According to the National Center for Education Statistics, over 60% of undergraduates received financial aid in 2003-2004. Whether you just finished high school or are a returning student, financial aid can help you pay for college courses. That does not mean you can take this type of funding for granted. All too often, students have their financial aid suspended due to carelessness. Thankfully, all is not lost.
Even if you never expect to have your financial aid suspended, it pays to know your rights. A semester may come along in which you struggle. Should this ever happen, your financial aid funds may be suspended. Knowing what you can do will help you get back on track as soon as possible. Instead of giving up on your college dreams, you can regain your funding in as little as a few weeks or one semester.
The number one reason students get their financial aid suspended is that they fail to make Satisfactory Academic Progress. S.A.P. is a set of guidelines students must follow in order to receive aid. Typically, students must maintain a certain GPA and finish a certain percentage of their attempted courses. If a student fails to meet these guidelines, he is put on probation for one semester. If the guidelines are still unmet, financial aid will be suspended.
If you have a good reason for not making S.A.P. you can speak with the financial aid department. For example, if medical issues prevented you from making good grades, most financial aid departments will work with you. On the other hand, if you simply lost interest in your courses, you will need to make S.A.P. before you can start receiving aid again. Until that time, you will need to pay for college out of your own pocket. Once you make S.A.P. you will be able to reapply for aid.
Failing to attend courses you signed up for can have a major impact on your financial aid. Even if you withdraw from the course, you can face financial woes. The college pays you to attend a certain number of courses. If you fail to attend one of those courses, it may change your status. For example, if the college gave you full-time aid and you fall below the necessary hours, you will have to repay that money. If you don't, your aid can be suspended.
You may think that you can get around S.A.P. by applying for student loans. This is only true if you choose private loans. Federal student loans still require you to have a certain GPA. Each loan is different, but it can be hard to get federal funding if your grades are poor. Even if you can get a loan, scholarships and grants are preferable because they are free. With student loans, you could be paying for your educations years after you graduate.