August 27, 2007

Is it too late to get Financial Aid?

Posted in Stafford Loans, The Financial Aid Process at 2:06 PM by Joe From Boston

It’s crunch time – classes start in a few days and you’re desparate for cash to pay for your (or your child’s) education.

Is it too late to get Federal financial aid?  Technically, no.  Funds can be dispersed even after classes begin.


Here’s what you want to do next year to save yourself the headache.

  1. Fill in the FAFSA as soon as you can.  Financial aid is awarded on a first come-first served basis, so you want to get yours in EARLY.  I would recommend doing it in January or early February.  DO NOT wait till tax day in April!
  2. When you get your aid package, if you’ve been awarded a Stafford Loan, then start planning.  School award letter are sent out in the spring, and you’ll want to act on it sooner rather than later.  Don’t forget, now is crunch time, when the schools are struggling to certify all the people at the last minute.  By applying earlier, you’re much more likely to get a timely certification from your school.
  3. For those of you not sure what I’m talking about in item #2, Stafford Loans have to be certified by the school, no matter what lender you use.  All lenders must submit a school certification request to your school.  The school then certifies that you have been awarded the Stafford Loan by them, and they specify the dollar amount to your lender.
  4. Remember, Stafford Loan is a type of loan, not a company!  If your school does not participate in the Direct Loan program (about 30% of schools do), then you can apply with any lender that offers a Stafford MPN (Master Promissory Note).


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  4. Maria Gutierrez said,

    Is it too late to get a loan?
    I applied for financial aid and i only accepted the grants, but now i need the money. Can i still accept the loans?? How long will it take for them to be disbursed?

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  7. JJovana said,

    I was out of country, and i would like to know if its too late now to apply for financial aid assitance ? its already july 19…and in our school fall semester starts August 23, 2010

  8. Harry said,

    Dear moniqueleonard,

    Is it too late for me to apply for Financial Aid? I just got a mail saying the last date for FAFSA is on June 1, 2010. I was out of the country that time. When I got it, it was too late. Is there a way to still apply for FAFSA? If so, how?


  9. Batty Wallace said,

    I’m trying to get into college for the summer semester. I have mad it all the way unto this point and now i find out that i have to appeal because I did not complete a course in 2oo7. the reason is that i completed the first semester with a B. I just did not start back up during the winter semester. I am a single mom trying to make a home for my kids. The school I am trying to get into would benefit me the most because they offer the online classes. How do I appeal this. I can’t afford to attend with out some form of assistance from the government at this time.

  10. Michael Tyler said,


    I received financial aid to pay for college which I believed to be with no out of pocket expense. I received my aid and successfully completed the first 4 quarters of school and now am in the first quarter of the new year. I began in January 09. I was recently advised that I used all my aid at once and will be required to pay $4,800.00 if I want to continue next quarter. Can someone please advise what I did wrong and what my options are. They said I would be eligible for further funding in January, but will that leave me needing to contribute to payments in order for me not to have a balance at the end again.

    Thank you for any and all information you can provide.

  11. Melissa Ramsey said,

    Hi, I was jnust wondering if you can tell me what happens to grant/student loan money that is split up for each quarter and part is offered to you in a quarter that you are to late to register for and did not plan to register then anyways? I am asking this because my bf is wanting to start school this spring and his financial aid letterr ( package) has money awarded to this winter quater and it is alrady to late to start classes for that quarter. Will he get that his next quarter too or what? I do not want to see him have to pay back money on a student loan where he did not even get to use part of it is why I am asking. Would he be able to use it for the summer instead? I go to the same college and know that whater is left after the take out your cost for classes they return back to you. I just did not know where the money goes if you dont go to school that quarter.


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  14. Mere said,


    I was recently denied financial aid due to SAP. I am going to be honest here… I totally completely screwed up. I have dropped/failed so many classes with the past few years. I never knew what I wanted to major in and I bounced around alot. I never had financial aid though, never thought I would need it. One of the semesters I dropped out of I do have legitimate reason for (I was hospitalized for a month) but the rest was just my own stupidity.

    I read the SAP policy and it says I can pay for myself (which now I can not afford) and bring myself back in compliance with SAP. The thing is it would take multiple semesters and I am already over the 90 credits allowed.

