What do you do when you max out federal financial aid? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 16 Old 06-22-2011, 08:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Due to state budget cuts my college just lowered the limit to 70 units in order to be eligible for federal aid grants and loans included. So i'm at 70 units with a 3.0 PGA and I still have several units to go in order to be finished with my degree. I filed an appeal and it was denied. So what does one do to finish school? I don't have good credit so private loans are out of the question. I definitely wasn't counting on this happening. It went from 220 units to 120 units to 95 units and now 70. School at this point is my livelihood. I was a SAHM for 12 years and I have no marketable skills. I need the aid for income to support my children and to pay for school. Any thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions?

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#2 of 16 Old 06-22-2011, 08:49 PM
 
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Depending on your field, and how far advanced you are in your degree, you could look into employment with your department. My undergrad institution didn't have a graduate program for my field, so Seniors with good records could get paid to TA labs or grade papers. Also look into internships that pay. Taking off one term in order to do a nice paid internship is a pretty nice break too, it is like a real job!

 

ETA: I'm not sure what 'units' are, does '70 units' mean they are only paying for up to 70 credit hours before dropping your aid?


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#3 of 16 Old 06-22-2011, 09:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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70 units means that most classes are about 4 credits each so once you take approx. 17 classes you are no longer eligble for any grants or loans. I have many classes to go and I am not very far in. I just don't get how after 17 classes I am no longer eligble for even federal loans?? Financially I am eligble for grants and loans but I hit the colleges limit. I actually considered switching majors and going to the University instead. If perhaps the university has a higher limit and I can go more done. If I can't get aid I can't afford school.

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#4 of 16 Old 06-22-2011, 09:14 PM
 
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That's what I thought you meant, I just wanted to be sure. I'm guessing you are at a college that does mostly 2 year degrees and only a few 4 year degrees. If so, with 70 hours you might be right to switch to a related degree at the University.


Grants can actually get you pretty far, though. 


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#5 of 16 Old 06-23-2011, 09:00 AM
 
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Couple things. First, federal regulations require that colleges define program length for academic programs, and it requires that students make progress to completing that degree in a reasonable length of time. With that said, it's unclear what you were appealing and why you were denied. Was it a completion rate reason? Had you already used your aggregate (lifetime) eligibility for your grade level? It's important to distinguish whether or not an appeal is even something that can change this decision. With some appeal situations, the FA Office has the capacity to overturn the decision on a case-by-case basis, to reinstate eligibility, but those are generally due to academic situations. With most situations, they have no ability to reinstate eligibility, because they are bound by federal rules and regulations.

 

I've been a financial aid counselor for six years now. Generally, when dealing with issues where a student is denied an appeal (mostly for not making satisfactory academic progress - taking too long to complete their program), we like to see that the student has exercised all options. It's not enough to say, "I wouldn't qualify for alternative loans" it helps to SEE that you've applied and were denied for 2-3 education loans. My recommendation would be to see if there is a preferred lender list that your school has worked with. If not, you can find one on your own (depending on your program of study - Chase, Discover, Wells Fargo, Sallie Mae, etc.) If you're denied, present that to your FA Office to see if that holds value. If you can document you've exhausted your options and you're close to finishing, they could have emergency funding in the form of retention funds (scholarship/free money).  If nothing else, they may be able to reconsider the appeal again, based on the leg work you've done. Also, do they have a payment plan? Would you be able to reduce your coursework and go part-time while you pay, to reduce the up-front costs?

After all is said and done, there may be nothing more they can offer. If you were to transfer your credits to another degree granting institution, it's true you would not necessarily be hit with the same restrictions. I used to have students who failed poorly, lost financial aid eligibility, then transferred to a new school with a blank academic slate, and gained full eligibility again. So, it can be done.

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#6 of 16 Old 06-23-2011, 12:13 PM
 
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Hmm I wasn't using my math brain last night. If you have 70 courses, with most 4 hours each, that means you have 280 credit hours! What degree are you trying to get? If it is a Bachelors, then wouldn't you be graduated by now? My university required 130 hours to get a BS. I graduated with about 175 hours, because I had an unrelated Associates Degree and jumped around minors a few times. I was about to bump up against my school's 180 hours cap.


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#7 of 16 Old 06-23-2011, 03:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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4 credits each class with 70 total credits completed. I've taken 18 classes of gen ed and was applying for the LVN program which is 56 additional credits. I don't have 280 hours?! 70 hours. I did get the taking too long to complete my degree because I had no college under my belt and had to complete all my gen ed before I could even apply to the LVN program. Plus I had a pregnancy, delivery, and new baby alone (single) on top of a very intense court ordeal. Our community college is nearly 40 minutes from my home and because I am responsible for getting all my kids to and from school I haven't been able to be on campus from 8am-5 pm full time like is demanded. So my youngest is finally old enough to be in the on site campus daycare which you need to be 2 years old and I'm ready to be on campus full time. But I can't without any aid.

