By Richard Reyna
Senior Financial Aid Advisor, APUS
Winter sessions are in full swing, and spring sessions are fast approaching. Whether you successfully navigated the financial aid process and have your aid package finalized, or are getting ready to fill out your FAFSA for the first time, it is important to know how to maintain your Federal Student Aid eligibility.
Start a degree program at American Public University.
Did you know that maintaining your enrollment and being successful in your courses helps you maintain your Federal Student Aid (FSA) eligibility?
Here are a few points on how your academic success and progress play a key role in determining continued eligibility.
What to Do When You Need to Change Your Course Schedule
When life interferes with your plans, it may be necessary to change your course schedule. Make sure you are aware of the effects on your academic progress, goals and financial aid eligibility. Dropping and/or withdrawing from courses after the start of a semester might prevent your packaged aid from being disbursed.
Likewise, changing your enrollment status could result in recalculating your financial aid and lead to a loss of or reduction in your eligibility.
By planning your class schedule well ahead of time, with your work and life priorities in mind, you reduce the likelihood of having to drop or withdraw from courses and alter your aid eligibility and funding.
Success in the Classroom Has a Direct Effect on Your FSA Eligibility
Your level of success in the classroom has a direct effect on your FSA eligibility. Passing your courses and earning high grades will improve and/or sustain your grade point average (GPA), giving you the best chance to meet your academic goals and maintain your eligibility for FSA.
Failing or withdrawing from courses, however, could result in your not meeting the requirements for Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). Speak to your school’s financial aid office to discuss SAP requirements.
If you are struggling, take advantage of the resources available from tutoring, your instructor or your academic advisor.
Knowing When to Apply for FSA Will Help You Sustain Your Eligibility
Knowing when your FSA application and financial aid package expire will help you sustain your eligibility.
While the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Award Year starts each July 1, the FAFSA for that award year becomes available the prior October. Furthermore, understanding your APUS academic year will keep you aware of when you need to take action to complete the FSA steps.
Federal Student Aid Is Available to Help You Keep Your Eligibility
FSA is an investment in your education. The return on that investment is your successful progress and completion of your degree.
Sustaining your enrollment and continuing your academic success are key to maintaining FSA eligibility; however, also keep in mind why you are pursuing your academic goals.
Consistent academic success brings you a step closer to earning your degree. In the end, navigating the FSA process and maintaining your eligibility won’t become a lasting memory; they will be the journey and the opportunity to share your academic success with your family and friends.