“Only students with good grades get financial aid.”
This past week, Forbes magazine posted a story about Seth Samuelson, a college student, who hounded oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens on Twitter. Samuelson had a rather bold approach to finding financial aid. He asked the billionaire repeatedly for help with his college bills. Pickens’ response was that unless his GPA was 3.0, not to bother him.
While getting good grades in high school will increase your chances for success in college (and potentially with a generous billionaire), getting poor grades does not automatically disqualify you from all aid. In general, your eligibility for financial aid is based on your financial need first. Types of federal aid you may receive include Pell Grant, FSEOG (Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant), and subsidized and unsubsidized loans.
To receive these types of federal aid, you need to make “satisfactory academic progress”, referred to as SAP. SAP as defined by FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is a “GPA of at least 2.0, or academic standing consistent with the institution’s requirements for graduation.”
Many community colleges and universities accept students with a low GPA. In fact, some colleges may opt to accept a student with a GPA that’s lower than the institution’s standards by placing the student on “academic probation” for their first semester. This probation period allows the student to prove him or herself academically. Assuming the student makes satisfactory academic progress at the end of the probation period, the restriction is lifted and the student is given right standing with the college.
Obviously, it helps to get good grades, as this will qualify you for academic scholarships at the particular college you may apply to. However, don’t let poor grades discourage you from applying for free federal aid.
If you’d like to know more about the financial aid process, download the free information manual at www.maxfinaid.com.