BY ALANA DOWNER
Planning on transferring schools? Whatever the reason for switching, there are a number of considerations you must attend to before you make the jump. Some people transfer academic programs thinking everything will get a lot easier. The idea of a better scenario can over shadow the ‘annoying’ aspects of transferring schools.
All students need to think about their student loans. Unlike credits, which can be carried across to a new educational institution, student loans cannot be transferred as easily, sometimes not at all. Due to this, students considering transferring must ensure their education can be funded at their new school. Furthermore, the transferring students need to take care of what they have already borrowed.
Can I transfer aid?
Student financial aid does not transfer directly between colleges. If you transfer, a new college will recalculate your eligibility from scratch based on the information on your FAFSA and the financial aid application. You can find certain types of government aid that are portable, while campus-based aid is not. Furthermore, money awarded by the college itself will not transfer, understandably.
It’s recommended that you keep your current college informed throughout this process, make sure they know your intent to change. In the worst-case scenario, you could end up owing money to your college due to return policy.
Resubmit Your FAFSA
Your Free Application for Federal Student Aid will have to be resubmitted to your new school. Transfer in the same year and you don’t have to redo the application, each year has its own FAFSA. You can resubmit the form you have already completed to your new school.
If you do resubmit the same application, your financial aid will likely be the very similar. You should also have no surprises when it comes to expected family contribution.
Expected family contribution is the minimum your school expects you to pay for one year of a child’s college. It will be expressed as a dollar figure and is calculated based on factors like family income, assets, number of people in a household and home equity.
Will I get the same amount?
The college you have chosen may award you the same financial aid as your current college, that does not mean the amounts will be the same. Your new award could potentially be less than your previous. There are several reasons this could occur.
Your new school may award you less institutional aid. This will depend on the financial situations of yourself and the school. If you’re moving to a smaller institution, chances are they simply have less money to give out. Also, campus-based aid is typically a first in, first served basis, meaning you will probably miss out. So, the time at which you transfer, the aid is no longer available.
You may also qualify for less financial aid if you transfer mid-year, compared to returning or first time students. Usually, monetary aid is received on a proportional basis until 60% of the way through the semester. At this point the aid is considered to be fully earned. Unearned aid is returned to the federal government by the college.
Finally, the general cost of your school will come into play. Transfer to a less expensive school and you will likely get less aid. How much will depend on difference of price between schools.
Remember your existing loans and student debt. Even though you can’t take them with you, they don’t just vanish. After leaving one school, your loans will enter a grace period. You may have to make payments on these loans within six months of this grace period starting. If you are to re-enrol, you can delay these payments by filing an in-school deferment. Deferring these payments will allow you to pay the loans off after you graduate from your new school.
Remember that different loans have different grace periods and different payment schedules. Be aware of this and your repayment schedule. Some loans are also accruing and some are not. Do the research and get familiar with your situation.
Every student situation will differ, don’t expect to have the same situation as your friends. There is relevant student support that can guide you through the process of transferring. Make sure you slowly go through each step at a time to get the best outcome for you!
Alana Downer is a financial blogger, currently supporting Learn To Trade. She is very interested in small and unique strategies for achieving financial independence and often shares her tips with her readers.