    So, will I ever be able to get aid? I have never had it before, so its not that it needs to be reinstated, I was just strait denied.


    • Hello Mere,

      Your case is very specific, and likely what your options are will vary greatly by school. I suggest you make an appointment with a financial aid officer at your school to discuss your various options.

      If you can’t work things out with your current school, you could transfer elsewhere, or take some classes at a local community college.

  15. Ilene said,

    I’m a freshmen at college now and never applied for FAFSA when I was a senior and I was gonna do it now but I didn’t know that the school year for this year was 2008-2009. Is there anyway I can still get financial aid for this year instead of for my sophmore?

    • Hi Ilene,

      Talk to your school’s Financial Aid office. They MAY still accept a FAFSA for the current school year, but they may not. You need the FAFSA for all federal loans such as the Stafford and the PLUS loans.

  16. Cuong said,

    I’m glad I stumbled onto this site. I have gotten financial aid but it doesn’t cover the cost of my tuition. I also have the stafford loans, sub and unsub. My current term charge is around 8k and i only have enough aid for around 5k. Is there anyway i can cover the difference without going to a private student loan? I had applied for the fafsa late (around april or may). My mom makes around 33k a year and has 4 kids and my dad who doesn’t work to support. Any advice would be great.

    Cuong Le

    • Cuong – have you talked to your school about a repayment plan? If you can pay in monthly installments and get a part-time job, you should be able to cover the last $3,000 easily.

      Next year – file earlier, and look long and hard for scholarships. They don’t have to be paid back!

  17. Alejandro said,

    There was a misunderstanding between my parents and I on who was filling out my financial aide packages. It is now July, and I just filled in my FAFSA , and I have to submit everything else.

    There is a bill for 18 thousand , I have recieved almost all my semesters paid in full by financial aide ( I come from a desperately poor family , 5 people only 45thousand dollars come in from my mom)

    I know I am very late, I want to know how bad of a situation I am in. Will I still be able to get grants from the fafsa and the school, i have little amounts of loans.

    I’m desperate.

    • Get your FAFSA in now! If you’re lucky there may be some aid left, but you’ll never know until you get your paperwork in.

      Use this as a good lesson, and make sure you get your paperwork in MUCH earlier next year.

  18. Shelli said,

    Hi, this site seems to be a wealth of information, so here goes. I am a 2007 graduate with a BS in education. Due to the economy and the lack of teaching jobs in Florida, I have decided to go back to school and try a different career. I have applied and done the FAFSA and financial aid stuff through the school. I DO have student loans that are coming due through Nelnet. They have been willing to work with the forebearance and deferrments before. I have not owed anything since last year and was due to begin paying them back this month. I lost my job-again-and have no way to pay them as of yet,hence the reason to try a different job market and go back to school. Am I still eligible for financial aid? Everything has processed so far so good, but I am afraid I will not be able to afford to go back if FA does not come through. Any suggestions, because personal loans are NOT an option to finance this time around because of credit issues. Thanks

    • Hi Shelli,

      Yes, if you are not in default you are still eligible for financial aid. Furthermore, once you are in-school full time you are eligible to have your older loans put on hold while attending school. This is a much simpler process with Federal financial aid (e.g. Stafford loans and GradPLUS loans) than private loans. Always go federal if you can!

  19. joy said,


    I attend a private school that has a policy of meeting 100 percent of demonstrated need for families making under 60,000 (My mother makes under 40K).

    I am about to go into my senior year, and have received full financial aid at my school for the past three years.

    I was a bit confused when I got a bill for the fall semester for 13,000 dollars. I contacted the financial aid office and found out they never received my CSS Profile so I had not been awarded anything. By this time it is already July!

    I quickly re-filled out the profile and sent it off. Now, I am concerned they have already given out all the aid money. Even though the financial aid office said we could work it out, I’m not sure they understand that I rely on FULL financial aid and a refund check to pay for living expenses.

    Do private schools have extra money they set aside, or am I out of luck?

    I have maintained an A average at a very challenging school and have worked very hard, now I am scared I will have to drop out.

