The short answer is yes, you can lose your financial aid.
Students must maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) in order to remain eligible for federal financial aid. While each school is allowed to set its own requirements, the minimum GPA is usually no lower than 2.0.
How Is GPA Related to Satisfactory Academic Progress?
The FSA mandates that students demonstrate Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) in order to remain eligible for federal financial aid. Satisfactory academic progress is measured two ways:
Qualitative – Does this student meet a specific GPA threshold?
Quantitative – Is the student taking an acceptable amount of credit hours towards their degree?
Students must meet both the qualitative and quantitative thresholds to demonstrate satisfactory academic progress or they risk losing their financial aid grants, scholarships, and work-study programs.
What Happens if My GPA Goes Down?
If your GPA dips below the minimum requirement, you will likely lose your aid until you’ve raised your average. Some schools may choose to issue a warning and give you a semester to return to satisfactory academic progress, others may choose to suspend your eligibility immediately.
Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal
If you’re deemed ineligible for financial aid, students have the option of filing an appeal to have their status reinstated. The SAP appeal process is typically reserved for students who have extenuating circumstances that affected their academic progress. That can mean anything from health issues or family problems.
Before writing your appeal, check with your school’s financial aid office to find out what will be required for your SAP appeal. In general, a successful SAP appeal will include the following:
SAP Appeal Process
- Completed appeal form. This can often be found on the web page of your school’s financial aid office.
- Letter of explanation. In addition to the appeal form, you will likely need to submit a letter explaining why you failed to maintain satisfactory academic progress. Be as specific as possible.
- Supporting documentation. You will also need to provide documentation that supports your explanation. Examples include a death certificate, a police report, or even a statement from your doctor, lawyer, counselor, or pastor.
- Concrete action plan. Your school will not reinstate your financial aid if it looks like the problem that caused your unsatisfactory progress is likely to recur. You must take concrete steps to resolve the situation and explain your action plan in your appeal.
If you do not meet your school’s criteria for granting an SAP Appeal, you will need to raise your GPA to an acceptable standard before qualifying for financial aid. It’s important to remain fully aware of your progress so you don’t jeopardize your ability to pay for college.