Five Factors That Can Influence Your
Financial Aid Award

Congratulations on receiving your financial aid award from your school! We want to be sure you keep and maximize your aid in the years to come. Below are some scenarios that can impact your financial aid. Check these out so you aren't caught off guard!
1.  Changes in status  
Are you considering changing your major, dropping some classes or living at home instead of on campus? Some types of aid may have been based on your major, enrollment status or living situation. Before making any of these types of changes, check with the financial aid office to see if your aid will be impacted .
2. Grades and course completion
Federal regulations require that all students receiving federal financial aid continue to make Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward completing their degree. Students must keep their grades above a minimum GPA and complete a required percentage of the courses they attempt. Check with your school to learn more about their SAP policy.

If you have a merit scholarship (way to go!), check to see if your scholarship is renewable. If it is, find out how many semesters you can potentially receive the scholarship, and if there is a minimum GPA renewal requirement .
3.  Lifetime limits  
The Federal Pell Grant and State of Maine Grant programs both have lifetime limits that govern how many semesters students can receive awards. Additionally, the Federal Direct Loan program has maximum borrowing limits for both undergraduate and graduate borrowing. Students who are making good progress toward their degree typically don't hit these limits, but it is important to understand the limits and plan your courses carefully .
4. Receiving outside scholarships
Receiving outside scholarships is a good thing! If a school has already met a student's financial need based on her/his SAR, the school may be required to adjust the student's financial aid award. If you receive outside scholarships, check with the financial aid office to see if your aid will be adjusted. If it must be adjusted, ask the school if it is possible to reduce need-based loans and/or Work-Study before grants .
5. Criminal offenses
Did you know that students who are convicted of possessing or selling illegal drugs, or who are convicted of a sexual offense while receiving federal financial aid are at risk for losing their federal financial aid? For more information see the Federal Student Aid Website .
Always review the information included with your financial aid award carefully. The award letter materials and school's financial aid website are where you will find the important details related to maintaining financial aid eligibility. If you have questions, contact your financial aid office as soon as possible .
Want More Information?

For more information on award letters, comparing net costs and what to do when the aid is not enough, join us on Wednesday, March 8th at 10:00 a.m. for this month's free Wednesday Webinar, Decoding Award Letters: A Guide to Finding the Most Affordable Option.

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