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No Longer Eligible For Federal Financial Aid?

helpareaderseriesLast weekend I received a question from one of my followers on Twitter. The question came through the request of another person trying to help someone finish their college education (a little later in life – age 41). Below is the situation and immediately following was my response. I am posting it on in the off chance that the information is helpful for someone else. If you have additional suggestions, please feel free to utilize the comment section below.

Q. Marie left college at the age of 21, started a family, established a career and has now (20 years later) decided to finish her studies at a public college in California. For some reason, she is no longer eligible for federal financial aid (I did not receive all the details but I do my best with the information I am provided.).

A. Thought I would try to provide some helpful tips to help you move forward in your educational process. My understanding is that you are no longer eligible to receive Title IV funds which are awarded by your institution based upon your FAFSA results.

Each school sets their policy on awarding these funds and any restrictions are solely at the discretion of the school you are attending. Most schools use satisfactory progress (GPA and Credit Completion) as the variables in which they determine your eligibility for Title IV monies. For example, if a student is not taking enough credit hours each semester or is consistently performing poorly in the classroom, the school can have a policy in place that limits the “misuse” of Title IV funds to further that particular students access to federal funds.

I am not sure if your situation matches the above scenario but the good news is that each school has a different policy on satisfactory progress. What eliminates you for access to funds at one school may still allow you to benefit for funding from another. My guess is that that all the California state school systems have the same policy but you may be able to find access via an online program (like University of Phoenix and the like).

Now… If your problem is that you have maximized your federal student loan limits and you still have access to Title IV monies (via the FAFSA), you may still be able to apply for Pell grant monies (depending on your EFC) as well as other grant funds (Cal Grant – Apply Here). If you want to change your major to Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math, there are even more grant programs that could be available to you. STEM initiative funding is popping up in states all across the nation.

Outside of Federal Loans, you may have to look at private student loans to help get you through the remainder of your education. Sallie Mae just rolled out a Smart Loan program that has a pretty decent applicant approval rate. You can also check out Discover and Wells Fargo. You will want to try and have a co-signer on these programs just because your interest rate will be more favorable (along with your chances of being approved).

I recently came across a $7 million dollar scholarship program out of Texas that is committing $1 million dollars of funding to out-of-state residents. Since you are in California, you can give it a go.

Hope this information helps.. Unfortunately, without knowing all the details, it is difficult to provide a more detailed solution.

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