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Resources > FAFSA > FAFSA GPA Requirements—All You Need To Know

FAFSA GPA Requirements—All You Need To Know

If you’re considering applying for federal financial aid through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you must provide the government with information such as your family’s income and tax details and meet certain criteria. These include the minimum progress and grade point average (GPA) requirements to be eligible for a financial aid package. 

This guide will explain what the FAFSA GPA requirements are, what happens if you don’t achieve the necessary GPA, and how you can increase your chances of securing financial aid with FAFSA.

Does FAFSA Have a GPA Requirement?

Yes, FAFSA has a GPA requirement. According to federal and state regulations, schools must establish minimum requirements and monitor the academic progress of students enrolled in a program of study leading to a degree.

In the context of financial aid, failing to meet the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements in courses taken at an institution can result in the loss of eligibility for federal, state, and institutional financial assistance.

There are three parts to the SAP requirement:

  1. Minimum GPA requirement for FAFSA
  2. Cumulative overall progress
  3. Maximum time frame

Grade Point Average (GPA)

The FAFSA GPA requirements allow schools to set a minimum GPA that students must achieve to get financial aid. Most schools require students to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 on a 4.0 scale to remain eligible for financial aid that would help them cover their college costs.

However, this isn’t a fixed rule—the GPA requirement can vary from school to school. This is why it’s a good idea to refer to your school’s website for the exact minimum GPA requirement you must fulfill.

Cumulative Overall Progress

Just like the GPA requirements, FAFSA hasn’t set an exact percentage requirement for cumulative overall progress—instead, it’s up to schools to set the threshold. Most schools require students to complete at least two-thirds (67%) of all attempted credit hours. For example, if a student attempts four credits (16 credit hours) per semester, they must satisfactorily complete at least 2.75 credits (or 10.67 credit hours) to comply with the SAP requirements.

When overall progress is evaluated, courses with passing grades (A, B, C, D, and P) are considered as successfully completed hours, while courses with grades of F, NF, W, NP, NG, and I are regarded as incomplete.

Maximum Time Frame

FAFSA wants you to complete your degree or certificate in a period that’s acceptable to your school. For most schools, the number of credit hours for which students may receive federal financial aid mustn’t exceed 150% of the credit hours required for graduation. For this calculation, most undergraduate programs consider the maximum to be 48 credits or 192 credit hours.

In terms of years, students are normally expected to complete an undergraduate degree by the end of four years of full-time study, or five years if this is what the program normally requires. This means you might have to forfeit your eligibility to participate in federal financial aid programs after six years of full-time enrollment.

What Happens if You Don’t Meet the FAFSA GPA Requirement?

If you fail to meet FAFSA GPA requirements, you’ll be placed on a financial aid warning. When you have a warning status, you’ll retain your financial aid for one semester only. If you don’t meet the GPA or overall progress requirements after the completion of the warning semester, your financial aid will be suspended. 

Still, you may be able to appeal for financial aid reinstatement based on extraordinary circumstances, which may include:

  • Illness or injury 
  • Death of a close relative
  • Other unforeseen difficulties 

If your appeal is successful, your financial aid eligibility may be reinstated on a probationary status for one semester.

Can You Be Rejected for a Federal Loan Even After Meeting the GPA Requirements for FAFSA?

Yes, you may experience rejection even if you meet the FAFSA grade requirements and other aspects of the SAP criteria. The two main reasons for this are:

  1. Identity theft
  2. Poor credit profile

Identity Theft and FAFSA

FAFSA is the largest financial aid resource available for U.S. students, which is why its applicants may be among the primary identity fraud targets. FAFSA identity theft occurs in two ways:

  1. Someone steals your identity and applies for a student loan, making your application for student aid (or any other loan) invalid
  2. Someone is actively stealing your information while you’re applying for student aid 

Identity thieves can use various tactics to steal your FAFSA information, including: 

