As a non-matriculated post-bac student, can we receive federal aid if we are going to school to take pre-requisites for a professional school?
Does anyone have any information about loans that are available?
Thanks for the advice!
There are two, actually three, different ways to do financial aid for post-bac courses. One way is the way I did it. You can enroll in your local college/university as a non-degree/continuing ed student. As such a student, you are eligible for 12 consecutive months of federal loans, subsidized and unsubsidized. (no Pell grants, etc). The key here is 12 CONSECUTIVE months. First, there is no way in Hades that you can complete all the pre-reqs in 12 months unless you are in a formal post-bac program. It’s not possible to schedule all these classes at the same time. Most schools state that you have to have gen chem completed BEFORE taking organic (a few allow you to do both at the same time). Second, it commits you to a very heavy course load. I did it this way, paying for one quarter out of my own pocket, and taking very heavy course loads (20 quarter hours) and summer organic chem. Oh yeah - you have to have someone at the university certify that the courses you are taking are pre-reqs for admission into a professional program.
The second option, which my friend who is taking pre-reqs for pharmacy school chose, is to enroll as a degree seeking undergraduate student. You don’t have to have any intention of actually completing this degree. This loosens the restrictions a little bit on how long you can get federal loans for. The downside here, there are some regulations on how many total hours you can take as an undergraduate, degree seeking student. So, if you took the five year plan to do undergrad the first go around, you may not have many hours left to get federal loans. You might want to check into these restrictions and find out how many hours you would be eligible to get loans for.
The third option is to seek private loans. If you have a good credit rating, you may be able to do this. I also had a friend who chose not to mess with FAFSA and the federal loan hoops and did exclusively private loans.
Some other considerations - if you choose the second route, you have to apply for formal, full admission to the school. The application fee can be pricey, you have to submit all kinds of transcripts, etc, etc. Typically, as a non-degree student, the application is much shorter, simpler, and cheaper. My university never even required transcripts. I also got registration preference at my university after graduation seniors. This was a big plus because most of the pre-reqs are freshman level classes and often fill up quickly at a larger school.
I hope I covered all the bases. Let me know if you have additional questions.