When you received your school’s financial aid offer it most likely included a federal student loan offer. If you accepted a federal student loan, you signed a binding legal document which states you agree to repay this loan, regardless if you complete your degree or not. Failing a class or withdrawing from classes does not absolve you of your duty to pay back your loan, and it can also impact your eligibility to continue to receive federal student aid.

Satisfactory Academic Progress Requirement:

You need to make satisfactory academic progress in order to continue receiving federal student aid. This means maintaining a certain grade point average, and completing enough classes (credits, hours, etc.), to keep moving toward successfully completing your degree or certificate in a time period that’s acceptable to your school.

Each school has a satisfactory academic progress policy for financial aid purposes; you can check your school’s website or ask someone at the financial aid office to review your school’s policy. The policy should clarify -

  • what grade-point average (or equivalent standard) you need to maintain;
  • how quickly you need to be moving toward graduation;
  • how an incomplete class, withdrawal, repeated class, change of major, or transfer of credits from another school affects your satisfactory academic progress;
  • how often your school will evaluate your progress;
  • what will happen if you fail to make satisfactory academic progress when your school evaluates you;
  • whether you can appeal your school’s decision that you haven’t made satisfactory academic progress and on what basis; and
  • how you can regain eligibility for federal student aid.

Half-Time Enrollment:

If failing or dropping classes leads to you dropping below half-time enrollment or withdrawing from school completely, your federal student loan will enter into repayment. When your loan enters repayment, your servicer will automatically place you on the Standard Repayment Plan. You can request a different repayment plan at any time.

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