My son has brain damage along with seizures and a reading learning
disability. With all the doctors appointments, hospital stays and seizures
he is on academic probation this semester. So that means, well you
know what that means, he will not be allowed to apply for FAFSA this
semester. My question to you all is how can I afford to pay for his
college semester this time without the FAFSA? Is there any financial
help out there for him?
— Linda C.
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Students who fail to maintain satisfactory academic progress
(meaning at least a 2.0 GPA at the end of the second year) lose
eligibility for federal student aid including both grants and
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The regulations at 34 CFR 668.34(c), however, allow colleges to find
that the student is still making satisfactory academic progress if the
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other special circumstances. You should contact the school to ask
about their appeals process. Be polite, as they are not required to
grant an appeal.
You should also ask the college about any accommodations they can make
for your son's disability. Reasonable accommodations do not include
treating half-time enrollment as though it were full-time
enrollment. But perhaps they can provide your son with a tutor to help
him improve his reading ability.
If the college does not demonstrate any flexibility, your son should
consider transferring to Landmark
. Landmark College specializes in providing a college
education to students with learning disabilities and ADHD. They will be
more understanding of the difficulties your son is experiencing.
Unfortunately, Landmark College is also one of the more expensive
colleges in the country.
I am 24 and I have previously taken out loans as a dependent
student. I married this year and wonder if my eligibility changes
since I would now be considered an independent student. I have
completed an associate's degree at a community college and have
approximately three semesters until I earn enough credits for my
bachelor's degree. What is the maximum amount I can get from either
subsidized or unsubsidized federal loans?
— Twyla G.
You are independent because you are age 24 and because you are
married. Either is sufficient for you to be considered an independent
student. (Note that the FAFSA cannot be updated for changes in an
applicant's marital status. So if you were under age 24 and got
filing the FAFSA you would still be considered
a dependent student.)
Independent students are eligible for higher annual loan limits on the
unsubsidized Stafford loan. An independent student qualifies for an
additional $4,000 a year during the freshman and sophomore years and
an additional $5,000 a year during the junior and senior years. This
means that the unsubsidized Stafford loan limits for an independent
student are $9,500 during the freshman year, $10,500 during the
sophomore year, $12,500 during the junior year and $12,500 during the
senior year. Aggregate loan limits are also higher. You can borrow a
total of $57,500 in unsubsidized Stafford loans as an independent
student instead of the $31,000 aggregate limit for dependent students.
The subsidized Stafford loan limits remain unchanged. Freshmen can
borrow $3,500 in subsidized Stafford loans, sophomores can
borrow $4,500, juniors can borrow $5,500 and seniors can borrow
$5,500. The aggregate loan limit for subsidized Stafford loans is
$23,000. Any amounts received as subsidized Stafford loans are
subtracted from the loan limits for unsubsidized Stafford loans.
Since you are an independent student your parents will no
longer be eligible to borrow from the Parent PLUS loan program on your