    • Joy, each financial aid department is different, so I can’t tell you exactly what is going to happen. I suggest you call the financial aid department and make an appointment to talk to them – only they can answer your questions.

      Good luck!

  20. Hi Natalie – why don’t you call your student loan company and ask them? They’ll be able to tell you definitely, one way or the other, whereas I cannot.

  21. natalie said,

    hi my name is Natalie, I dropped out of uni in december and was wondering if i will still receive a student loan for jan.

  22. Hi Ben,

    You need to call your school’s financial aid office and ask them. With the due date so close, and the paperwork already in, this is a conversation you need to have with them.

  23. Ben said,

    Hi, i was recently accepted into a college for the winter semester which begins in 1 month from now but tuition payment is due on the 9th of Dec, which is only about 4 days from now. I filled out the app for financial aid and it should cover my cost but won’t arrive in time for me to make the payment. Is there anything I could do so I don’t have to drop my classes?

  24. Tina said,

    Hi Jasmine,

    How long is 30 semesters or 45 quarter hours? I am trying to figure out how many classes/hours that would be..

    Thank you

  25. Hi Jasmine,

    I suggest you call your school’s financial aid office. As I understand it, you’re going to apply to school in a year. So, call each school you’re applying to in order to verify, as each may have different policies. I think you’ll have to file the FAFSA this February (2008) in order to qualify, but check with the schools to be certain.

  26. jasmine Lopez said,

    Hi, I want to start at UCF on Spring (January ,2010)

    If i want to start January and I can ONLY apply after september 2009, when do i apply? is it too late to apply for financial Aid?

  27. I do not know if you are eligible for loans – your financial aid office will be able to tell you that. If you are below half time, then you are not eligible.

    Here’s what I would do in your shoes. Go to the financial aid office in person – make an appointment and go with all your documentation, including printouts of your online registration saying you were dropped for non payment. Show them exactly what’s going on and ask them for proof of payment that you can take to the registrar’s office.

    There appears to be a mis-communication and unfortunately you’re stuck int he middle.

  28. diana said,

    Last year I moved to Texas, and attended school there, I had to file an appeal for over 90 hours, at the time the school only offered a certificate for the program i was enrolled in, the spring of this year they offered an associates, I again appealed to be able to get the associate, I was again awarded, I received in the mail some postcards that said there was a problem, some sort of verification, i needed to bring in my taxes , I am on disability so i had to fill out a form that stated i had no income for the year, I submitted it july 11, 2008.
    I registered online for my classes, just by chance i looked at them the week before school started lo and behold, they were dropped for “non payment”
    while this is going on i am periodically calling the f/a office and being told everything is ok. – I went to the vocational rehab place and asked them to pay, they did, now we are over 3 weeks into school and nothing, I have yet to get award notification, will I still get assistance even though my bill was picked up by voc rehab, what recourse do i have? am I still eligible for loans? and what in your opinion is taking so long?

    thank you

  29. I believe GED students are treated the same as high school diploma students when it comes to financial aid. After all, the GED is considered equivalent when it comes to employment and college entry, isn’t it?

    You’ll still need to take the SAT/ACT like any high school student if you haven’t already.

    Actually, you may qualify for more scholarships because of your GED – there are many scholarships available only to GED students designed to get high school drop outs to continue their education later on. While this may or may not be your exact situation, please look closely into scholarship – you don’t pay them back and you may be pleasantly surprised to find out which ones you qualify for!

  30. Tina said,

    Thank you! Also, are GEDs able to apply for financial aid? Would they recieve approximately the amount as of high school graduates?

  31. Yes,. If you haven’t file the FAFSA for the 2008-2009 academic year, it is too late to get Federal financial aid, though you may be able to get scholarships.

    Next year, file the FAFASA AS SOON AS POSSIBLE – in January if you can, even if it’s not due till March or April (due dates vary by schools and states).

    Remember – financial aid is first-come-first-served, so get it done early!

  32. Tina said,

    I already started school and pay for the tuition. Is it too late to apply for fafsa financial aid to get reinburse?

