What happens if you fail a financial aid college class? College Girl Smarts (2023)

Getting financial aid is every college student's dream, as the exorbitant prices of higher education mean few families are able to afford the costs out of their own pockets.

However, with help comes responsibility, and students who fail a class may fear their source of funding will be cut off since Mom and Dad aren't the ones writing the check.

But is this fear justified?

In general, failing a class at college is unlikely to affect your status of financial aid, particularly aid from government and institutional sources. However, it is important to understand the regulations of your specific program in order to accurately assess the impact of failing a class.

In most cases, students are at risk of losing financial aid if their grade point average falls below a certain threshold or if they have been in school for several semesters and have not taken a satisfactory path to graduation.

There are many mitigating factors, however, so the following tips can help you understand what to do when a failing class becomes part of your academic journey.

What happens if you fail a financial aid college class? College Girl Smarts (1)

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How bad grades affect different types of financial aid

It is important to know what type of financial assistance you are receiving to understand how a failing grade affects your continued eligibility for assistance.


This includes scholarshipsThe Best Forms of Financial Aidreceived, as they are essentially gifts of money that do not have to be returned.

These are usually government awarded grants based on need, but you can also get a grant directly from your university, a private grant, or a grant from a non-profit organization.


The most popular scholarship for students is thisSkin-Stipendium.

This is a government scholarship awarded to college-bound students whose family has demonstrated that they are financially unable to pay all of the student's tuition expenses.

In order to receive a Pell Scholarship, students must submit thisFree application for federal study grants(FAFSA) to determine the amount of yourexpected family contribution (EFC).

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The government awards the Pell grant to offset expenses that the family cannot afford.

As long as the FAFSA is filed each year, a failing class should not affect a student's ability to receive a Pell Grant.

However, if you begin accumulating multiple failed courses and do not make satisfactory progress toward completion, as accepted by the institution, thePell Grant could be cut.

If you receive a Pell Grant as a full-time student and drop out of school or fall under full-time enrollment, you may have to repay some or all of the Pell Grant.


Scholarships are similar to grants in that they are free money to help cover school expenses. The difference is that scholarships are generally based on merit, not need.

There are many types of undergraduate scholarships, with funding coming from a number of different sources.

Most colleges have scholarship funds that they award to students with particularly high GPAs or SAT scores. There are also various private scholarships offered by federal, state, and local organizations.

As a rule, scholarship funds do not have to be repaid after they have been paid out.

However,Since fellowships are often merit-based, they tend to have higher satisfactory progress requirements than fellowship continuation fellowships.

For example, a student may need to maintain a GPA of 3.4 or higher to receive scholarship funding.

Depending on where a student is in their academic career, a failing grade can bring them below this threshold.Therefore, to continue receiving scholarship funds, it is important to repeat failed courses and ensure that most credit hours are earned with “A” and “B” credit hours.


Loans are the least desirable type of financial aid because they have to be repaid in the end, despite the favorable conditions for students.

However, they may be needed when the student cannot obtain enough grants and scholarships to cover school expenses.

Student loans can come from federal or private sources like your bank or credit union.

The benefit of loans is that they generally have lower requirements to maintain funding.

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While private lenders want to be sure that you will eventually be able to repay the loan, there are federal programs that ensure that all students who want to continue their education have the funds at least up to their bachelor's degree. .

Although student loans are a good investment, if you have a plan for your career and know how you're going to pay them back, keep that in mindAgainit must be returned after school.

So if you're repeatedly failing a course that you're paying student loans for, you need to be aware that those costs continue to add up and go to waste, whether you graduate or not.

Eligibility for Financial Assistance

A single failed course is unlikely to affect your financial support for most undergraduate courses.

Most programs want to see progress towards a degree and will not cut funding until a low grade point average begins to appear.

However, with so many types of grants, scholarships, and loans available to students, there's no way to know how failing a course might affect your aid status without reading the fine print.

Some common scenarios are:

  • Help up to a certain credit:Some forms of financial assistance only pay for a set number of credit hours. If failing a class causes you to exceed this threshold, you may have to pay for a future class out of your own pocket.
  • Class Ranking Rules:Some career schools like to entice students with a freshman scholarship that is only renewed if they are in a certain GPA percentile after the first year. A failed class can be deadly in this scenario.
  • Exceptions for private scholarships:Some private scholarships, such as those awarded in memory of a former student or as part of a special interest program, can be of very high standards. Before accepting such a grant, understand all that it entails and consider whether it seems attainable to you.

