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Pros & Cons of Being a Double Major

College can be an exciting time of growth and learning. In fact, for some, the idea of studying one field just isn’t enough. So, they go for it all and become a double major instead.

Double majoring certainly has its perks.

It allows students the freedom to study more than one subject, become well-rounded during their time in college, and could afford them the opportunity to study both a career path and a passion project at the same time.

However, deciding to become a double major is a big decision, as going after two majors could mean double the work.

Before heading down this path, here are few things students need to consider about becoming a double major and if it can really work for them.

What Is a Double Major?

Though the term “double major” can vary from school to school, it typically refers to a student pursuing two different disciplines under one degree.

While in school, the student works to obtain enough credits for majors in those two disciplines. Usually, this means studying two fields based in the same school, which will earn the student the same type of degree, such as a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.).

Classes, including general education classes, might overlap within the two majors, making it easier to complete both courses of study throughout a student’s education.

It’s important to note there is a distinction between a double major and a dual degree.

A dual degree can mean a student is pursuing two separate degrees. This could mean going after two degrees in two different fields (for example, getting a B.A. in English and a B.S. in Finance), or it could mean studying for a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree at the same time.

Some schools may require students to apply for and gain acceptance to both degree programs and will likely require the student to finish all requirements (including general education classes) under both degrees.

Again, it’s important for students to check with their college or university to see how they define a “double major” or a “dual degree” to ensure they are going after the right program.

How Many People Pursue a Double Major?

Many students choose to go down this path while studying at college or university.

Though the exact number can vary from school to school it typically ranges somewhere between 10-25% of the enrolled student body.

Before diving in and deciding to declare a double major here are a few pros and cons to consider.

Pros of Declaring a Double Major

Getting to study two areas at once

Students going after a double major can gain a broader learning experience than others as they expand their classes and curriculum. This means they can leave school with a deep understanding of two totally different topics.

It could also allow some students to study something they believe is a direct career path for them while also exploring an area they are passionate about.

And hopefully, in their future careers, can meld the two skill sets together.

Widening potential job opportunities

By studying in two different areas, students may broaden their future career path.

After all, having two majors under a student’s belt means they are skilled at more than just one thing.

But, beyond this, employers may also look favorably on double majors because it shows they have a broad interest in many topics, can handle the pressures of an increased workload, and are ready and willing to take on new, larger tasks with ease.

Staying on track for graduating in four years

Because most double majors are completed under the same school within a college or university, students can typically still graduate within the standard four-year timeframe.

That’s because students will likely only have to take one set of general education requirements rather than with a dual degree program where they may need to take two.

Completing all of the coursework on time may take some strategic planning, if you have questions, consider speaking with your academic advisor, who may be able to provide helpful insight.

Cons of Declaring a Double Major

More studying

Because students may need to add on more credit hours to earn a double major they might have to spend more time in classrooms and more time studying than their peers who are in pursuit of a single major.

This can also mean students need to be highly organized and driven to go after a double major, and it might not be right for those who are not self-starters.

Less time for outside interests

Because students will likely be in the classroom or library more often studying that means those going after a double major may have less time for outside interests and extracurricular activities.

And sure, one goes to college to study. However, it can also serve as an important developmental moment in one’s life.

Taking part in sports, clubs, or activities can help students learn and grow in different ways. It can help them connect with others and serve as a wonderful networking opportunity for future job interests.

It’s critical for students to weigh their options and make sure they know what they will have to give up to go after a double major.

Potential increased tuition

Because students may exceed baseline credit hours, they could end up paying more in tuition.

Each credit hour can be costly and going after a double could be a significant investment.

Consider mapping out your coursework to determine exactly how many credits you’ll be required to complete, and how much extra this may cost.

Weigh the potential additional cost against the value having two majors could provide before declaring.

When It Makes the Most Sense to Double Major

In the end, this is a highly personal decision that students must make for themselves or with the guidance of a parent or counselor.

However, it may make sense for anyone who has more than one interest, who wants to broaden the scope of their schooling, or who feels as though a second major will help their future career prospects.

