Featured Image

5 Things That Could Jeopardize Your Financial Aid

There are things that could jeopardize the amount of money you're offered in your aid package. Be aware of these five things to avoid to get more money.

Getting financial aid to cover your college costs is both easy and not so easy. On the one hand, completing and submitting the FAFSA is fairly simple and straightforward, and getting scholarships is simply a matter of finding the ones for which you’ll likely qualify and then proactively applying for them. On the other hand, there are several mistakes you can make that could put your precious financial aid dollars in jeopardy. Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid these missteps, as long as you know what they are.

1. Letting your grades slip

Every school specifies a minimum GPA that you must maintain in order to progress through college and to graduate. If you fall below that GPA, you could be put on academic probation and, in turn, you could lose your eligibility for financial aid. If you’ve received any merit scholarships, you may have to maintain an even higher GPA than the school’s minimum requirement in order to continue receiving those funds. Long story short: keep you grades up if you want to keep your financial aid.

Related: 10 Tips to Improve Your High School GPA

2. Not taking enough credits

In order to be eligible for most types of financial aid, you’re required to be a full-time student. At most schools on a semester system, that means taking about 12 or more credits per term. Failing to register for a full course load could jeopardize your financial aid package. Make sure you’re aware of your school’s policies, and speak with your academic advisor if taking the minimum number of credits to qualify as “full-time” is overwhelming for you.

3. Dropping too many classes

On the same note, dropping too many classes can also put your financial aid in limbo. Making what is known as “satisfactory academic progress” means keeping your GPA up and completing enough credits to show that you are on the path to graduation. Dropping classes mid-semester can derail your progress—and your financial aid.

Related: 5 Signs You Should Drop a Class

4. Not submitting your FAFSA

This one is a no-brainer. If you want to continue receiving federal financial aid, you have to submit the FAFSA every single year. It might be kind of a pain to gather all those numbers and get your application submitted on time, especially when you have so many other things going on during the school year, but it’s worth it in the long run.

5. Breaking the law

Getting in trouble with the law can limit or even eliminate your eligibility for federal student aid, depending on the type of crime you’ve committed. If you commit a drug-related offense while receiving federal aid, you’ll be required to submit a worksheet that will be used to determine whether your conviction will affect your eligibility. Certain violent crimes will also negate your eligibility. And if you’re incarcerated in a federal or state institution, you can’t get Federal Pell Grants or federal student loans. 

Related: 5 Common Tricks Fraudsters Are Using to Target Students

This list is by no means comprehensive. Every school has its own rules and requirements, so there are plenty of other things that could cost you your financial aid. The best thing to do is to make sure you’re aware of them so you can safeguard your hard-won dollars.

Arm yourself with knowledge and conquer the FAFSA using the blogs and articles in our Financial Aid section.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:
fafsa financial aid financial aid mistakes money for college paying for college scholarships

About Stephanie Farah

Stephanie Farah

Stephanie is a former writer and senior editor for Carnegie Darlet and CollegeXpress. Stephanie holds a BA in English from the University of Texas at Austin and a master's in Journalism from the University of North Texas. At various times she has been: an uncertain undergrad, a financial aid recipient, a transfer applicant, and a grad student with an assistantship and a full ride. Stephanie is an avid writer, traveler, cook, and dog owner. 

 

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
CollegeXpress Logo

$10,000

Are you our next winner?

Register now for our scholarship giveaway

Hailey Riddile

Hailey Riddile

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me find scholarships to apply for and look into more colleges. While there are many websites similar to CollegeXpress, every website is different, and I've found a lot of good insight on this website. Receiving emails from CollegeXpress about scholarships is extremely useful, and getting insight about colleges near, far, and anywhere in between helps me narrow down my choices to what I want, which is also super helpful. The articles are always really good reads, and I can't stress enough how helpful this website has been to me. Anything related to college is beneficial to me as a senior, and I have learned lots of useful things to help me on my college journey this year.

Jeannie Borin, M.Ed.

Jeannie Borin, M.Ed.

President and Founder, College Connections

I frequently visit CollegeXpress to answer questions from students and parents. There are countless hot topics in admissions that need to be addressed. I enjoy reading what my colleagues post and gain additional insight from different perspectives.

Caitlin Eaton

Caitlin Eaton

$10,000 Scholarship Winner, 2021

I first discovered CollegeXpress during my sophomore year of high school while researching colleges that interested me. My SAT prep class the following year further familiarized me with the opportunities available through the organization. CX has personally helped me by exposing me to a diverse selection of schools as well as scholarships and life tips that have provided valuable guidance in my college search.

This scholarship will help me adjust to college life without worrying as much about tuition. This gives me more room to truly explore and benefit from all aspects of higher education. I plan to study Conservation Biology and work protecting species/ecosystems. I’m looking forward to getting field experience and seeing firsthand the problems research is solving.

Farrah Macci

Farrah Macci

High School Class of 2016

CollegeXpress has helped me in many ways. For one, online searches are more organized and refined by filtering scholarships through by my personal and academic interests. Due to this, it has made searching for colleges and scholarships significantly less stressful. As a student, life can already get stressful pretty quickly. For me, it’s been helpful to utilize CollegeXpress since it keeps all of my searches and likes together, so I don’t have to branch out on multiple websites just to explore scholarship options.

Mataya Mann

Mataya Mann

High School Class of 2022

To say that CollegeXpress is a helpful tool would be an understatement as it is much more than that. Before finding CollegeXpress, all I knew was that I wanted to go to college, it was going to be insanely expensive, and I felt lost. CollegeXpress has given me access to resources such as helpful tips for applications and scholarship [opportunities], and helped guide me in a direction where I feel confident moving forward and pursuing a career. CollegeXpress has helped instill a spark in me that makes me want to continue and supports me in doing so.

College Matches