When you ask a question to a financial aid administrator, what is the usual answer? “Well, that depends.” This is a common joke among the financial aid community, but there is a lot of truth in it. Your financial aid depends on many factors, which include: day or evening program, number of credits, academic status, grade level, and satisfactory academic progress. On top of all that, all of these are subject to state and federal regulations.
The regulations are what really make financial aid so difficult. Financial aid rules change every year, which means staying current on the rules is nearly a job by itself.
The government is so tough on financial aid because they want to keep track of tax payer dollars. The Pell Grants and Direct Stafford Loans come from the pockets of everyone in the form of our tax dollars.
Since there are so many factors that must be considered in financial aid, things take a little bit of time to make sure there are no rules being broken. In life, we must get used to change. Unfortunately for you the student, financial aid can change as often as your socks.
(Originally published in the Metro Business College Arnold Newsletter - April 2011)