For example, students studying international business may find it helpful to their careers to get a double major in a language.

If someone believes that the return on investment—both in their time and their money—will be high then a double major may be right for them.

One Alternative to Double Majoring

There is one more way for a student to broaden his or her horizons and go after their passions throughout their education, and that’s with a minor.

While a major is a student’s main area of study, a minor can be a secondary area of study for students that requires fewer credit hours to complete than a second major.

It can help students broaden their educational scope, allow them to further study areas they are passionate about, and help them walk away with more skills upon graduation.

Students can still list this minor on their resumes as well, which could potentially help them impress recruiters during their post-graduation job search.

Being Financially Prepared to Go After Any Degree You Want

Whether you decide to go after one major, two majors, two degrees, a minor, or some combination of the above, it’s important to be financially prepared for what’s ahead.

Being financially prepared can help students leave the door open for exploring more of their academic pursuits while in college without having to feel the pain in their pocket when paying for the extra credits.

Before entering school, many students will look into their student loan options. That could mean working out a loan agreement with a family member or friend.

It could also mean filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSAⓇ) to see if they are eligible for a student loan from the federal government.

Some students may also consider a private student loan via a bank or private lender while searching for the right financial option.

To apply for a private student loan, students generally fill out a loan application either alone or with a co-signer.

Unlike federal student loans, the amount a person qualifies for, along with what interest rate, is usually dependent on the applicant’s credit score and income and other factors.

While qualifying borrowers could secure a competitive interest rate when applying for a private student loan, it’s important to note that federal student loans offer borrower protections that private student loans do not.

These include deferment and forbearance, income-driven repayment plans, and some loan forgiveness programs. Benefits like these mean that students should generally exhaust their federal loan options before considering private student loans.

While on the hunt for a private student loan, consider adding SoFi Private Student Loans to your college financial search.

Students and their parents or guardians can apply for a private student loan with SoFi in minutes.

SoFi Private Student Loans come with no origination fees, no late fees, and no insufficient fund fees. Then, once they graduate, students can utilize SoFi’s flexible repayment options because a loan should work for you, not the other way around.

Thinking of double majoring and want to see if you can afford it? Checking out SoFi’s Private Student Loan options is a great place to start.



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How to Pay for College as an Adult Learner

These days, more and more people are joining the ranks of adult learners, those who go back to college at a later point in life.

Figuring out how to go to college as an adult usually also requires plotting how to pay for it, when it’s less likely Mom and Dad are footing some or all of the bill.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to pay for college as an adult learner, from scholarships and grants to good old-fashioned student loans.

To Start, Look at Scholarships and Grants

Whether you’re starting school or going back to college, it’s always a good idea to look into scholarships and grants early in the fund-finding process.

After all, these are financial aid options that the recipient typically isn’t responsible for paying back.

Although most scholarships won’t pay the entire cost of college, they can offset thousands of dollars in costs—and when it comes to an expense as hefty as education, every bit helps.

It’s a good idea to check with your prospective school’s financial aid office to see if the college offers any grants or scholarships for adult learners, but there are also third-party programs worth looking into. Consider adding these to your list.

Executive Women International Scholarship

Offered through local chapters of Executive Women International, the Adult Students in Scholastic Transition scholarship of $2,000 to $10,000 is awarded to “adults facing economic, social, or physical challenges who are looking to improve their situation through educational opportunities.”

For full application details, contact your local chapter.

Award From Imagine America

Aimed toward adults who are attending career or technical colleges for a career shift or returning to school after time away, Imagine America’s Adult Skills Education Program offers awards of $1,000 yearly to students over the age of 19 who are enrolled in a participating college.

Application details and step-by-step instructions are available on the Imagine America website.

Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship

Open to low-income women 35 or older who are pursuing a technical/vocational education, an associate’s degree, or a first bachelor’s degree at an accredited college, the Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund offers scholarships of $2,000-plus on a yearly basis.

