Once you’ve received aid with the FAFSA® once, you may assume that it will be easy to continue getting the same level of aid throughout your college career. While this is the case for some students, there are many things that can trip you up along the way. If you’ve found that you’re currently ineligible to receive aid with the FAFSA®, you should act fast to regain your eligibility as soon as possible.
Get Your Finances on Track
There are several financial situations that may cause you to lose your financial aid. If you neglect to make the appropriate payments on an existing federal student loan, it will go into default. You’ll need to get your loans out of default before you’ll qualify for additional loans with the FAFSA®. Speak to your lender about how you can get back on track.
If you have property that’s subject to a judgment lien, this will impact your FAFSA® eligibility. You need to pay the debt off or make arrangements to do so in a timely manner.
In some cases, students have accidentally received more federal aid than they were supposed to. If you’re getting aid beyond what you expected, you should alert your lender immediately. If you simply take the money, you may find that you have to repay the additional amount before you’re eligible for a new loan the following year.
Speak with Your School
To maintain FAFSA eligibility, your school must determine that you’re making satisfactory academic progress. Each school uses a different set of criteria for academic progress, but all will consider your grade point average, course load, and progress toward graduation. If you’re not currently making satisfactory academic progress, you should speak to your school to find out if you can appeal your status. If you have outstanding circumstances, such as illness, injury, or the death of a family member, you may be able to reestablish your eligibility.
Get Your Grades on Track
Filing an appeal to maintain your satisfactory academic progress won’t work repeatedly. You need to actively work to get your grades back on track if you’re at risk of losing your FAFSA® eligibility for poor performance. Consider joining a study group or finding a tutor. If you’re struggling to keep up with the complexity of your courses, speak with a school advisor about enrolling in remedial courses or perhaps changing your course of study.
Complete a Rehabilitation Program for Drug Offenses
Any state or federal drug conviction will put your federal aid at risk. If you’re convicted of a drug crime while receiving federal student aid, you can become permanently ineligible for future aid. However, students who take the proper actions can get on the fast track to regaining eligibility. First and second-time offenders can regain FAFSA® eligibility by completing a drug rehabilitation program and passing at least two unannounced drug tests.
With the right steps, you can often regain lost aid before you feel the effects of becoming ineligible. Stay on top of your financial aid situation throughout college to make sure you always have what you need to succeed.