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Should I finish my 1st Bachelor Degree?

Kashmir74Kashmir74 Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
I read that you cannot get grants after you have finished your first bachelor degree. I planned on finishing my Accounting Bachelor degree and then work on a Nursing degree. Should I finish all my classes for the Bachelor degree but not apply for graduation? Or would financial aid still recognize that I am all finished and should I leave one class to finish years later?

Post edited by Kashmir74 on

Replies to: Should I finish my 1st Bachelor Degree?

  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,711 Senior Member
    Once you have the classes required for the bachelors you are no longer eligible for the Pell grant. Does not matter if you apply for graduation or not.

    Schools may also take away any financial aid once you hit a certain number of credits. At the 2 schools I am familiar with you become ineligible for aid once you have attempted 150% of the number of credit hours required for a degree at the school. So if the degree requires 120 hours then once you have attempted 180 hours (includes any withdrawals) you become ineligible for any aid. This may vary from school to school. Some schools also have time limits. You would need to check your school's policies.

    Also if you are taking out Stafford loans you may hit the cumulative maximum for those ($31k for a dependent undergrad).
  • Kashmir74Kashmir74 Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    Okay. Thanks. I will leave some classes left to complete.

    Does that 150% include classes that I have paid for out of my own pocket? or can I not count those classes towards that total?
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,711 Senior Member
    Doesn't matter how the classes were paid for. They are counted toward the total.
  • Kashmir74Kashmir74 Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    Ugh. Sounds like I will have to file some appeals for the Nursing degree. Thanks.
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,711 Senior Member
    Your school should have SAP (Satisfactory Academic Progress) policies for financial aid posted either on their web site or in their catalog. Try running a search for SAP on their web site.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Super Moderator Posts: 14,621 Super Moderator
    Make sure you check. My school would not allow what you are trying to do - we would not approve an appeal for what you are considering if you exceeded 150%.

    We do approve appeals for extra time for double majors, legitimate changes in major, etc. We don't approve extra time for back-to-back majors - it is clear the intent is to keep on getting aid, which is not allowed.
  • Kashmir74Kashmir74 Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    These are at two different schools. The Nursing program would be at a community college so I would be funded at freshman/sophomore level. Not much money but it would be difficult to accomplish this without the aid.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 65,155 Senior Member
    I don't think you will get much funding from that community college to pursue this second degree. Check with THEM to see.
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,711 Senior Member
    I don't think you would be eligible for aid at a CC with the # of credits you must have already accumulated at a 4 year school. Our local CC the credits required for a degree are around 60 credits. 150% of the credits would be 90 credits and aid eligibility may end there - if you are close to having a bachelors you must be well over that.

    Also you might have to check with your current school about how/if you can transfer back and complete that degree later (if you want to). My daughter's school requires that the last 30 hours be completed at their school to get a degree from them. I have no idea how they would handle someone leaving and getting an associate degree elsewhere then returning and trying to complete a degree there.

    You need to talk to both financial and academic advisers at both schools to make sure you don't shoot yourself in the foot.
  • Kashmir74Kashmir74 Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    What a headache.

    Well I left the CC and went to the four year school and got within 10 classes of finishing the bachelor degree. Then after quite a few years I went back to the CC and got aid for some Nursing pre-reqs. The pre-reqs are done and now I just completed one semester at the four year school. I'm about to start another semester and get within a class or two of a Bachelor degree. Both schools are aware of each other. I had to send them each transcripts.

    I'm going to file my FAFSA this January and see what the CC does. Its already too late to worry about it. If they don't fund me i'll try to appeal. Hopefully i'll get lucky.
  • kelsmomkelsmom Super Moderator Posts: 14,621 Super Moderator
    This sort of double-dipping circumvents the rules. Federal aid is intended to be for a first bachelors degree, and aid is supposed to be available only for students in a regular, degree granting program. The new Pell grant rules track percentage of annual award students get & limit the grant to 18 semesters (900%) - starting with 2009-10 award year. Down the road, I think there will be some very unhappy students when they realize their Pell eligibility has been exhausted ...
  • Kashmir74Kashmir74 Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    I've only received grants for one semester so far. I just ran my figures and I think I can still pull it off. Any loans/grants/scholarships would only help. I didn't mean to go for two degrees. I just almost had one degree finished from almost 10 years ago and decided to do something else. So I did my pre-reqs and while I wait to start Nursing school, I figured i'd finish the other degree.

    Would the fact that i've only gotten one semester of grants help me out in any way?

  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,711 Senior Member
    Probably not. SAP does not take into account whether you have received aid in the past at all - just whether you meet SAP.

    We actually ran into this with my son. He started at a CC and we never applied for financial aid. He dropped out after 1 1/2 years. He attempted to return and we again paid out of pocket for the classes - for various reasons it was a disastrous semester and he ended up dropping all the classes. The next year he finally got serious and returned again. This time our financial circumstances were much different (Dad's ill health and retirement, younger child in college) and we knew he would qualify for aid. He applied and was denied because of the bad semester. He appealed and got probationary aid then was able to get aid the remaining semesters. But he was denied initially even though he had never received any aid previously - not even loans.

    You would need to ask your school(s) about their policies. Make sure you find out before you make any decisions or commitments..
  • Kashmir74Kashmir74 Registered User Posts: 13 New Member
    Everyone thanks for the responses.

    I'm familiar with SAP. I had to sign a SAP contract for my first semester back at the four year school. It was approved and I fulfilled the contract by my performance this semester. If only I didn't waste those early years at school! It would be so much easier now.
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,711 Senior Member
    I hear you. It takes some people a while to find the right path. I have been so worried that my son would lose aid before he finished his degree (a technology AS degree- he does not plan to go on to do a bachelors) by exceeding SAP hours as he changed directions completely so most of his early credit hours did not count toward his degree. But the finishing line is in sight. One more semester. And he found out last week he does still have aid though is on probation for the final semester. We'd have managed somehow otherwise - but it would have been a struggle.

    Good luck. I hope you find a way to make it happen for you.
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