Working Parent Award

Offering $1,000 to help with school costs, the Job-Applications.com Working Parent College Scholarship Award is open to parents who work at least 12 hours per week and maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Applicants write a 600- to 1,000-word essay outlining “three keys to successfully balancing parenthood, working, and excelling in school.” The scholarship is open on a semester basis to parents in college, trade school, or a similarly accredited program.

Single-Parent Scholarship

Custody X Change, a parent scheduling tool, offers three scholarships a year to single parents, who can receive up to $1,000 in college funding.

To apply, you’ll need to supply your unofficial college transcript or admissions letter along with a 400-500 word essay answering the question “How will you use your education to improve your family?” See eligibility and application details on the Custody X Change website.

There are many other adult-specific scholarships available. You might want to run a Google search or five yourself, or, as a SoFi member, take advantage of free access to Edmit Plus, a tool that highlights merit aid and scholarships available, estimates financial aid, and more.

Employee Education Benefits

If you’re employed, you may want to take a second look at that sheaf of paperwork HR sent you on your first day. These days, an increasing number of companies offer employee education benefits as part of their compensation package.

Three common types of benefits are tuition assistance, tuition reimbursement, and student loan repayment. Each of these works a little differently, but all of them can help offset the out-of-pocket costs of an education.

With tuition assistance, your employer may partner with specific colleges or universities to bring you discounted, or even free, classes—particularly if those classes will improve your performance at work.

Starbucks , for instance, is famous for its tuition assistance program, which covers 100% of employees’ out-of-pocket cost for first-time undergraduate students enrolled in Arizona State University’s online program.

Tuition reimbursement, on the other hand, means your company will repay you for out-of-pocket educational costs up to a certain limit.

Home Depot offers a tuition reimbursement program that allows employees to attend the university or college of their choice and receive up to $5,000 (for salaried employees), $3,000 (for full-time hourly workers) or $1,500 (for part-time hourly workers) per year.

Finally, some companies offer student loan repayment programs that help employees repay the loans they’ve taken out from third-party lenders.

In fact, SoFi offers this benefit: Employees can collect up to $200 a month to help them chip away at those debts.

Many of these programs have specific eligibility requirements, such as working a minimum number of hours or maintaining a certain GPA, so be sure to double-check the fine print.

Furthermore, certain colleges offer course credit for work and life experience, which could help you save money by cutting down on the total number of classes you need to take (and pay for). Check with your university to see if it offers this perk.

Federal Student Loans

Even if you successfully apply for scholarships and get employee education benefits, you may still be left with more college expenses than you can pay for out of pocket.

That’s where student loans come in—and generally, the first place to look for student loans is the government.

Despite the common misconception that federal student loans are only available to traditional-age college students, there’s no upper age limit.

And unlike many private student loans, applying for federal student aid doesn’t require a credit check.

Depending on your income, you may be eligible for Direct Subsidized Loans, which give you a break on interest while you’re enrolled at least half-time and for six months after you graduate. (The Department of Education pays the interest during those times.)

You’ll pay interest on the loan when monthly payments begin, but that subsidy can mean substantial savings over time.

The U.S. government also offers Direct Unsubsidized Loans, which start accruing interest immediately but carry fixed interest rates that are often lower than those from a private student loan lender.

Furthermore, the payments on most federal student loans aren’t due until after the borrower graduates or otherwise leaves school, whereas payments for many private student loans begin immediately.

To apply for federal student loans, you’ll need to fill out the FAFSA

Many colleges will also require you to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid in order to qualify for institution-specific forms of financial aid. Applying can also help qualify you for work-study programs.

Private Student Loans

Along with government-sponsored student loans, a wide variety of private student loans are available, many of which may be easier to qualify for as an adult with a more robust credit history.

While traditional-age collegians often need to enlist the help of a cosigner to apply, adult learners may not need to, and might also score better terms if they have good or excellent credit.

That said, it’s important to understand that private student loans sometimes carry higher interest rates than other forms of financial aid, and the rates can be variable.

Deferral and income-driven repayment plans are available to eligible borrowers of federal student loans, but such options may be limited for private student loan holders, depending on the lender. It’s always important to read all the fine print upfront.

