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The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Some Seniors Surprised Over Sudden Federal Financial Aid Cut-Off

Loyola University Maryland Website

Some seniors at the beginning of this spring semester lost access to their federal financial aid due to a federal regulation they were unaware of.

Tim Schluth ‘24 reached out to Loyola’s Financial Aid Office after learning that he lost his aid for the spring semester. Between them and the Academic Advising and Support Center, he was able to better grasp the situation.

Schluth said, “The problem was that I only needed three classes to graduate, whereas the federal government would be willing to provide aid if you’re taking four or more. So, that’s just their policy, I don’t think it has anything to do with Loyola and they just have to enforce that.”

Schluth was actually taking four classes at the time, but since one of them was not needed for him to graduate, the federal government did not count it towards the 12 credits they require students to take to receive financial aid.

Diane Roche, assistant director at the Financial Aid Office, said it was very important to distinguish between federal financial aid and financial aid directly from Loyola as different rules apply. 

Roche said, “If a student is taking 12 credits, but not all of them apply to their degree, they’ll be able to keep their Loyola institutional aid, but their federal aid may be reduced or eliminated. If a student is taking 11 or fewer credits, they will lose their Loyola aid and their federal aid may be reduced or eliminated.”

She said it is not Loyola’s rule, but it is their responsibility to enforce the federal regulation. She also mentioned that their office communicated this and other rules that applied to financial aid at the beginning of every semester, and that students often miss or skim these emails. In an attempt to combat this, they have added an “Enrolled Credits Tab” to the Financial Aid Self-Service website that allows students to monitor their enrollment and be alerted if their aid was at risk.

Abby Benner’s ‘24 case was slightly different from Schluth’s, as she had more than 12 credits of required courses this semester, but due to high school AP classes she went over 120 credits and was therefore disqualified for federal aid. At first, she didn’t really understand what was happening, until one of her professors pointed out the problem.

Benner said, “I got a notification email saying something had changed, and at first I thought it was just my funding and loans being weird, because I then had a balance of something I had to pay which wasn’t like that two weeks before, and then my professor told me that something happened.”

However, she was able to work with the Loyola Financial Aid Office and her advisor in order to resolve the problem. She achieved this by dropping the credits from one of her AP courses from high school, so she would meet the 12 credit minimum and have her aid reinstated.

Benner said, “My advisor was very helpful, I went to financial aid first obviously and they sent me to the advisor. He said he learned about the issue that day because other students were having the same problem. He was in the dark about it but he was super helpful about pointing me to the right people.”

According to Roche, holdover AP courses were the main cause of students losing federal aid, as it often led to students going over 120 credits. Roche emphasized how important it is for students to work with their advisors and Academic Services to plot out their senior year, and ensure that they do not register for too few classes.

Schluth had a final word of wisdom for upcoming seniors, “If I had one message for students it’d just be, especially if you have federal loans or federal work study, to be careful planning your senior year. Especially your final semester when you’re getting closer to completing your degree. If you would like to keep [financial aid] it’s helpful to ensure that you have at least four classes and are a full time student.”

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