 

I can attempt to transfer with a different major to our local university which is only 5 minutes from my house but there is no nursing program there. Plus the tuition jumps from $300 total to $3000 total. But the cap is 180 units and if you maintain full time status in your field you can apply for appeals. I need to complete a statistics math course in order to even apply and there is no open registration until Aug 2011 for the Spring 2012 term. And they will only accept any applicants based on the current budget. LAst year they couldn't take any new students. It would give me an additional 110 units with fed aid if I was accepted. But that is the last option I can visibly see if the community college won't take my appeal. I'm just a single mom, displaced homemaker trying to get a degree. My income is below the poverty level and I'm sad I can't get financial aid anymore.

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#8 of 16 Old 06-23-2011, 09:03 PM
 
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Oh I understand now. I don't know anything about nursing, but your GPA is so good it boggles my mind they didn't like your appeal. AAbreu's advice sounds pretty good.


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#9 of 16 Old 06-28-2011, 10:48 AM
 
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Did you tell the school all of the above (single mom, daycare juggling, etc.)... often they are responsive when they know the reasons why. 


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#10 of 16 Old 06-28-2011, 10:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I did. It's not the school it's the state budget issues. They have been forced to eliminate aid to all students once they reach 70 units. Essentially they can't approve any appeals anymore. They just made this rule starting 7/1/2011 so it effected me. I enrolled online for a different community college that is far away but will let me get a few more essential classes under my belt. I am waiting to hear whether or not I am approved for financial aid or not. After the fall semester I am attempting to transfer to our local university. Our local university can only take transfers depending on the state budget as well so it is a huge toss up of whether or not I can get in as a transfer student. My goal is to be in school full time at the local university as of spring 2012.

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#11 of 16 Old 06-29-2011, 07:33 AM
 
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i could be totally off, but isn't financial aid federally funded, and not state based? in fact, i'm not off. it is federally based. i don't understand why state budget cuts would affect federal grants, and going part time vs full time only matters in terms of how much you get - like, if i have a full pell grant and opt to take part time courses, i get half a pell. it doesn't mean i get less overall, it means that i'll be in school for a lot longer, but sometimes that's what you have to do.

 

maybe i'm missing something?

what state are you in?

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#12 of 16 Old 06-29-2011, 09:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm in California. Yes you are right. However if per your school's guidelines you are no longer meeting Satisfactory Academic progress (which for me relates to having reached my schools limit of how many units I am allowed) then federal aid will not be granted. Your college mandates it's own rules of what the SAP is. THe local university here has a cap at 180 units. Every college has different guidelines but if you aren't meeting the SAP at any of the colleges then you will not receive federal aid.

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#13 of 16 Old 08-21-2011, 03:30 PM
 
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k, I'm in New Mexico and this is what I had to do.  I 'exceeded' my maximum time limit as far as hours, and had to work up a 'Consortium Agreement' with a 4 year university.  This allowed me to work on my bachelors at one college, finish my AA at the previous college and I get my financial aid back.  That was LITERALLY the only way I was going to get my financial aid back.  I think the new SAP guidelines are a bunch of crap, but I didn't find out about the new changed OR my loss of financial aid until a WEEK before school started.  I hope this helps.  This is a huge pain and I know what your going through.

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#14 of 16 Old 08-23-2011, 03:17 PM
 
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Are you enrolled at a community college in California? Are you trying to complete an AA or build more units torwards a BA.

 

Yes, they want to force you to trasfer to one of the other systems to get more people in the door for two year degrees rather than "clogging up" the system earning lots of credits at the cheaper rate. Do you have a Cal State campus near you? That would be the other cheap option.

 

Finally, you can apply for private educational loans if you have a credit-worthy co-signer. I had to do this in college because my parents wouldn't...er "couldn't" pay the assessed amount from fed/school.

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#15 of 16 Old 03-17-2013, 08:40 AM
 
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I have maxed mine out also. I am over 40, and making a career change. Mow I see a degree I was working on years ago is stopping me from getting teh financial aid from the Pell Grant. I believe at some time, they need to reset your limit. Maybe after 10 years. So for now, for working adults, and middle aged, we can't get access to Federal Funds. Has Washington addressed this after telling everyone they are going to make college affordable, but that it is not all the time and there is actually a limit on how much they will help you? It is confusing and is like reading the fine print especially if you don't know this and get accepted to a school, show up and start classes, then learn that you maxed out the Pell years ago. Can someone pass a bill, for a stipend for older adults that need to change careers and get another degree?

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#16 of 16 Old 08-27-2013, 02:06 PM
 
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I am currently an online student with Kaplan University.  I am enrolled in the Medical Assisting program.  I was informed that I have maxed out on financial aid.  I qualified for a student loan but it does not cover the full amount of my tuition.  I am a single mom and can not afford the out of pocket cost.  My degree program requires 92 credit hours and I have completed 45 and currently enrolled with 10.  I really want to complete my degree.  I have attempted to search for scholarships on-line but they all seem to direct me to somewhere else.  What can I do to get some assistance with paying my out of pocket fees.  

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