Fee-Free Loans

Along with the many options you may consider when figuring out how to pay for college as an adult, SoFi private student loans may be a good fit. Why? Competitive interest rates, flexible repayment plans, and no origination fees, late fees, or insufficient-funds fees.

Whether you’re going to school as an undergraduate or upping your education game by attending graduate, law, or business school, SoFi private student loans can cover up to 100% of the school-certified cost of attendance.

As a SoFi member, get complimentary career advice, loan rate discounts, and free access to Edmit Plus, which gives personalized scholarship and financial aid estimates, provides salary estimates based on your college and major, and more.

Get your money—and education—right by checking your rate on private student loans today.



SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change. SoFi Bank, N.A. and its lending products are not endorsed by or directly affiliated with any college or university unless otherwise disclosed.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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4 Tips for Surviving Finals Week

There’s almost nothing as ominous as the phrase “finals week.” Cue the thoughts of cramming.

Sleep deprivation. High anxiety. The stress the two words can induce is almost universal among college students. Students can both survive and succeed during finals week as long as they prepare.

Here are four tips to help students get ready for finals week.

1. Get Organized

Getting organized is a great way to feel in control before finals begin. College finals week doesn’t have to blindside students, forcing them into all-nighters and sleepovers in the library. There are a couple of things students can do to get set up for finals week.

Memorize Your Finals Schedule

The dates for finals week are usually available from the beginning of a semester. This may vary by school, but students can sometimes find their finals information in their syllabus.

Memorizing the schedule will ensure that students don’t forget to study for any exams and can budget enough time for each test.

Knowing their finals schedule will be vital for students implementing the next tip.

Make a Study Plan

Once students have the finals schedule memorized, they can start mapping out their study strategy. Students can base their study tips on which finals will require the most studying and the dates they occur.

It is recommended that students avoid long cram sessions. Studying ahead of time in shorter increments helps to retain information. This is why mapping out a study plan ahead of time can be helpful.

When making a plan, there are different strategies students can use. They can create a schedule based on the difficulty level of the tests, choosing to set aside more time to study for the finals that will be the most challenging for them.

They can also plan their schedule based on the order of their finals, saving more time later on to study for the last exams.

Having a plan can help students avoid cramming, spending too much time studying for one final over another, or forgetting to study for one altogether.

2. Keep Your Body Healthy

As tempting as it is to stay in the library 24/7 living on ramen and coffee, staying physically healthy during finals week is important for bringing home those good grades.

Eating a balanced diet—yes, that means fruits and veggies too, before and during finals week—can help students stay focused and avoid getting sick during finals.

Drinking water is also a good idea when plotting to ace those finals. Dehydration can have many negative effects, like tiredness, headaches, reduced alertness, and diminished concentration, which could affect test performance. Even drinking water during an exam can lead to better performance.

Another important piece of staying healthy is getting enough sleep. It’s common to see students pulling all-nighters in the library during finals week, but a lack of sleep can result in a worse memory and therefore, an inability to remember what has been studied. Missing out on a full night’s sleep can be detrimental to students’ ability to pass their exams.

Exercising is also often deprioritized during finals week. Students are so focused on studying that it’s easy to skip that 30-minute workout. Exercise, though, needs to find a place in a hectic schedule because it will benefit a student during this stressful time. Exercise can both lower stress and maintain high-level brain functioning, leading to a better chance of crushing those exams.

3. Keep Your Mind Healthy

Maintaining good mental health during the school year may already be a challenge, but especially during finals week it’s important to pay attention to and take care of mental health.

Even students who don’t regularly have anxiety may experience it during finals week. There are many calming techniques available to ease anxiety, and each student should see what feels best. Here are a few techniques they can try.

•   Breathing. There are tons of breathing techniques out there that can help with anxiety or stress. Students should look up a few simple ones and see what works best for them.
•   Grounding. This is a technique where students focus on their senses, naming five things they can see, four things they can feel, three things they can hear, two things they can smell, and one thing they can taste. Doing this can reduce anxiety or panic and help students stay focused.
•   Meditation. Taking up a daily meditation practice before studying and before exams start could help a person stay calm during stressful events. There are lots of meditation apps available as well as guided meditations online.

