Ever since your earliest years in grade school, you’ve been taught that your number one concern in school is achieving high grades. Students everywhere work their hardest to get top marks from preschool to college, and it is in college that the concern for good grades takes on more significant importance. When a slipping GPA could cause you to lose your financial aid, there is no room for error. Education is expensive, and many students wouldn’t be able to go on without aid. But how can a low GPA truly affect your financial aid?
In general, there are two kinds of financial aid. Some kinds of financial aid are need based, while others are merit based. Certain special cases may combine these two types of aid into a scholarship, but in general they are kept separate. Need based aid includes the federal government aid for which students apply every year through FAFSA. These funds are allocated to students based on their financial situations. Merit based aid is typically offered by schools and other non-government institutions to help exceptionally talented students finance their education.
If your GPA begins to slip, merit based financial aid is typically the first thing that will go. Students who are given scholarships based on academic performance need to keep that performance high in order to keep receiving funds from scholarship providers. If your grades start to slip, you can expect your merit based financial aid to be revoked. Academic scholarships are given to top performers, and yours will go to another hard-working student if you begin to neglect your studies.
Need based financial aid doesn’t work the same way. This kind of aid is disbursed with very little consideration for your GPA, and federal aid packages, for example, are allocated based almost entirely on your financial situation. However, this does not mean that a falling GPA will not affect your need based financial aid. Schools typically require a GPA verification alongside each student’s FAFSA application, and an aid package may not be honored if your GPA is below the school’s threshold level.
The difference between need based and merit based aid with regards to your GPA is one of immediacy. For example, if you are awarded a scholarship that requires a 3.7 minimum GPA, your funding could be immediately ceased if you drop to 3.6 or 3.5 in a semester. Plenty of other students are vying for the same scholarship, and top performers will be given priority. Such a small slip, however, will likely have little to no effect on need based aid. While a drastic drop in GPA may cause you to lose your federal aid benefits, small slips are typically not much of a legitimate cause for worry.
Always strive for top marks in college; it will affect you now and well into the future. A strong GPA coupled with an online communications degree can lead to many opportunities, while weak academic performance can hurt you. In the present, the risk of losing financial aid should be enough to convince you that grades are a serious matter. Always make your studies the number one priority, and strive for greatness in all facets of your education.