  33. Eve –
    I’m not certain off the top of my head. You can try and look for scholarships she may qualify for. I’m not certain about whether she will qualify for Stafford Loans or not. She must be enrolled at least half time, and the definition of “half-time” varies by school.

  34. eve said,

    this is my daughter’s first year of college, she only has done 1 semester. When she started school she had a 2.2 GPA. But now she has a 0.2 GPA! My question is, is there any finincal aid that she would quailfy for to attend college? She will also be tested for a learning disability.

  35. Sheila,

    I can read your question 2 different ways so I’ll try to answer both. I’m assuming your daughter got a Stafford Loan.

    1) You cannot use a Stafford loan for one school at another school. She will have to apply next year for a new loan.

    2)If you mean can it pay off this year for the school she dropped out of, it depends on the terms of the loan. I would say “probably” – but really, you need to talk to the Financial Aid Office to find out for certain.

  36. Sheila Lewis said,

    My daughter has to drop out of University because of personal reasons. She will not get any of her credits. She received a student loan and wants to pay for the year with it. Is she still legally entitled to doing this? She has been accepted the following year to a Community College that will be cheaper. Please help.

  37. Hi Glynn,
    Your school may not have a policy to give extra money back to the student. Depending on the type of loan, they may not be allowed to. I believe with a private loan they can, but I don’t think they can with Stafford and PLUS loans as those are federal financial aid. I could be wrong, but I believe they just hold that money over till next semester.

    I should let you know that most money goes straight to the school and not to the student, as the money is earmarked for tuition and fees. We do that ourselves with our scholarship program – we give it straight to the school so the money doesn’t go astray.

  38. Glynn said,

    I was wondering how long schools can wait before doing the dispersing of financial aid funds. I started class a month and a half ago. I was hoping to get some of my award money before school started in order to pay for books, materials, things of that nature. I recieved a letter from the bank carrying my stafford loan letting me know that they had paid the school over 2 weeks ago. I also recieved some grant money that again went straight to the school. In doing the math there should be $2500 left over after tuition. I need this to pay myself back for supplies and to help out with room/board. My schools financial aid department seems to be really hard to get ahold of. How long can they hold on to the extra money? Doesn’t seem right since I’m the one paying interest on it. Thanks!


  39. Hi Gezaheng,

    I’m not certain what you’re asking, but it looks like you want to study in the US and possibly you’re a foreign national? In that case, I’d recommend looking at – it’s a great resource.

  40. Gezahegn Meseret Taye said,


  41. Yanely –
    Technically, it shouldn’t impact your future financial aid. As long as you fill out all the forms the school needs (don’t forget the FAFSA!!). Financial aid is used to fill the difference between college costs and your EFC or Expected Family Contribution, which is how much you and your family are expected to pay out of pocket for 1 year of university.

    If you’re worried, contact your financial aid office and ask them directly – they are your best source of information.

    Good luck!

  42. Yanely Gonzalez said,

    I am currently enrolled in college, and i’m thinking of dropping out due to some personal problems. So my question is, when I’m ready to go back to school, will i be able to qualify for financial aid, or loans, since i dropped out before?

  43. Hi Stacy,

    Your situation is so complicated, I can only recommend what I would do in your shoes.

    1) Visit your financial aid office in person if possible. Make an appointment and bring any documentation you have. I know you’re frustrated with them, but they’re the only people who can clarify your situation. Keep your cool – remember it’s not the fault of the person you’re talking to; getting angry will only make things worse.

    You need their help to get the correct information to your school’s administration.

    2) Call your loan company directly and get yourself back on a repayment schedule. That theoretically will release your transcripts.

    Good luck!