Another piece of maintaining mental health during finals week is taking breaks. Breaks are beneficial both for studying ability and mental health. Taking a break to do something enjoyable can decrease stress and keep a student’s mind in a good place.

Anyone experiencing high levels of anxiety can reach out to school counselors and see about making an appointment. Students may also benefit from talking about their stress with friends, family members, or professors. Leaning on a social support network during this stressful time may alleviate some of the nervousness that comes with finals week.

Lastly, students should ask for help if they need it. Most colleges have mental health services on campus.

4. Team Up

Students should remember that they’re not going through finals alone. They have a whole class of students struggling right alongside them. This can be a huge asset come finals week.

Instead of studying alone, students can form study groups.Study groups can help students be better prepared for finals. There may be some in the class who understand the material better and can teach it to others.

This helps both the student struggling and the student teaching. The struggling student gets new explanations for tricky material that may be easier to understand. The teaching student solidifies the material in their memory even more by explaining it to others.

Being in a study group can also help with accountability, so students are less likely to slack off and stop studying.

Those who need further support during finals week can visit their professors during office hours or consider getting a tutor. Professors want to see their students succeed, and though they can’t give answers to exam questions, they can help explain parts of the material that someone is struggling with.

No Pay, No Gain

Wait, so college students are paying to suffer through finals week? Technically, yes, because college costs money, of course, and even if the nightmare of finals week is still far off, it’s never too soon for students to start sorting out how they’re going to finance their entire college education.

There’s more than one resource available to students when it comes to funding college expenses. Here are a few, broken down in an easy-to-understand way.

Federal Aid

Students already in college might be familiar with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, commonly known as the FAFSA.® Eligibility for undergraduates is usually based on parents’ income. Federal aid can come in the form of grants or loans. Grants usually don’t need to be repaid, but loans do.

Federal loans usually come with benefits that private loans don’t, such as income-driven repayments and lower fixed rates. It’s recommended that if students need to take out loans, they use federal loans before turning to private loans.

Is the FAFSA® one and done? Not at all. You must complete the application every year that you attend school if you hope to gain federal aid, and on time.

Free Money

The world of scholarships is vast. Though it can take some digging to find scholarships that students are eligible for, it’s money that usually doesn’t need to be repaid.

Scholarships can be need based or merit based, with the eligibility requirements different for each one. Scholarships come from colleges, corporations, local community organizations, religious organizations, and more.

Students might want to check if their college has any information available on scholarships. Usually, schools have a scholarship office or information about scholarships at their financial aid office.

Another Option

Private student loans are another way to help fund the college experience, when federal aid doesn’t cover all the bases, a student doesn’t qualify for federal aid, or someone has reached a limit on federal direct loans.

The eligibility for private student loans is usually based on a student’s income and credit history, or that of a co-signer. Each lender will have its own terms, including the interest rate and repayment methods, which merit research.

SoFi® offers private student loans with attractive fixed or variable rates, no fees, and a quick online application. Learn more today!



SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change. SoFi Bank, N.A. and its lending products are not endorsed by or directly affiliated with any college or university unless otherwise disclosed.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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Dealing With Helicopter Parents in College

Some college students grapple with a challenge that has little to do with grades or the overall college experience: helicopter parents.

These well-meaning moms and dads insert themselves into the lives of their emerging adult children to a degree that may hinder the development of coping skills.

College orientation programs for nervous parents have become more common. Even so, some parents have trouble letting go. With the price of college having doubled in 20 years, some parents want to make sure they’re getting their money’s worth.

Hobbled by Helicopter Parenting

The risks of helicopter parenting are real, researchers say.

“Helicopter parenting behaviors may hinder the development of self-control skills among emerging adult college students, which are associated with feelings of school burnout,” according to a study by researchers at Florida State University.

The FSU study defines helicopter parents as moms or dads who “excessively monitor their children and often remove obstacles from their paths, instead of helping them develop the skills to handle the inevitable difficulties of life.”

