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Financial aid credit hours cut off?

biologynerdbiologynerd Posts: 377Registered User Member
edited December 2010 in Financial Aid & Scholarships
I am currently a junior but I am really unhappy in my major. I have already changed my major 3 times, but I struggled with chem classes, couldn't get into some required classes on time because they filled up before I could enroll and I absolutely am bored to death in my political science classes. The problem is I am already at 89 credits; however, 50 something of those credits are from IB/AP high school testing. I'm scared because I don't want to be cut off from financial aid if I have too many credit hours but no degree. Normally, I would just stick out poli sci but I am so disinterested in my classes and I don't want to go to law school anymore. Does anyone know the policy on this? I go to a florida public university. I pay for my education on my own so fin aid is essential. I really want to be speech pathologist instead of a political scientist. I am scheduled to graduate in 2 years anyway (2012) so I wouldn't be THAT far behind if I do switch, I'm just concerned about my hours and if they're going to cut me off at 120 credit hours.
Post edited by biologynerd on
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Replies to: Financial aid credit hours cut off?

  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Posts: 14,954Registered User Senior Member
    Search on your school's web site for their SAP - satisfactory academic progress - policy. This details their criteria for financial aid eligibility including the maximum credit hours, GPA etc..

    Each school will have their own policy. At both my kids schools the maximum credits were 150% of the hours required for a degree. So if the hours required were 120 then after 180 eligibility for aid was lost. But check with your own school for their policy.

    Also different types of aid may have different policies so you need to check into that. For instance a scholarship from the institution may have its own policy (my daughter has a scholarship where part of it is for 5 years and the other part is only for 4 years). Some state programs may have their own maximum hours. I know someone posted the other day about Georgia's Hope program which tops out at 126 hours or thereabouts. If you are receiving florida bright futures you should check into whether that has a maximum credit hour policy.

    Go and have a sit down with someone in your FA office for some guidance. We have found FA people to generally be very helpful.

    Good luck.
  • biologynerdbiologynerd Posts: 377Registered User Member
    Thanks, left the FA office crying. I have 34 credit hours left and no degree. This really is frustrating as I transferred as a freshman and 32 credit hours were from high school alone. They are mostly extra gen eds that won't help me to get my degree. I'm starting to freak out.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Posts: 12,512Super Moderator Senior Member
    Did they offer the opportunity to file an appeal?? If they didn't touch on that, please find out the process. There should be an appeal process, and you can lay out what happened & your timeline for achieving your degree.
  • biologynerdbiologynerd Posts: 377Registered User Member
    Thanks, they did tell me about the appeal, but I can't appeal until they send me an email stating I will be cut off. Then I have to write the appeal and wait and see IF they will give me anything at all. I mean, do I even have a chance? I can prove that my parents are experiencing financial hardship and I have pay stubs to prove how many hours I work part time to pay for school.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Posts: 12,512Super Moderator Senior Member
    The appeal won't focus on the need for aid --- that's not relevant. You need to make the case for why you should continue to receive aid when you theoretically should have a degree by now. You need to document where your credits are from (such as AP, transfer that only meets gen ed, etc) and what you will need to finish your degree. It is a good idea to meet with an academic counselor to develop a written plan of work - include that with your appeal (have the counselor sign the plan). Stick to the facts of why you don't have your degree yet, what you are doing to finish it up as quickly as possible, etc.
  • biologynerdbiologynerd Posts: 377Registered User Member
    Thank you so much for the advice! I will definitely be dilligent about getting my degree as fast as possible. I plan on taking summer courses as well.
  • 2collegewego2collegewego Posts: 2,583Registered User Senior Member
    Did you ask if you can have some of those AP credits removed? I had at least one college that denied me a bunch of 'extra' useless transfer credits. When I complained, they explained that it would be to my benefit because I wouldn't hit SAP as quickly. Find out if the will let you turn down some of that old AP credit.
  • biologynerdbiologynerd Posts: 377Registered User Member
    Yes, I tried everything in my power. They refuse to change the credits even though it was their mistake because they put them in the computer twice. I pretty much out of luck either way. Every office I go to FA, registrar's, academic services, my adviser...they all say they have no power to do anything about it.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Posts: 12,512Super Moderator Senior Member
    Does your college have an Ombudsman's Office? If so, please go there & ask the ombudsman for help. If no Ombudsman, try the Dean of Students.
  • biologynerdbiologynerd Posts: 377Registered User Member
    Thanks, yeah i'm going to the dean today, and the office of ungrad admissions to see if they can somehow see how the error can be fixed since they were the ones who had my transcripts in the first place. :[ this sucks
  • sk8rmomsk8rmom Posts: 5,746Registered User Senior Member
    What school is this and have you actually read their SAP policy for yourself (it should be in the undergrad catalog)? The 150% of hours is a federal limit...I checked a dozen or so 4-year public schools in PA, NJ, and NY and none of them deviated from it, even for transfers. Which makes sense...why would they pull federal aid when they don't have to? Interestingly though, some of the schools specifically stated that, for transfers, only credits that will actually be applied to their degree will count in this tally. If your school has decided to make up their own rules, it's important to have the exact policy in writing so you know what you're dealing with...take careful notes in your meetings, check your understanding before you leave and, if possible, get THEM to put it in writing for you!
  • biologynerdbiologynerd Posts: 377Registered User Member
    It's a large public university in Florida. I would give the name, but for confidentiality purposes I can't do that. Yes, I have checked their policies and it is 90 hours in residency alotted for juniors; however, I transferred my freshman year after the fall semester (I took spring off and transferred for the summer semester). I had credits from AP/IB but they are counting the credits twice because I had some overlap with English I and II and Gen Psychology. So they're saying I transferred as a junior even though I transferred as a sophomore because I should have 51 credits from AP/IB not 60 (because 9 are duplicates). I changed my major twice and now they're saying 90-56=34 credit hours left. I'm so mad because even though I had credits they were gen eds, so its not like I had a ton of really useful credits for any major. I've only been at this school for a year....If I transferred as a sophomore I would be alotted 135 hours. And they're telling me there is no way to fix it.

