My School Said I Exceeded My Financial Aid Limit: What Can I Do?

Schools have to abide by specific policies regarding financial aid, including a few types of limits. If you have received a notification that you have exceeded the limit for financial aid, you need to immediately find out what limit you have exceeded so you can take steps to reinstate your aid or find alternative income to continue your education.

Make Appointment

Before panicking and worrying about what your options are, make an appointment with the financial aid office at your school. These people are there to help you understand and manage your financial aid package, so they are the best resources to contact first. Although it might seem like they are on the brink of ruining your life, they are just abiding by policies and are probably eager to help you in whatever way they can. If possible, bring a friend or family member with you to help you take notes and remember the details of the meeting.

Reinstate Eligibility

One way in which you can exceed a limit and affect your financial aid is if you have taken many classes but not enough of them have been for the purpose of progressing toward a degree. This is sometimes called exceeding the maximum credit limit for your program. In this situation, you will likely need to get a form from the financial aid office, meet with your academic adviser to discuss your progress toward your degree and get this individual's approval on your plan to complete the degree. Return the form to the financial aid office to become eligible for financial aid again.

Get Outside Loans

Another type of financial aid limit you can exceed is your aggregate loan limit. This number is the maximum amount of a specific type of loan you can borrow during your level in school. For example, undergraduate students can borrow no more than $2,300 in subsidized Stafford loans. If you have already borrowed the full amount, you must turn to other types of loans instead. You could get unsubsidized Stafford loans if you have not exceeded that limit as well. Another resource is private student loans, which are issued by banks and credit unions and do not generally have aggregate limits. However, be careful how much you borrow because you will have to repay it all eventually.

Work

If you truly have exceeded your limits for financial aid and cannot get your school to issue any more aid, one way to continue progress toward your degree is to find a job. You could cut back on your number of credits per semester to give you time to work enough to pay for those credits and your basic needs. Many schools offer on-campus employment at a reasonable hourly wage. These jobs can also give you valuable work experience, especially if you get a job with your academic department.

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