Helicopter college parents may reach out directly to college professors and administrators about grades or nag their children about academic deadlines and test results.

That type of behavior may lead to student exhaustion, a cynical outlook on the entire college experience, and feelings of inadequacy, the study found.

“Burnout is a response to ongoing stress that is important because it saps the student’s energy, reduces their productivity, and leaves them with a diminished sense of accomplishment,” said professor Frank Fincham, director of the FSU Family Institute.

“They feel increasingly helpless, hopeless, and resentful, exerting less effort on their studies, which leads to lower grades. In some cases, students end up dropping out of college.”

How to Deal With Helicopter Parents

For students stranded between demanding academic obligations and surveillance-minded parents, the path forward may involve a strong dose of self-discipline, a willingness to learn and make mistakes, and an open call for independence. Here are some ideas.

Adjust How You Engage

If parental hovering seems unavoidable, students may want to diplomatically tighten up engagements with Mom and/or Dad.

Unless the student is in a serious health or financial crisis, there’s no need for a daily phone call, Zoom meeting, or even text with parents.

Students should talk to parents before leaving for campus and ideally agree on a scheduled conversation, perhaps weekly or biweekly.

Students who do not feel pressured may decide that frequent calls, emails, or texts are OK—as long as they initiate the engagement.

Ask for a Coach, Not a Problem Solver

When a young person leaves for college, the temptation for many parents is to step in and solve every problem for them, thus taking a learning experience out of the equation.

Yes, living away from home for the first time can be intimidating and yes, a parent’s inclination is to take over the situation and straighten things out. That, however, may deprive the child of a much-needed learning experience.

Mistakes are inevitable. “It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. It doesn’t matter how many times you almost get it right. No one is going to know or care about your failures, and neither should you. All you have to do is learn from them and those around you …,” serial entrepreneur Mark Cuban has written.

Students should strive to make their own academic and lifestyle decisions (but not big health care or financial decisions, at least not yet), with parents supporting and coaching in the background.

Take the Long View

Helicopter parents invariably view their child’s problems and challenges on campus with a short-term outlook. Instead, students should emphasize the learning experiences they’re having and that the experiences are positive in the long haul.

While parents may fret over their child not getting into a class, missing out on a grant, loan, or scholarship, or just getting a problem roommate—situations that can call for a remedy—they’re experiences best handled by the student, who can make that exact case to parents.

It might be helpful to say: “Mom/Dad, I’m learning from my own problematic scenarios, I’m growing a thicker skin, and I’m learning how to solve problems and make decisions like an adult. When I do need your involvement, I hope you’ll trust me to let you know as soon as possible.”

The takeaway for both parties: A big part of attending college is becoming your own self-advocate in life, and some patience and pullback on the part of parents (and encouraged by the student) can help that happen.

Ask for Your Own Bank Account

To further declare independence from helicopter parents, college students may want to ask them to take their name off a shared bank account. Doing so will allow students to learn how to manage money on their own, with Mom and Dad in the background if needed.

Let parents know that any excessive spending or critical financial needs can, when necessary, involve them. But being responsible for finances is a critical lesson best learned by the student.

For college students, that means making the case that financial literacy is a gift and that college is a great place to earn it.

Create Boundaries on Student Portals

Digital student portals are valuable tools for both students and parents, but college students may want to establish boundaries on parental portal engagements.

Yes, parents will want to log on to the parental portion of their student’s online college portal (mainly to check finances, review financial aid, and pay tuition bills).

Past that, there’s no need for parents to regularly plug in to their student’s primary online portal and sound off about everyday collegiate experiences.

Particularly, college students may not want their parents looking at their calendars, classroom grades, student-teacher interactions, and portal emails designed for the student’s eyes only.

College students can remedy that situation by having their parents agree on portal access conditions, like checking grades once a month or even once a semester.

Making the case that portal engagements, with boundaries, are the domain of the student can provide a sense of trust and privacy, especially in the first year at school.