    I mean these are federal loans, I don't have a pell grant or any "no string attached" money so I don't understand why they are being so strict about it.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Posts: 12,512Super Moderator Senior Member
    They are being strict because the same rules that govern Pell also govern loans. The school has no choice but to apply its SAP rules for everyone.

    You mentioned that you can't appeal until you are actually cut off. I am not quite sure I understand. Are you or are you not eligible to receive aid this semester? If not, then you would be eligible to appeal. The appeal needs to directly address the issue at hand ... that is, it must address the reason you have lost your aid (not the fact that you really need the aid). You need to explain why you really don't have all the credits they say you do ... you have told us, now you need to explain it to the school. It is your aid, your situation ... you can't expect them to know your personal situation ... you have to spell it out for them so that they can see that the reason you are over the credit hours is not from slacking off. Show them your progress toward your goal. Have you been to an academic advisor to get a plan of work for the rest of your degree program? If not, you should - and include a copy with your appeal.
  • biologynerdbiologynerd Posts: 377Registered User Member
    realize that the SAP rules apply to everybody, but again just because I have duplicate credits that they won't take off (an error of the college, not of my own) I'm going to be cut off after this spring. Its ok, I'm finding a way to pay for it on my own. If the appeal works, then great. If not, I tried. At this point I'm tired of talking to the fin aid people at my school because they don't even help me, I have to figure out the answers to my questions all on my own. All of the departments pass the buck and say there's nothing they can do.
  • biologynerdbiologynerd Posts: 377Registered User Member
    So the registrar insists that everything is ok because I took both AP/IB classes and AP/IB tests, therefore, if there are duplicates they can't change them and they won't zero out the same credits. It doesn't make any sense to me that they would do this....I wouldn't have to take gen psych twice to fulfill the requirements and I took it in high school, so financial aid didn't even pay for it. I am going to stop fighting and just write the appeal. All I have to say is I regret ever pursuing an IB diploma in high school. All it has done is wreak havoc on my college experience.
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