Mapping Your Future: Three things you must do to continue receiving financial aid for your education

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Three things you must do to continue receiving financial aid for your education

By Catherine Mueller

June 23, 2020

Students who establish their initial eligibility for federal financial aid by completing all the necessary forms aren't finished - at least when it comes to making sure they continue receiving financial aid.

Students completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) establish their eligibility for federal aid - such as being a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen. However, for students to continue receiving federal financial aid while pursuing their education, they must do three things:

  • Make satisfactory academic progress toward the completion of a certificate or degree program. This means making good grades and completing your courses. Each school will have its own policy on how to meet satisfactory academic progress requirements. If you are concerned about it, you can check with the financial aid office at your school.
  • Be enrolled at least half-time. The definition of half-time will vary among schools and programs and may be a part of the school's policy on satisfactory academic progress. Students who are considering dropping a course should check with their financial aid office to ensure that their financial aid isn't at risk or to determine if they will need to return any financial aid.
  • File the renewal FAFSA every year. Filing the FAFSA the year before you plan to pursue education beyond high school is not enough. To continue being eligible for financial aid, students need to submit a renewal FAFSA each year. The Department of Education will send out reminders, but if a student fails to complete the renewal FAFSA, their financial aid for following years could be in jeopardy.

Students who aren't sure if they've met all the requirements to continue receiving financial aid should check with the financial aid office.