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Take a Bigger Role in College Finances

College students may be able to help their own cause by partnering with parents on college financing issues and learning to be good stewards of their college money.

That means visiting the financial portion of the college portal and seeing what has been paid, what is owed, and what is available in financial aid.

Helping out with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid each year will also give the student a realistic look at the cost of college, which may provide an incentive to make that cost worthwhile.

When you know exactly where you stand financially on campus, you can begin making decisions on key issues like course loads, living on or off campus, accepting a work-study program, and taking on a part-time job.

Additionally, taking a shared-responsibility role can help with long-term college decisions, like taking an internship overseas or moving on to graduate school.

The Takeaway

College students can take steps to deal with helicopter parents, who may hinder the development of skills to handle the inevitable difficulties of life.

The suggestions are rooted in convincing parents to take a supportive but not supervisory role in the student’s everyday college experience.

Financial literacy means knowing the options for paying the myriad costs of college, from tuition to housing and food: federal grants, work-study and student loans; merit scholarships; and private student loans.

Need help paying for some or all of college? Consider a SoFi private student loan.



SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change. SoFi Bank, N.A. and its lending products are not endorsed by or directly affiliated with any college or university unless otherwise disclosed.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

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What Is Financial Aid Suspension and How To Get Aid Back

Students work hard to get into college. They do their best to earn good grades, participate in extracurricular activities, study for the SATs® and ACTs®, and get great letters of recommendation.

If they cannot afford the hefty price tag for a college education, they can apply for federal financial aid using the FAFSA®, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, 86% of undergraduate students received some form of financial aid during the 2017 to 2018 school year.

However, students aren’t guaranteed to receive financial aid. If students receive it one year, they might not get it the next.

It can be taken away for a variety of reasons–and sometimes the student has absolutely no control over it. But if they do lose their financial aid, there are options to help them try to get their aid reinstated.

What Is Financial Aid Suspension?

Financial aid suspension occurs when financial assistance given to a student stops coming in.

Financial aid can come in the form of scholarships, loans, grants, and work-study programs. When students fill out the FAFSA®, they are applying for federal student aid.

After their application is reviewed, students will generally receive information on what aid they are eligible for, if any. When financial aid is being suspended, students will be notified as well, generally by the financial aid office at the school where the student is enrolled.

Common Reasons for Financial Aid Suspension

Financial aid suspensions can occur for a variety of reasons. Here are a few reasons a student may find there are issues with their aid.

Not Making Satisfactory Academic Progress

For example, in order to be eligible for certain financial aid and college financial aid, students need to be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).

This means that students are required to be enrolled in a certain number of credit hours and be earning grades that are considered good enough to be working towards completing a degree or certificate in a certain time period.

SAP policies will often vary by school. Typically, SAP policies require students to maintain at least a 2.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale, which is a “C” average in classes.

If students receive scholarships, they may have to maintain a higher GPA than 2.0. To find out the SAP policy at a specific school, take a look at their website or the financial aid office.

Taking Too Long to Complete Degree

A student may experience financial aid suspension if they’ve been in school for too long. Federal financial aid is generally restricted based on the length of the program the student is enrolled in.

This information is generally listed in a school’s catalog. For example, federal aid is generally limited to six years for a Bachelor’s degree and three years for an Associate’s degree.

Not Applying for Aid Each Year

Students must apply for federal student aid by submitting a FAFSA each year that they are enrolled in school. Failing to submit the FAFSA means students may not receive federal aid for that year.

Additionally, when the FAFSA is filled out annually, a student may not receive the same amount or type of aid should their family’s financial situation change.

Making a Change to the Course of Study

Students could also lose federal aid if they switch majors and the aid was tied to their original major, they switched schools, they are not taking enough credits to qualify for the aid, or they previously defaulted on other student loans.

Not Meeting General Eligibility Requirements

In order to continue receiving federal aid, students will also need to continue meeting the general eligibility requirements set by the Department of Education.

If a student is not a citizen of the United States and their eligible noncitizen status expired or was revoked, then they would need to reinstate their status to keep receiving aid.