What to do if you fail a class at Financial Aid College

Failing a class in college while receiving financial aid is far from ideal. A failed class shouldn't do too much damage to your help status, though.

For the best chance of keeping the money rolling, follow these steps:

Contact the financial aid program

The most important step to ensure that your financial support is not affected by a bad grade is also the simplest: Go for it!

The financial aid program you are enrolled in will be much more forgiving if they see that you take your bad grade and then your education seriously and are proactive in working to put you on the right track.

Contact your financial aid program as soon as possible to inform them of your failing grade.

If the writing is on the wall before the end of the semester, don't wait to tell your scholarship office or scholarship program about your non-stellar grade.

Instead, let them know ahead of time and consider how you can protect your funding by giving them as much information as possible about why the rating has gotten so low.

If you wait until the day before next semester and call and ask where your money is, your request will likely be met with much less leniency.

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Understand that the vast majority of financial aid programs exist to help students get their education.

They want to work with the students, not against them, to achieve this and understand that there will be some bumps along the way.

While simply acknowledging your academic struggles is by no means a way out of jail, showing your funding source that your financial aid monies are not being spent haphazardly can go a long way.

Appeal against the rating

Perhaps your financial aid program has a zero-tolerance policy for failing courses and isn't interested in your story about why your grade dropped so badly.

If that's the case, then it's time to do whatever you canget change of gradesto maintain its funding.

There are certain situations in which an appeal is likely.

Although many teachers include in their curricula that important exams and/or presentations cannot be made up for and must be completed on time,Students often have institutional or legal options when due dates are missed from:

  • Death of an immediate family member
  • big illness
  • debilitating injury
  • Institutionally sponsored athletic or extracurricular events

If the student can demonstrate that the failing grade is the direct result of conflicts arising from any of the circumstances listed above, the failing grades can sometimes be changed to exempt or incomplete.

Appeal to your teacher

The best place to appeal is with the professor..

If your extenuating circumstance is properly communicated, he or she may be willing to allow you to improve your grade without involving university law.

This can be in the form of additional credit points or even a grade increase if you are close to the next letter grade.

However whenEmail your professor at the end of the semesterFor a rating increase, be kind and understanding if they cannot increase your rating.

Unfortunately, some teachers just aren't willing to compromise or have strict guidelines for moving up a grade.

But if you turned in all your assignments on time, attended class, and attended office hours, your professor may be understanding enough to give you a little boost in your grade.

Appeal to the university

If the professor persists, the next step is to file a formal complaint with the university.

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Please read your school's website and manual carefully to understand how to file a winning appeal.

Make sure you're climbing the right ladder and have a valid reason why your rating should be changed.

Have your syllabus and all relevant materials ready to demonstrate that your failing grade was the result of an assessment error or misconduct.

Changing a rating is difficult but not impossible, so it's worth trying if your funding is at risk.

However, it is important to note that those students who fail a class due to excessive unexcused absenteeism, academic dishonesty, or a long history of poor academic performance are significantly less likely to win an appeal than those who can show they failed the grade has due to an extenuating circumstance or teacher error.

Retake the failed class

It is important that you know the renewal date of your financial aid as this may give you an opportunity to remove the failing grade from your file before a dispute arises.

For example, if your financial aid is renewed every fall, you may be able to retake and pass the course before your financial aid program reviews your transcript.

Some schools offersummer specialor winter sessions to help students who want to regain credits.

Often this is a shorter session, sometimes as little as three weeks.

These can be useful opportunities because, despite the density of these abbreviated terms, students have only just learned the material in a previous full-time course; this can help convert an “F” on your transcript into a passing grade.


Failing a college course while receiving financial aid is definitely stressful. However, if the right steps are taken, failing a course generally does not affect your grant status.

If you see an "F" on your transcript, immediately open a line of communication with your financial assistance program to let them know the situation and find out how to proceed.

If your funding seems at risk, you can contest the grade with your professor or through the university channels appropriate to you and your situation.

Finally, check your renewal dates for assistance to attempt to retake the course and replace the failed grade before your transcript is assessed.

I really hope this guide on what to do when you fail a class and receive financial aid helps you plan your next course of action for a successful college experience. Much luck!

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