Coping with a financial aid suspension | 04.05.10
Some people believe that once they qualify for a federal student loan, the money automatically belongs to them. Not true. In reality, to be eligible to receive federal student loans, you must meet your school’s standards of satisfactory academic progress.
Generally speaking, the minimum grade point average for undergraduates to meet satisfactory academic progress is 2.0. If you fail to meet that minimum, you will become ineligible for your federal loans. Many scholarships and grants make this a requirement as well.
So what can you do once you are placed on suspension?
First, you may consider appealing your suspension to your financial aid office. THIS IS ONLY if you have a legitimate reason; neither the school, nor the federal government will have pity on you if you failed your classes because your boyfriend broke up with you. If you suffered, for example, from an extended illness, you may be able to appeal the suspension. Be prepared to show documentation, such as a doctor’s note.
Second, you have to find a way to cover the costs yourself. Because you are now ineligible for federal aid, you may consider a private student loan to cover some of the cost. Private loans do not have an academic requirement. Or, if you are in your first two years at a four-year school you could transfer to a community college where the costs are lower and you can get back on track.
Third, get your grades up! Improve your study habits and regularly visit your professors during office hours. Chances are, if you are only slightly below the minimum requirements, one good semester can get you right back where you need to be.
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