Are There GPA Requirements To Get Financial Aid?

Are there any GPA requirements to get financial aid for your college education? In this article you will learn more about the GPA requirements you need to maintain to qualify for a financial aid.

Updated by Anchal S on 17th October 2020

In the present scenario, the college admission process has become more complex. So if you are unaware of the financial aid system, there is no harm. There are many ways you can request financial assistance such as student loans, grants, College scholarships, work-study loans, etc.

If you ask us if there are GPA requirements to get financial aid, We would say Yes. To get a Need-based scholarship, there is no minimum GPA requirement but for merit-based scholarships, you need to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.5 or above.

In this article, we will elaborate on GPA requirements and the ways your GPA can help you get financial aid. So, let’s get started!

In What Ways Merit & Need-Based Financial Aids Differ?

As previously mentioned, there are several ways in which a student can seek financial assistance. They are broadly categorized as merit awards and need-based financial aid.

Difference between Merit-based scholarship and Need-based scholarship

Reading the infographic you can see, the major difference between the two is that merit-based financial aid is awarded as a result of your excellent academic or extracurricular performance.

Whereas, need-based financial aid is given based on the financial situation of the student. 

That being said, you can seek need-based financial aid in the following two ways,

  • Grants (money that need not be returned)

  • Self-help aid (student loans, work-study loans)

As far as merit scholarships are concerned, they are awarded either by the college itself or outside institutions. To seek academic scholarships, a student is expected to excel either academically or be the best in any of the extracurricular activities. 

However, if you are seeking a merit scholarship, then you should know, it requires to maintain a minimum GPA throughout. Besides, by requesting merit-based financial aid, you are more likely to restrict need-based financial aid. 

Below listed are examples of some scholarships that either demand merit or academic eligibility criteria.

Merit And Academic Scholarships
ABA Academic Scholarship Curtis Institute Of Music/Tuition Scholarship
Aerosmith Scholarship CSAC Cal Grants
Alliance Pipeline Scholarship Niagara University Grants
Bioworks/IPM & Sustainable Practice Scholarships SAPA Scholarship

To learn more about these scholarships, checkout Merit and Academic scholarships.

Minimum GPA Requirement To Get Financial Aid

Need-based scholarships do not ask for a minimum GPA requirement. But merit awards demand a minimum of 3.5 GPA. In addition to that SAT score of range 1450-1600 and ACT score of 32-36 is required respectively. Sometimes colleges do not mention the GPA requirement to provide merit scholarships. But, that does not mean they do not consider it. It is always advisable to score a high GPA if you are planning to seek merit scholarships.

Sometimes it can get overwhelming to study under the pressure of scoring a high GPA, in order to continue getting financial aid. Nevertheless, maintaining a GPA is not that big a task, all you have to do is self-analyze and check out ways to improve your GPA.

How To Continue Receiving Financial Aid?

Always remember to maintain a good GPA, a high GPA in fact, to continue receiving financial aid. It is not a one time affair while filling out the FAFSA form for the first time. 

Federal Standards To Maintain Eligibility

There are certain federal standards that students are expected to stay persistent to remain eligible for the financial aid award.

Qualitative Federal Standards: A student is required to maintain a minimum of 3 GPA throughout the academic year. 

Quantitative Federal Standards: As a part of the quantitative federal standard, you are required to maintain or complete the required minimum of 67 percent of total credit hours. 

Also, you are required to maintain Satisfactory academic progress (SAP). This means, maintaining good grades, completing required coursework that is extra credit hours, and successfully finishing your study program in time. The minimum GPA requirements may differ from colleges to colleges. Most of the state colleges do not require as high a GPA as the private colleges require. Besides, the GPA requirement under need-based financial aid is normally a 2.0-4.0 GPA.  To learn more about maintaining eligibility requirements, checkout staying eligible | Federal student aid.

What More?

How much ever, you try to move as per the plan, there are chances for something to go otherwise. So, let’s see what happens if you are not able to meet the minimum requirement. And learn more about it.

What if I’m unable to maintain a minimum GPA requirement? 

If you fall short of grades in your first semester, you will be given a warning without discontinuing your financial aid. If you fail to regain your GPA in the next semester, you will get suspended. However, you can appeal and request for financial aid probation. If you are put on financial aid probation you will have to meet the GPA requirements that are set to continue getting the financial aid, else it will terminate.

The same process repeats if you withdraw from a course or even if you fail to meet the required credit hour.