  44. Stacy said,

    Hi. I am in a difficult financial aid situation. This will be a lengthy write up and apologize ahead of time for it. I am 27 yrs old, and last attended college when I was 22, in the Spring of 2002. I graduated with my AA straight out of high school as I did Running Start. I transferred to a state college in and began pursuing my education in Psychology and Philosophy. I was a single mom through all of this, and managed a 3.4 GPA all the way. In the winter of 2001 I began having issues with juggling school, motherhood, life, all these things that I had just always been able to ‘handle’ before. I completed Winter of 2001 fine. In Spring of 2002 I was really being weighed down by all of my responsibilities. I was only 3 credits and a Thesis away from my Philosophy degree and 25 credits away from my Psychology degree. My mom took my daughter for about 2 weeks while I tried to get myself back together, but I was still having a hard time, but attending most classes. On 4/25/2002 (about the 6th week into school for the quarter) I witnessed and retrieve my friends 18 month old son from a river we were spending the day at, and he drowned. I was so traumatized of course, and for a number of days was unable to even do basic necesseties to maintain myself. I however eventually made my way back into the financial aid office to discuss my situation and I submitted a letter explaining my situation (as well as I could at the time) and why I could not go to school thte rest of that quarter. I was VERY psychologically traumatized and was not in my most capable state by any means. I thought I had done what I needed to do to resolve this area of my life, even though at the time it was the least of my worries. Well, come to find out, the financial aid office never shared this information with registrar and the considered me a failing student this quarter. My financial aid was pulled, leaving me with a $4500 debt to the school (rent, fees, tuition and books as well as financial aid repayment). I am also not eligible for financial aid because I have a perkins in ‘over payment’. I cannot get new financial aid, I cannot retrieve my transcripts, and I cannot attend that institution until I repay the $4500. I now have 5 kids, am married and my husband is attending the same institution. I would LOVE to be able to get back into school and finish my last year. I have a variety of questions. Is there not some sort of petition process that I could engage in that help me to get that HW (hardship withdrawl) to clear up these F’s, my debt and clear my financial aid? If not, if I pay this debt off, they want me tio petition for financial aid reinstatement, how likely is it that this process would get me eligible for financial aid? Also, I have attended for 5 years exactly (including my 2 years at Running Start). I was informed that there is a max of 6 years available to complete first BA degree. Why does my Running Start count toward this sum when I did not receive financial aid then? IS there any extensions/exceptions to this rule? Any advice/input? Thank you in advance for your answer.

  45. Hi Dave,

    There are options – possibly several depending on what you mean by “financial aid didn’t go through”.

    If she’s filled out the FAFSA form, and her school awarded her a Stafford Loan but it didn’t get certified for some reason, she needs to call the school NOW. She is technically still eligible for the money and can probably re-apply, but she’ll want to talk to a Financial Aid Officer to confirm this. Stafford Loans have the lowest interest rates in financial aid.

    If she’s got the FAFSA and she’s a grad student and her credit is half-way decent, she can apply for a GradPLUS loan. You can apply for these at anytime of the year. They are credit based, but have low, federally-regulated interest rates.

    If she’s filled out the FAFSA and her parents are helping her, her parents can apply for a PLUS loan. If her parents are not helping her or get denied, she should talk to a Financial Aid Officer – she may be eligible for a higher Stafford Loan, but she’ll have to document her situation.

    Private loans may also be an option, but they should be your last resort as they’re credit based and have higher interest rates and poor repayment options.

    Has she applied for scholarships and grants? Visit for a large listing of scholarships. Good luck!

  46. Dave said,

    Is there a way to get aid for money that is still owed to the college? My girlfriend went through a semester of school thinking she had financial aid but recently found out that her aid never went through and now has a rather large bill to pay. Is there anything she could apply for to help reduce the debt?

  47. Hi Angie,

    Your question is a little hard to answer because it varies by type of loan and even by status. For example, Stafford Loans (the best option for most students) are normally dispersed right around when classes start, but it is really up to the school – the lender can’t disperse the loan until the school certifies it. Also, lenders are not allowed to disperse loans for Freshmen until October due to federal law, I believe – in the meantime your account would have a credit saying the school certified your loan.

    Private loans can either be dispersed to you or to the school, depending on the type, but these have a much higher interest rate and less flexibility should you be in financial trouble in the future – they should be your last choice, not your first.

    As for the school sending you a check – some do that, if your account is overpaid, but some do not. They hold the credit and apply it to your next year. You’ll want to call your financial aid office to ask them about their policies.

    Good luck going back to school! If you’re interested in scholarships, please visit and – both are free services.

