Losing Financial Aid and How to Get It Back

March 21, 2012

Going to college seems straightforward enough. You pick a school and a major, and you head down the path to graduation. Making the best grades, talking to your professors and showing up for class will score you even better points to getting a consistent grade point average and maintaining scholarship awards based on academic achievements and merits. Still, if you manage to lose part of your financial aid, whether you have to withdraw for an emergency, run into some academic problems, or whatever the cause is for your academic probation, there are ways to getting your financial aid back or replacing your funds with other options.


Avoiding Disaster

There are various reasons why financial aid can be taken away. Even if you're a good student, you may be too good of a student. Those who haven't graduated and have too many credit hours often have their aid status demoted or completely changed to ineligible. You should make sure that you are complying with the requirements of your degree program and staying on track to finish within the specified amount of time. If you are having trouble with a class, you don't have to finish it and have your GPA suffer, but you have to be careful with drops and withdrawals. Students can run into trouble if they withdraw too many times or don't withdraw by a specific time in the semester. In some cases, you also may have to pay back the financial aid that you received for a class if you dropped. Be careful to withdraw only from classes that are proving too difficult. If you do have to withdraw, stick the class out for as long as possible before withdrawing.

Appeal the Decision

A financial aid appeal can never hurt you and most always will lead to financial aid being restored to you if you have a good excuse. Medical, family emergencies, and military leave are all good excuses to getting your financial aid back, but you to write a letter and include the formal documentation for your excuse, otherwise it's not going to impress the appeals committee. Still, it's never too late to appeal a decision and you may be surprised at a decision. In your letter, focus on what you have planned to ensure that you complete your academic obligations and maintain good standing with your school. You should also show what the financial aid means for you.

Comply with Limitations

Most colleges will place you on a probation period, where you won't receive any financial aid. However, you can earn back the financial aid by satisfying certain requirements. Usually, these are directly related to your grades and grade point average. However, in some cases, where you are receiving a disciplinary measure, for example if you damaged school property, you may also need to do community service. Read through the terms of your probation and make sure to comply with the requirements to get your aid back.

Looking for More Options

In some cases, you may not be able to get financial aid back. Some scholarships are only offered as long as you have no academic probations or suspensions on your record. You can look for other scholarships or apply for grants if this happens. In some cases, it may be beneficial to take out a student loan. You can find some options for student loans through the government which have lower interest rates and better repayment options. You can sign up for these through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Seek Counseling

In some cases, it is the mental stress of school that is causing the issues. Students may stop going to class, do poorly on exams, and simply find themselves in the weeds of a bad semester. For these cases, it's important that you seek counseling through your school and talk to your teachers early. Again, if you have drops and withdraws, you should use them to avoid losing financial aid. However, if it's too late or you don't have any to use, then you can seek counseling and gain proof of your issues, enough to provide a financial aid advisor with reason to approve you for another semester without going on probation.

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