Unfortunately, FAFSA® money isn’t a guarantee.
Just because you’ve secured financial aid doesn’t mean you get to keep those privileges forever. If you fall behind in school, there is always the chance of a financial aid suspension. That could leave you in a pretty bad financial situation if you want to continue your education.
If your FAFSA® aid is suspended due to unsatisfactory academic progress at your current school, you might wonder if changing schools is a possible solution. The short answer is no, but it’s a little more complicated than that.
Will my financial aid suspension be lifted if I switch schools?
If you receive your FAFSA® student financial aid from your current school, you probably won’t be able to get your aid back unless you improve your academic progress.
The good news is you can apply for a new student financial aid package at your new school. Keep in mind that schools look closely at your student record from your previous college to determine your aid eligibility. If your financial aid was suspended for not meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), this could affect your new school application.
If the aid was sourced federally, however, you might be able to remove the suspension once you’re settled in at your new school and show an improvement in SAP. Some forms, such as state or private aid, you can keep regardless of the college you attend (though you might still have to maintain SAP, retain your existing major, or adhere to other conditions).
Get your grades up at your current college
Rather than switching schools, one way to get your aid back is to work hard to meet the SAP requirements. Work with a college advisor on a plan to get back in good standing with your school. This might take a semester, but it will be worth the time put in, and you won’t have to switch schools in the process.
When you file FAFSA® the next year, and your school sees significant improvement, it’s like that you can use your full financial aid package again. Speak to your college’s financial aid office as you’re in the process of filing FAFSA® to see if they require additional proof of improvement.
If you can’t get your aid back by improving your SAP, you may want to consider your eligibility for aid appeal.
Consider appealing your school aid package
Financial aid suspension isn’t the end of the world, especially if you plan to switch schools. Keep calm, contact your aid institution, and see what you can work out. If it comes down to it, you can always try to file an aid appeal to plead your case.
Scholarships and loss of aid
Many students get scholarships to supplement their aid package. When you are awarded a scholarship, sometimes there are expectations about your academic career. Those who granted the scholarship to you will want to see that you’re meeting academic expectations and keeping your grades up.
Unfortunately, that means that a scholarship can be pulled if you do not meet those expectations. Similar to SAP, each scholarship comes with its own set of rules. Before you seriously fall behind, speak to the institution that awarded you your scholarship to ensure you continue to meet expectations.
Falling behind happens to a lot of students. The important thing is to course correct when you realize it’s happening. Take advantage of the resources and tools provided by your school. Get some tutoring, reach out to your professors, and organize study groups with other students. Staying on top of your academic career is just as important as paying for college itself.