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How to restore federal education funding for a person?
March 10, 2010 4:07 PM   Subscribe

A friend of mine in a Ph.D. program in Florida was just told that their federal education funding cap was met. Is there an appeals process for federal education funding or any kind of listserv for people who have faced this challenge and what they did to get their funding restored?
posted by parmanparman to Education (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Do you mean that they hit their aggregate limit for federal direct student loans? If so, the only way to become eligible for further loans is to pay back some of the principle. Most people in this situation seek private loans.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:24 PM on March 10, 2010


What kind of loans, Stafford or Perkins? Is this person hitting the max lending cap, or a time related/satisfactory academic progress cap? No matter what the answers a call to the university's financial aid office will answer this more conclusively than askmefi will.

My financial aid was cut off due to some confusion whether I was a masters or phd student. I filed a short appeal with the financial aid office and the money began flowing again.
posted by pseudonick at 4:27 PM on March 10, 2010


It sounds like he/she has met the Stafford loan limit, but there's no limit on GradPLUS loans. The interest rate is a little higher, though.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:39 PM on March 10, 2010


He needs to talk with his financial aid department.
posted by k8t at 7:50 PM on March 10, 2010


Is your friend a Ph.D. student in a humanities-type field, or in a scientific field, and is this funding via student loans, or is the student being funded on a fellowship from a government agency like NIH or NSF? If their education is being financed on student loans, it might be time for your friend to take a hard look at what their career prospects will actually be after getting the Ph.D. before resorting to private loans -- the Stafford aggregate max for graduate students is something on the order of $140k, and adding private loans on top of that is a recipe for a miserable life unless your friend's family is independently wealthy.

I'm asking because if your friend was on a training grant, it isn't necessarily loan-related at all. And it isn't necessarily something that the financial aid office would know anything about. In my Ph.D. program (I'm a scientist), I was funded on a T32 training grant (not loans at all -- the government was paying my tuition and stipend). Now that I've been here basically forever, I have hit the limit for number of years on the training grant, so now my advisor has to fund me out of her grant money. Generally, when a graduate student in a sciences program hits the cap for training-grant funding, the advisor has to pay for them. If the advisor doesn't have enough funding to pay for them, sometimes the department will have some sort of slush fund to pay for the student (it's not good for departments to have senior graduate students leave with no degree because the money ran out.)

I would suggest talking to whatever administrator in the department handles grad students and/or financial matters pertaining to grad students, as well as the department chair, about the funding situation. Your friend almost certainly is not the first person in the department to have funding issues, and talking to people in the department who actually understand the situation might be a bit more helpful than talking to whatever drone they've got at the financial-aid desk (my university's financial aid office is staggeringly UNhelpful to everyone who isn't an undergraduate -- it's the stuff of legend).

Also, there probably isn't any appeals process to get more money out of the federal government. They have the schedules for total aggregate loan limits, as well as total years you're allowed to be on a training grant, posted. You have to read them upfront before you're given your funding. It's aggravating as hell to max out your funding limit, but there isn't really anything you can do -- the federal education budget isn't limitless, and people who work in those loan offices are likely to see desperate attempts to appeal for more funding as attempts to take funding away from other people when you've already gotten your share.
posted by kataclysm at 6:49 AM on March 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


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