  48. angie said,

    I am currently trying to go back to school. i am 35 yo and i was wondering about student loan dispersment. if i enroll now(jan.) for fall, when will the money for my expenses be dispersed and when will i get the remainder of the check after my tuition is paid? thanks, angie

  49. M.Zeeshan said,

    Dear Presents,

    I’m a student. I want to carryon my study but some bad circumstances I cann’t get any chance to make success my life. Please if someone have simpathy so give me attention.


  50. Hi Ramona,

    You have a few avenues you can explore.
    1) File an appeal with your financial aid office. You need to be able to document your hardship and how your financial status has changed. The Financial Aid Office is not the enemy, and not all aid is reserved for single moms. But you do need to prove why you need the help. Remember, everyone is trying to convince them to give out more money. You need to document your case.

    2)Go to school part time. Many schools have evening classes that can be taken over several years to earn a degree, instead of the traditional 4-year undergrad or 2-year masters. They take longer, but cost a LOT less per year.

    3)Find a cheaper school. It’s harsh, but it is an option. Do you have to stay at the school you’re thinking of going to? Is there a state school or community college that is cheaper? Are you looking at a for-profit school like the University of Phoenix? For-profit schools may be convenient for distance learning, but there are cheaper options available

    4)Take out more loans. You definitely don’t want to hear this, I know, but it is a possibility.

    Good luck!

  51. Ramonna Hunter said,

    Hi, I am glad I found this. I am a recent widow and I am trying to go back to school. I filled out the FAFSA and was turned down because of my income. I work full time and have all the bills my husband and I had wothout his income. I am bearly able to eat and am told that I make to much money & I will never get help because single moms need it worse than I do. I can not get the school I go to to help me. What can I do, I have to work or lose my home and everything my husband and I worked so hard for, we have good credit and I don’t want to lose that but I fill like I will have to give everything up just to ge some help. Do you have any advice for me?

  52. I’m sorry Jean, but I can’t help you. I have no knowledge in how to raise money for a car. My expertise lies in the Financial Aid field.

  53. jean m denis said,

    I’m indifficult economic situation now,my car is falling could i get money to buy acar?

  54. Hi Jamal,

    Try – it’s a great site. I know the owners and they’re constantly striving to bring you the best information.

    Good luck!

  55. jamal said,

    hi i just wanted to say i have not seen any way a student from other country/continent can get any financial help or a scholarship for that matter

  56. Tiffany – call you financial aid office right NOW. THey are the only ones who can answer that question. Most importantly, they can tell you whether they certified your loans (all federal loans must be “certified” – approved – by your school).

  57. Tiffany said,

    Hi I am a currently a senir in high school and I applied for financial aid early when do I find out that everything went through?
    I live with neither parents the only help I get is from my grandma which is the little that she have so will that cover everything?

  58. Hi Renee,

    To get federal financial aid from th US Government (such as Stafford loans) you must be enrolled at least half time. For most schools, that means 12 or more credits. You also must maintain a passing GPA.

    What you need to do is talk to your adviser and your financial aid counselor. Each school has different policies, but ALL schools want their students to graduate, even if it takes a little longer than the usual 4 years.

    Your adviser will help you map out a course schedule that you can achieve, and your financial aid officer will help you determine how to pay for it. College kids don’t want to go to the school for help, but trust me when I say that it’s in your best interest to do so.

  59. Renee said,

    I loss my fanancial aid because I drop classes to keep from failing them. which made my GPA to low for financial aid. I’ve been informed that I would have to pay for my next classes, but I don’t have the money. will I ever be able to get financial aid again without paying for the classes. I have been out for 1yr. thanks Renee

  60. Paulina said,

    You are right. Students who do these things early are likely to find more aid–especially since some FAFSA award letter funding is based on availability. Students who are a bit late still have options. Scholarships can be found all year long. There are constant deadlines for scholarships, grants and fellowships, some of which are government awarded. Those who are adamantly opposed to any sort of work may also look into lottery scholarships. These may be more competitive, and students should look around to make sure they are legit. A large amount of resources for scholarships,grants, fellowships and loans can be found at Students may conduct a scholarship search, find helpful articles at the sections, and search for additional info, including the latest financial aid news, at the newly created blog ( Good luck.

  61. […] Original post by moniqueleonard […]

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