If your child's thinking of withdrawing from that organic chemistry class he hates, tell him to hang in there and do the best he can — thousands of dollars in financial aid may depend on it.
That's because college students must meet a series of requirements, including maintaining a minimum C average and successfully completing a minimum number of credits, in order to qualify for the full amount of loans and grants they're expecting to receive.
In the worst case, students who drop from full-time to less than half-time — that is, fewer than six credits per semester for undergraduates — may no longer be able to take out federal loans and may have to start repaying what they've already borrowed.
"These days, almost every academic decision is a financial decision," said Sara Goldrick-Rab, professor of higher education policy and sociology at Temple University. "There is no such thing as 'Man, I really don't like that class.'"
"They won't know what they're losing until they talk to their financial aid officer before making the decision," she said.
Here's what you need to know if your child is thinking of going below full-time status.