A student could also potentially lose federal financial aid if they were convicted for a drug offense or became incarcerated.

If it comes to light that a student’s high school diploma is not valid, or they have property subject to a judgment lien, that could also cause financial aid suspension.

Even though it can be frustrating and worrisome to lose financial aid, there are steps that students can take to hopefully get it back.

Appealing a Financial Aid Decision

One of the first things that students could do after they are notified that their financial aid is being suspended is to visit their school’s financial aid office. There students will generally be able to learn more about why they might be losing financial aid and if there is anything they can do about it, like file an appeal.

The appeals process will generally vary based on the school. In general, students can fill out a form and write an appeal letter to their college. In the appeals letter, students may consider sharing details about the circumstances surrounding their financial aid suspension.

For example, if a student’s loved one passed away that semester, the student may have become upset and unable to concentrate on their grades. Sometimes, students experience tough circumstances that have nothing to do with school, but their grades suffer. Schools understand that this happens and they may be willing to work with students who show they are still dedicated to their studies.

After writing the appeal letter, students can mail it or hand it into their financial aid office, depending on preferences and the process determined by the school. It can help to confirm that the office received it. In addition to writing an appeal letter, there are other ways that students can qualify for aid again, depending on the issue that caused the suspension of aid.

They may be able to study harder and bring their grades up, for instance. They could also enroll in more classes and get back on track to graduate in a certain amount of time. If they are an eligible noncitizen, they could figure out how to reinstate their status.

If they switched majors, they could look into other forms of financial aid for their new course of study. There are many ways to go about it–asking the financial office for guidance can provide insight to help the student get back on track.

In some scenarios, students may lose financial aid for the year and then be able to reapply through FAFSA the next year. If they still don’t receive aid, then students may need to look into alternative options to pay for their education.

Avoiding Financial Mistakes in College

If students went through financial aid suspension and couldn’t appeal the decision, they should figure out ways in which they can pay for school without hurting their financial future.

For instance, they may want to reconsider staying in the dorms and on an expensive college meal plan if they can’t afford it. If they do continue to live and eat on campus, they could run up a huge bill that in and of itself could take years to pay off.

While it may be tempting to put extra expenses on a credit card, debt can add up quickly. Students who use a credit card but are unable to pay off their balance every month could end up graduating with student loan debt and credit card debt. Credit card debt can have relatively high interest rates which can make them difficult to pay off.

Additionally, while going to an expensive private school may seem more prestigious, state schools can also be solid options, offering rigorous programs as well.

I Lost My Financial Aid–How Do I Pay For School?

There are many students wondering how to pay for school if they no longer have financial aid–and thankfully, there are a number of ways to pay for school.

One option for students is to consider cheaper schools and possibly transfer to a school that offers a lower tuition or where they may qualify for a more competitive aid package or scholarship.

If a student isn’t able to transfer, or already goes to a less expensive school, then they could try to find a job on or off campus and start earning money to pay for their education.

Students might also consider budgeting and cutting costs as needed. A few options to cut expenses might include opting to use public transportation instead of driving, moving to cheaper housing off-campus, cooking meals at home instead of eating out, or limiting how much they spend on entertainment.

They also may consider turning to family members for help. If their parents are able to help pay for their college or take out loans to pay for it, this could be an option.

Another option some students may look into is borrowing private student loans. Before applying for a private student loan, it is important to compare different lenders and loan terms. Each lender will generally have their own eligibility requirements for lending so it’s worth looking around at different options.

Unlike federal student loans, private student loans generally require a credit check. Lenders will use this information, and other factors, to determine the interest rate and loan terms the applicant will qualify for.

Students interested in borrowing a private student loan could consider SoFi as one option. There are no fees for an application, origination, or prepayments. Students can find out if they qualify, and at what rates, online in minutes. Applicants can also add a co-signer entirely online. Borrowers will also be able to access SoFi’s valuable resources like career coaching and member events at a time when they need it the most.

If you’re going through financial aid suspension but want to make sure you can still fund your college education, SoFi is here for you. Learn more about SoFi private student loans today.



SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s
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