Financial aid in the form of scholarships, loans and grants can reduce -- or even eliminate -- the amount of money that students pay out of pocket to go to college. However, with this financial aid often comes minimum academic requirements that students must maintain. If students do not meet these requirements, they risk having their financial aid suspended by their school, which can make their higher education costs skyrocket. Fortunately, students often can recover from this suspension.

GPA-Based Suspension

Failure to meet the academic requirements established by your financial aid is the most common cause of financial aid suspension. For example, Marylhurst University places students on financial aid suspension if they are in their junior year or beyond and do not have a minimum 2.0 GPA. At the University of Minnesota, students have to earn a minimum grade point average, which varies depending on the financial aid they received, during a probationary period in order for financial aid to continue. If they do not earn that minimum GPA, the school suspends their financial aid.

Credit-Based Suspension

Some students might have a high enough GPA to maintain their financial aid, but their school will suspend their aid for another reason. In these cases, the student likely failed to take the minimum number of credits to receive financial aid. Generally, students need to be full-time students to earn financial aid. If students withdraw from a class because of a personal issue, like a death in the family, or fail a class, they could fall under the credit requirements and see their aid suspended.

Suspension Appeals

If students simply let their grades slip, they will have to boost them to receive their financial aid back. However, if there were extenuating circumstances that required them to drop classes or hindered their academic performance, they can submit an appeal to their school for review. Gillette College considers circumstances like the death of a family member, extreme illness of a family member, personal illness or other unusual hardships grounds for an appeal.


Though students might lose their financial aid, this suspension does not mean they cannot take classes. They will just have to do so out of pocket. By taking classes, however, students can boost their grade point average, which can result in the school reinstating their financial aid. For example, at the end of each semester, Elizabeth City State University's Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals Committee reviews suspended students' grades to determine if they can receive financial aid again.

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About the Author

Barbie Carpenter worked as a technical writer and editor in the defense industry for six years. She also served as a newspaper feature page editor and nationally syndicated columnist for the Hearst Corp. Carpenter holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Florida and a graduate certificate in professional writing from the University of Central Florida.