Returning Student, Retaking the ACT, and Financial Aid

<p>I've been wondering about this issue for some time, and I thought the good folks here might be able to give some guidance.
If you would like to skip the long-winded backstory, the questions are in paragraph five, though I feel it might give a better perspective on the questions.</p>

<p>The backstory: I had a 3.9 GPA graduating high school, along with as many AP and honors classes on my transcript as my high school offered, and a 28 on the ACT (so pretty decent high school track record); I started classes at a public university here the following fall semester and had financial aid from the FAFSA, HOPE scholarship, and a tiny scholarship from the university.</p>

<p>I made straight As in all my classes at university the first semester, and started on that path the second semester, but then things got shaken up. I realized I was not going to have enough money to pay my rent after February. (Please note: This was the closest university to where I lived and was still over an hour away, so living at home was not a feasible option, and the apartment I had was cheaper than what I would have been paying for a dorm.) Couple that with the fact that both of my parents were in a car crash and hospitalized the same month, and I wasn't in a place to really be able to focus on school at that point.</p>

<p>Whether or not it was the best decision, I moved back to my hometown mid semester, got a retail job full-time, using part of it to finish out my lease on the apartment to avoid legal issues, and the rest to help my parents keep up their bills while they were in the hospital and then recovering. As a result, my grades plummeted and I lost both the scholarships I've had.</p>

<p>So here it is two years later, and I'm finally ready to go back to university. My questions are these:
1) As someone who has previously attended two semesters of university and is returning a couple of years later, am I able to retake the ACT?
2) If 'Yes' to #1, will an improved score on the ACT allow me to receive new scholarships and/or regain lost scholarships? (I have continued to learn and study as though I never left university while I have been back home, so I have no doubt I wouldn't do significantly better on the test now.)
3) Would there be any specific reasons to take or NOT take the ACT again at this point?
4) Are there any major financial aid issues that will come up returning to school in my situation?</p>

<p>I will appreciate any and all thoughts and help on these issues, and additionally, if anyone has been in a similar situation, I would appreciate any of your general guidance on the matter as well.</p>

<p>1) I don’t believe you can re-take the ACT (someone here can correct me if I am wrong) but you are actually now likely going to be considered a transfer student, so colleges will be looking at your 1st year college GPA. However, circumstances may be a little different in your case as you only have one full semester of college units completed. I am hoping someone else could elaborate more on this. </p>

<p>What was your GPA that last semester and your overall GPA? Any fails? Knowing the exact numbers helps with knowing whether you may have SAP issues for finaid. Am I understanding correctly you moved back home but continued to attend classes commuting over an hour? Are you intending to go back to the same school?</p>

<p>The best thing to do would be to ask the school but you should get some idea here of what any issues may be, what questions to ask etc. Are you looking to enroll this spring or next fall?</p>

<p>At the end of the first semester it was a 4.0, then at the end of the second, it had essentially gone down to a 2.0. The
I realize now that I was a little fuzzy on the details, sorry about that. To expand though, no, I didn’t finish out the classes that semester. I tried at first but I just couldn’t make it work. I had asked the financial aid office what my options were, and they said whatever I did to not withdraw from the classes because I would have to pay the government back a ton of money that I didn’t have. So I really didn’t have any other options besides just failing all the classes the second semester.</p>

<p>Yes, I’ll be attending the same school, and they do have an academic forgiveness policy where you essentially get to restart and replace any grades you had before, so that part isn’t so much of an issue. Would there be any chance of recouping scholarship money either this fall when I re-enroll or at a later semester when my grades have recovered?</p>

<p>The only people who can answer your questions about the scholarship money, are the people at that university. You need to get in touch with them.</p>

<p>Yes, I think there’s a chance you could get some of your aid back with your 4.0 first semester GPA and your explanation of the 2nd semester. However, I don’t think anyone here can say if that chance is 1% or 99%. Only the school can tell you that. It certainly doesn’t hurt to ask. I don’t know the ins and outs of Hope and don’t know what your Satisfactory Academic Progress(SAP) would be for Pell.</p>

<p>I would email the school with your explanation and ask all your questions. Find out what your current status is. Is there a chance you’re on a leave rather than completely withdrawn? That’s something that would have been requested that semester. As a former student looking to re-enroll I think I might start with the Dean of Students rather than admissions or finaid but others may have a better idea of who to email. I would include what the finaid office told you at the time. I’m not sure that was good advice. Others here may know more about under what circumstance you would have needed to pay back Pell, Hope or other need-based aid that semester.</p>

<p>I don’t see any benefit in retaking the ACT if you even can. Your first semester grades establish you can handle the work at that school.</p>

<p>Are your finances in better shape now that you wouldn’t run out mid-semester? Could you handle paying a semester out of pocket if you need to re-establish SAP?</p>

<p>IMO the viewpoint of the university will differ depending on whether you officially withdrew or just stopped attending class. It’s difficult to tell from your response on your grades if the 2.0 is for 2nd semester or overall. If overall that means you failed everything the last semester. That also would make a difference in my mind. And I think @kgos16‌ is correct that retaking the ACT is a non-starter. Both the ACT and SAT were designed for HS students. You haven’t been one for a while, and no matter where you go you will be considered a transfer student.</p>