Can I Receive Financial Aid as a Transfer Student?


Obtaining a degree can be an expensive pursuit for just about anyone. Some students choose to start at a community college and then transfer over to a college or university in order to save some money. There are many other ways for transfer students to receive financial aid, from private scholarships to government grants.

Accessing Grants, Scholarships and Other Types of Financial Aid

In most cases, new and transfer students are automatically considered for different types of financial aid, like scholarships, when they apply to a school. As long as you meet the admission deadline of the college or university you apply to, you will meet any financial aid deadlines as well. Students can also receive financial aid by reaching out to the department of their major and different campus organizations for scholarship opportunities. In fact, there are also many private scholarship resources out there for transfer students, and the applications are usually available in early Spring.

There are many different types of Scholarships available, including:

  1. Need Based Scholarships - for those with disabilities or other needs
  2. Merit Scholarships - based on GPA/ACT scores
  3. Private Scholarships - from businesses, organizations, or individuals

While some scholarships or grants have specific cutoffs for applicants, the requirements may vary from year to year. It all depends on the amount of funding available, and the quality and size of the applicant pool. Always apply for a scholarship or grant if you are eligible, as you never know what might happen.

Transfer Aid

Make sure to explore all the grants and scholarships available.

College or university is a huge investment for anyone. Many people can't afford to go directly into college because the cost of tuition is too high. However, many students are starting their college careers at a community college in an attempt to save money, with the intent to later transfer to a college or university to get a bachelor's degree. The fees and tuition at community college are usually much lower for those who want to stay at home with their parents.

Most undergraduate students have borrowed money at some point in time, regardless of where they started school. In fact, one-third of all college students have transferred from one college or university to another. There are a few things transfer students should take into consideration to make the transition as smooth as possible. When choosing a school to transfer to make sure that you ask these key questions when you talk to an academic advisor:

  1. Will your credits transfer?
  2. Can they do a degree audit?
  3. When will your expected graduation date be?
  4. Will there be any additional costs of transferring, like fees, tuition, or other expenses?
  5. Will any additional coursework be needed to complete the degree?
  6. What types of financial aid is available at that particular school, like scholarships or grants for transfer students?

Transfer students should also look outside the college or university they are applying to for financial aid, like the place their parents work or different private businesses or organizations in the area.

What Types Of Financial Aid Are Transfer Students Eligible For?

There are many types of financial aid available for transferring students.

In general, there are many different types of financial aid available for transfer students, including:

  1. All students can submit documents for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA.
  2. Transfer students may apply for all grants, scholarships and other aid available to students.
  3. Work study is another option; students can get a job on-campus to assist with educational costs.
  4. Scholarships you are currently receiving can be transferred over to your new school.
  5. All types of financial aid you received from a community college, university, or college may transfer to your new school.

Transfer students should also look online for additional financial aid resources that will connect them to resources quickly and easily.

How To Stay Eligible For Financial Aid

After you have received your loan, grant or work-study funds to assist you with college payments, you must ensure you stay eligible all year long and in the future. This means students must:

  1. Make academic progress that is satisfactory
  2. Continue to meet or exceed basic eligibility criteria
  3. Fill out and submit any financial aid documents each year

Maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress

If you meet academic standards, a world of financial opportunities open up for you.

Students should check with the college or university they are attending for the academic progress policy, to determine if their progress is satisfactory. The school policy will cover many things, including:

  1. The minimum grade-point average students need to maintain
  2. How fast students should be progressing to graduation
  3. How a withdrawal, incomplete class, repeated class, transfer of credits, or change of major impacts academic progress
  4. What happens if you fail to meet satisfactory requirements
  5. How your progress will be evaluated
  6. Appeal processes and how to regain eligibility if lost

Even if you maintain satisfactory academic progress, not all funding sources are available every single year. Different types of financial aid rely on private donors or the decisions of educational institutions to keep funding for different scholarships and grants.

By Kyle Aken
November 2016
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