Please help me out with a question. I am majoring in finance. I am
thinking about pursuing a double-major in finance and real estate. I
will have to take only 6 more classes than what I am supposed to take for
my finance major. Will my financial aid cover the extra classes?
— Jeffrey P.
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As noted in a previous Ask Kantro column,
What types of student aid are available for a second Bachelor's degree?
the Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
(FSEOG) and TEACH Grant are not available to students who have already
received a Bachelor's degree.
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Students are considered to have earned a Bachelor's degree if they
have completed all of the requirements for the degree, even if they
have not yet received the diploma.
In certain limited circumstances, students who are completing a
State-required post-baccalaureate teacher certification program are
still treated as though they were undergraduate students for federal
student aid purposes. These students are eligible for the Pell Grant
and the TEACH grant but not the FSEOG grant, and their Stafford loan
eligibility is restricted to the undergraduate loan limits.
Colleges have some discretion in deciding when a student has completed
a Bachelor's degree program. Some colleges have more flexible policies
than others, so it is worthwhile to ask the college for a copy of its
written policies concerning financial aid
eligibility for students who
are seeking a double-major.
Per the regulatory definition of undergraduate student
CFR 668.2, a Bachelor's degree program is normally expected to take
only four years. There are exceptions for certain majors that may take
as long as five years. But if the degree program normally lasts six
years (e.g., certain dual-degree programs that result in a graduate or
professional degree in addition to a Bachelor's degree), the student
is considered to be an undergraduate for only the first three or four
years of the program. So college financial aid policies are less
likely to be flexible about double-majors that take an extra year for
completion of the second degree.
The safest approach is for students who are double-majoring
to avoid completing the last requirement for either major until their
last semester of enrollment. That way the students can continue
receiving financial aid until they are ready to graduate with both
It is important to review all of the college's policies concerning
double-majors to make sure you are aware of all of the
requirements. For example, the college
might require students who are
double-majoring to have accumulated a minimum number of additional
credits beyond the requirements of the longer of the two majors. If
you miscalculate, you might complete the requirements for only one of
the two majors and have to take an additional class or two without
financial aid for the second degree. Retaining financial aid
eligibility for a double-major requires careful planning.