Going back to college

I graduated hs in 2008. After hs I started college but had to drop out the end of my second semester after a tragic incident. I haven’t gone back to college since. I am now ready to go back but I still owe the previous university. I can not afford to settle with them. I want a fresh. If I apply for financial aid, will my new college be notified that I have been to college before and ask for my transcript?

Even if you don’t apply for financial aid, you will most likely not be able to enroll in a new college until you have finished paying the previous university what you owe. You may be able to take a class or two at a community college.

How much do you owe? Have you made any payments? Have you been working the past 7 years? Any savings that could go toward a payment plan?

You will need to provide an official transcript from your first university when you apply anywhere else as a degree-seeking student. If you apply in non-degree status for just one or two classes, you might not need to provide a transcript. Many community colleges don’t require transcripts for admission, but will require them before you complete an associates degree.

So, you do need to work out arrangements with your original university to settle your debt. Contact them, and find out what options exist.

You should know that any federal aid will count toward your lifetime limits for Pell and loans. So yes when you apply for aid those previous records will come up. There are other ways colleges check for previous attendance as well, there are student clearinghouses with the information.

Also as said above you can’t apply without transcripts. It would be a fraudulent application if you don’t submit prior college information. As far as it hurting your transfer application, I think you will just need to explain the circumstances , colleges understand that there are sometimes things out of your control.

If you’re comfortable talking to the previous university officials about your situation they may be able to work something out with you such as a payment plan that may help you get your transcripts released so that you can enroll at another college. It may take some time though because but they may be more likely to make an exception for someone whose withdrawal was due to some kind of major life event or catastrophe.