How can I transfer colleges with a fresh start?
May 31, 2010 1:40 PM   Subscribe

Is it possible to get accepted at a community college or university without submitting prior college transcripts and still get financial aid?

I attended a local university for 3 years with little success and no direction. I started strong but was hit hard with a very long drawn out diagnosis of cealiacs disease. My GPA plummeted to a 1.7 and now I can no longer afford tuition.
I was able to pay for school through scholarships, grants, and loans. In my state of GA we have the HOPE scholarship and grant. The deal is you must graduate high school with a 3.0 GPA and maintain that throughout college and your tuition is somewhat paid for. Along side that their is the federal PELL grant and Stafford student loan but you must have at least a 2.0 if I'm not mistaken to receive it.
I would like to transfer to my community college till I can get back on my feet again. I'm close to finishing my BS but that will have to wait.

BASICALLY... my GPA from high school is a 3.2. I graduated with a college prep diploma and made a 1120 on the older 1600 point scale SAT. Will Stafford loans, FASFA, or whoever the PELL people are find out and deny me financial aid if I only submit my high school transcript and apply as a new student?
posted by isopropyl to Education (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you are close to finishing your B.S., why are you going back to community college? Do you know the graduation requirements for your program's current catalog year? In my experience you have to spend the last X hours (I believe mine was 30) in residence at the university, so if you were planning to transfer, it might not work..

Also, depending on your program and how many classes you have left, your GPA may be too low to graduate - is it possible you can re-take those classes that you failed for grade forgiveness?

I would speak with your advisor at the university and explain your medical situation. They should be able to inform you of school policy.

And if you got financial aid during your previous time in college, then yes, the financial aid people are going to know that you've gone to college before.
posted by funfetti at 1:52 PM on May 31, 2010

Tidbit of relevant information: the folks at my financial aid office told me that the FAFSA will help with some sort of financial aid for a total of 18 quarters (I think that translates to 12 semesters).
posted by aniola at 1:58 PM on May 31, 2010

I don't know about the current student loan rules, but I do think this would be a huge mistake. Going to the community college without telling them of your past is one thing (I think some don't mind people taking classes even if they have degrees), but trying to get financial aid without telling the whole truth smacks of fraud, and is a real, real bad idea.

If you intent is just to get some free bucks or so low interest ones, forget about it. You are simply robbing people with real needs and real ambitions.

However, if you really want to get it together and get a degree, then just be open and aboveboard. There might very well be place to get aid without lying, though the interest might be a bit higher, it might still be low. Plus, it might be possible (it was once back in the day) to retake courses and have new grades replace older ones. Not only does that raise your GPA faster, you learn more too.

If you intentions are to get an education (or even training) then you should look at small state schools as well as community colleges. You aren't the first person with this experience, adn they will admit you and help you. But. please, do it for the right reasons, not to dig yourself a deeper hole.
posted by Some1 at 2:07 PM on May 31, 2010

I hope that you don't take this as patronizing, but have you spoken to the student services center or dean of students at your school about getting a medical release from the classes that you failed while dealing with celiac's disease? Make sure that your low gpa can't be remedied through the school before you take drastic measures to start over. Even if a change of schools is what you need, in some schools it might be possible to have the failed classes cleared from your record.
posted by pickypicky at 2:17 PM on May 31, 2010

Admission to community college doesn't typically require that you submit all transcripts, but they might need an official transcript to give you credits for English 101 (or equivalent), a class that is usually required before you can take any other courses.

For financial aid purposes, you are not currently eligible for any of the GPA-dependent programs. I strongly advise against trying to defraud your state or federal government.
posted by halogen at 3:32 PM on May 31, 2010

When I was a student at community college, there was no real "application process". You just signed up for whatever courses you wanted to take and paid the fees. As far as financial aid goes, I'm pretty sure the federal government has your records from the previous loans/grants your received when you were attending the four year university, so trying to deceive them into thinking you are a new student is a really bad idea. Clearly, you wish you could just start over, unfortunately it is not that easy. Go talk to the counselors at your local university and at the community college, and just be honest with them. They have seen worse, and their job is to help you out.
posted by sophist at 9:05 PM on May 31, 2010

Community college probably won't care about prior transcripts, but if you ever want to move on to a four-year college, you're still going to need to address the issue.

FWIW, some (most?) universities will allow you to retroactively withdraw from classes. This could potentially wipe out the later terms wherein your GPA took a nosedive. I know of two people who have done this. One told his old college that he hadn't adapted well to living outside the dorms, so they wiped his 0.8 GPA junior year with nothing more than a one-page letter from the student himself. The other, at a different school, required considerable evidence to support a retroactive withdrawal based on a medical situation. Neither got any money back, and they lost the credit for even the classes they passed, but instead of being an incoming senior with a low 2.something, they were incoming juniors with mid 3.something GPAs. It's probably worth making a few calls to see if/how your first institution deals with this.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 9:24 AM on June 1, 2010

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