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Financial Aid and Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

  1. Mar 27, 2010 #1
    I am in a rather unusual situation. Many years ago, I took a lot of classes at community colleges (I live in the US) without regard to those pesky things called "grades," and I generally had a don't-give-a-crap sort of attitude about things. Well, now that I've been away from college for a while doing other things (like maturing), I've gone back to (community) college and I'm now getting a 4.0 (on a 4 point scale) and I'm in Phi Theta Kappa.

    My problem is that I have such a huge amount of attempted hours that I likely will not qualify for federal financial aid (Pell Grants, Perkins Loans, etc) at my nearby preferred universities because of SAP issues (In a nutshell, once you have a certain amount of attempted hours and no degree you are simply no longer eligible for federal aid).

    I know that different colleges have different ways of calculating things and different policies for merit based (non federal) scholarships and such, so I am looking for colleges that have favorable policies in this regard. I am also very interested in hearing from people who have had jobs within colleges working with these sort of issues. Is there anyone that has been in a similar situation?

    I am not, however, interested in hearing about how big of an idiot I was in my youth. I already know this.

    I am interested in colleges that have reasonable programs in subjects such as physics or engineering physics, or perhaps bioengineering or electrical engineering or something reasonably related to one or more of these. I am open to non-US institutions as well if I can do it cheaply.

    Thanks.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 27, 2010 #2
    The maximum number of credit hours you can attempt using financial aid for a degree is 150% of the degree's requirements. That is for all schools in the United States. At a community college, that's 90 credits (different for schools that use the quarter system) and at a 4 year uni it's 180 credits. If you are still in C.C. and have almost reached the 90 limit and haven't earned your A.A., you can transfer to a uni and finish there and hopefully make it under the 180 limit.

    If you are in a 4-year uni right now and are reaching the 180 limit then what I would do is check out scholarships at your school's or a prospective school's website. I would not trust those random scholarship search engines out there. Each school will have a scholarship list at their financial aid website, it just will take some digging since each school organizes their sites differently.

    My suggestion is to look for schools that you want to go to first, and check start applying for scholarships that they offer. I'm afraid I cannot help you in regard to finding a good school with a program you are looking for, unless it's in Florida. I just hope my financial aid knowledge has helped you. I am in a similar situation as you and have worked for financial aid for a university, so let me know if you have any other questions.
     
  4. Mar 27, 2010 #3
    Yes, I know about the 150% thing. I am already close to 180 attempted hours due to the ridiculous amount of classes that I have half-assedly taken in the past. It is only through an administrative quirk at my current CC that I am currently able to get financial aid. Years ago, when I was racking up my pointless classes, I didn't use financial aid, so I was unaware of these things at the time.

    I am looking for scholarships at other schools (and schools with policies that don't count ALL past attempted hours when calculating SAP), but there are a great many schools out there. I was hoping to find people who could point me in useful directions.

    I would be happy to hear about programs in Florida, or anywhere else.
     
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