If you apply for a student loan, start with federal options, which often have lower interest rates than bank loans. When it comes to private scholarships, apply for as many as possible, and make sure to emphasize your strong points, such as extracurricular activities.
Losing your financial aid does not need to prevent you from achieving your goals. Make sure to explore all your options if you ever find yourself without financial aid.