Skip to main content

What should I do if my school reduces my financial aid package?


    If you received a financial aid package and are now being told it's being reduced, many questions are likely swirling in your mind.

    The reason why your financial aid package was reduced is specific to your school and your situation, and you'll need to reach out to your school's financial aid office to understand the decision better. However, if your financial aid was reduced, and you're concerned about being able to finance your education, you do still have options.  Here's what you need to know if this happens to you.

    Why'd my financial aid get reduced?

    Your financial aid can be reduced for various reasons, including:

    • You didn't obtain a sufficient number of academic credits for your aid package
    • Your class attendance is poor
    • A change in your financial circumstances has disqualified you from certain aid
    • Your school's projected aid budget is more than the actual funding they received, and they need to adjust aid packages
    • You failed to meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards

    Federal regulations require that students meet minimum cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) standards to retain eligibility for federal aid. To meet SAP standards, students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 on a 4.0 scale and pass enough classes to progress toward their degree on time.

    Some schools have SAP calculators to help determine your pace. Check with your school's financial aid office to determine the specific requirements you need to meet.

    What can I do to increase my financial aid if this happens?

    First, check in with your school

    You'll want to call your school directly and discuss your financial aid reduction. That's the best way to know how you should move forward.

    If it's as simple as you not taking enough credits, you should still have the option to add additional classes to get your full financial aid package reinstated.

    If it's to do with your finances or academic performance, there will be a different set of actions to take.

    File for aid appeal

    If your school believes there was a change in your finances or chose to decrease your package for another reason, you should consider filing an aid appeal.

    An aid appeal is a process in which you can apply for additional financial aid because of certain circumstances.

    To qualify for aid appeal, you likely need to meet one of the below criteria:

    If one of these applies to you, you might want to pursue the aid appeal process, which will be different from school to school.

    File a SAP appeal

    If you've lost financial aid due to failing to meet SAP standards, you can consider filing a SAP appeal with your school.

    Your SAP appeal is more likely to be considered if you experienced a recent hardship that impacted your ability to perform academically. If you feel you can make a case for yourself and prove that you'll do better over the next semester, this might be worth a shot.

    When filing a SAP appeal, it's helpful to show remorse for your poor performance and prove to your school that you have a plan to do better over the next semester.

    Apply for more aid

    You may need to consider applying for scholarships or additional financial aid options like student loans if you run out of other options.

    While this might not help if you're already past deadlines for the upcoming (or current) semester, it's an option for your next semester.

    Final thoughts

    Unfortunately, schools sometimes make decisions that students don't have control over. While this's a difficult situation to be in, don't let it deter you from continuing your education. Seek help from your school to best address the situation and devise a plan to move forward.