Academic attendance is just one of the the many things to keep in mind when applying for student loans and is one of the basic application requirements. While it may seem obvious, Academic Attendance is the first requirement to applying for a student loan. In some cases, this is so but some universities and even colleges within the university may have different academic attendance requirements that can affect student loans. It is the responsibility of the student to know what the attendance requirements are and the best way to find out is to ask the university student loan office.
With the cost of college tuition steadily increasing each year, most university students seek loans. The most common student loans are handled through FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). The information included here relates to such federally-backed student loans. To be clear, the United States government does not do the lending. Rather, the loans are backed by and administered by the U.S. Department of Education. As with any government backed program, there are requirements for approval and requirements which must be maintained throughout the term of the loans. One of these is academic attendance.
What Are the Academic Attendance Requirements for Federal Student Loans?
The basic requirements for Federal Student Aid is that the requester must be accepted for enrollment or currently be enrolled as a “regular student” in an approved degree program. This means that the loan enrollee must be at minimum a half-time student. However, each university may have its own academic requirements which must be met to maintain approval of the student loan. This can create some confusion, especially given the vague terms ‘regular’ and ‘half-time.’
For purposes of the student loan application, a regular student can be enrolled half-time but most universities distinguish between the two such that a regular student is one thing and a half-time student is another. Generally, most colleges consider a regular student to be a full-time student, one who is taking between 12 and 14 credit hours per semester. A half-time student is anything under 12 hours.
Under federal guidelines, a student taking less than 12 credit hours per month is eligible for student loans but only if the academic requirements of the attended university permits the reduced workload. Some do not.
For instance, one student took out loans for a semester at a University and enrolled in 14 hours of classes. After a few weeks, he decided that he needed to drop a class. The class he dropped comprised three credit hours. This lowered his academic attendance to 11 hours for the semester and he was removed from regular student status at the university. At that point, he became responsible for the loans. He contacted the lender and made payment arrangements so that he remained eligible for student aid. The following semester, he enrolled for 12 hours and the payments were deferred. This shows that although federal guidelines allow for less than full-time status to be considered a regular student, the university may have stricter guidelines.
This being the case, each university also has requirements related to the total days present in classes. Such attendance requirements vary from college to college so students should check with their student advisor or financial aid office to learn more. Failing to attend classes can also result in the loss of federal student aid.
University Academic Attendance Requirements Can Hinder or Halt Student Financial Aid
The bottom line is that most students enter college with the understanding that Federal Student Aid guidelines are the requirements which they must meet. In some cases, this is so but some universities and even colleges within the university may have different academic attendance requirements that can affect student loans. It is the responsibility of the student to know what the attendance requirements are and the best way to find out is to ask the university student loan office.