  • Phishing scams—Identity thieves may send fake emails or text messages that appear to be from the U.S. Department of Education. These may lead you to a fake FAFSA website, where your personal information, such as your Social Security number (SSN) and FSA ID, can be stolen if you enter your credentials
  • Social engineering—Scammers may pose as representatives from financial aid offices or colleges and request sensitive information over the phone, email, forms, or text 
  • Data breaches—These occur when unauthorized individuals access secure databases containing personal information. These cybercriminals may target financial aid offices or educational institutions to access your data
  • Malware attacks—Identity thieves may install malicious software onto your computer or mobile devices through unsecured WiFi, infected websites, or harmful email attachments to steal personal information, including your FAFSA data

Here are some steps you can take to protect your identity when completing the FAFSA: 

Poor Credit and FAFSA

FAFSA generally doesn’t require a credit check, which means having a bad credit score won’t necessarily impact your financial aid application. However, there are two federal loans offered through FAFSA that do ask for a credit check. These are Direct PLUS loans, which include:

  1. Parent PLUS loans, which allow parents or legal guardians of an undergraduate student to borrow funds for their higher education
  2. Grad PLUS loans, which help graduate or professional students cover the cost of their education

Whether it’s you or your parent applying for a Direct PLUS loan, neither of you can have an adverse credit history to be able to get the loan (among other general eligibility criteria). 

If you’re concerned a poor or non-existent credit history will impact your chances of receiving one of these loans, establishing an early credit profile is a good way to get some peace of mind. This is something you can do with the help of your parents and a parent-sponsored credit building service like FreeKick. With credit building available for children as young as 13, FreeKick helps parents establish a credit profile for their children early on so they get a financial headstart when they enter adulthood.

FreeKick—The Ultimate Identity Protection and Credit Building Solution

Identity protection and credit building are both crucial for a successful FAFSA application, even when you meet the GPA requirements and other criteria. That’s where FreeKick comes in—an FDIC-insured deposit account offered by Austin Capital Bank that your parents can use to help you build credit and protect your whole family’s identities.

Building Credit With FreeKick

FreeKick’s credit building service is available for children between 13 and 25 years of age, helping both you and your siblings establish a credit history early in life. To get started, your parents will need to take three simple steps:

  1. Create an Account—Create an account at FreeKick.bank and choose a deposit that suits your family’s needs
  2. Set It and Forget It—Once your parents activate the account, FreeKick will start building 12 months’ worth of credit history for you
  3. Keep Growing—After 12 months, your parents can close the account without penalties or continue building credit for you by renewing the account for another year

With a FreeKick account, you can get a credit history head start of up to five years when you become an adult, along with a payment history. This translates into $200,000 saved during your lifetime due to the long-term benefits of a good credit profile, including being able to qualify for more favorable loan terms.

Identity Protection With FreeKick

Child identity theft occurs every 30 seconds, and falling victim to it may hurt your FAFSA application. In the worst case, you may even get charged with crimes like credit card theft.

Unfortunately, students and children are frequent targets of identity theft, which is why it’s wise to have your parents proactively sign up for identity protection if you plan to apply for a federal educational loan.

Here’s what FreeKick’s identity protection service includes:

Services for MinorsServices for Adult Children and Parents
Credit profile monitoring
SSN monitoring
Dark web monitoring for children’s personal information
Up to $1 million identity theft insurance
Full-service white-glove concierge credit restoration
Sex offender monitoring—based on sponsor parent’s address
Credit profile monitoring
SSN monitoring
Dark web monitoring for personal information
Up to $1 million identity theft insurance
Full-service white-glove concierge credit restoration
Lost wallet protection
Court records monitoring
Change of address monitoring
Non-credit (Payday) loan monitoring
Free FICO® Score monthly
FICO® Score factors
Experian credit report monthly

FreeKick Pricing

FreeKick offers two pricing plans:

FDIC-Insured DepositAnnual Fee
$3,000$0 (Free)
No deposit$149

Both plans are FDIC-insured up to $250,000 and include identity protection for up to two parents and six children aged 0–25 and credit building for six children aged 13–25.

Secure your educational and financial future—have your parents sign up for FreeKick today.