Do You Have To Pay Back a Scholarship?

Scholarships are awards gifted to deserving students on a merit or need basis. They aim to ease the educational journey and encourage deserving students to achieve much more of their education.

Now you may be wondering whether you have to pay a scholarship back. Well, you have and have not to refund. It overall depends upon the scholarship in particular and the reasons or situations. 

Do You Have To Pay Back a Scholarship? No, Since the scholarships are gifts, there is no need to pay. But there are some situations, such as dropping out, not getting the required GPA, reckless behavior, changing major, being on leave, and being involved in illegal activity. 

Do You Have To Pay Back a Scholarship
Do You Have To Pay Back a Scholarship

The situations stated above require you to pay the scholarship back if you do not follow the rules you signed during the scholarship agreement. In such a case, you have to pay the scholarship back. Let us move ahead to know each situation or reason in detail.

Reasons For Which You Have To Pay a Scholarship Back

Although you do not need to repay the scholarship, there are some cases when you have to pay a scholarship back if you do not fulfill and obey the required rules and regulations.

1. Payback Scholarship When Dropping Out

It is one of the most significant reasons you must pay back the scholarship. However, it all depends upon the official rules and regulations of the scholarship the particular institute provides. But it is a possible reason which makes you repay your scholarship.

Suppose you drop out during the mid semesters. In that case, you will most likely have to pay back your scholarship because the amount the provider gifted you as a scholarship was for completing your course. But now you are leaving in the mid. That is why you must pay back the remaining scholarship amount, which you do not have to spend on your semester.

Moreover, suppose the semester ends, and you drop out. In that case, you probably do not have to pay back the scholarship. Because you have spent the scholarship completely on your semester, there are no remaining funds.

However, in any of these situations, you will only be able to receive the scholarship if you rejoin the institution. Irrespective of the case, it is best to discuss the whole scenario with the financial aid staff of your college or any institution. They will surely help you in an appropriate way that can work best for you.

We Also Wrote On How Is a Student Loan Different From a Scholarship

2. When Not Getting The Required GPA

Here I will answer your question: do you have to pay back scholarships if you fail? When answering it, first, we will discuss the scholarship refund regarding the GPA requirements. Then we will jump into the specific failing reason. So let us go through it quickly.

Some students wonder ether they have to pay back the scholarship if they cannot maintain the required GPA. If you are one of them, you should know that this situation completely varies from scholarship to scholarship. 

Some scholarship providers want you to refund the scholarship. However, some will forgive it as a grant. Accordingly, if you have availed of a merit-based scholarship, you have a high chance of paying it back.

To keep it in mind, you must maintain at least a 2.0 GPA at an undergraduate level for constant receiving of a merit-based scholarship. In contrast, a minimum 3.0 GPA is required at a postgraduate level to continue getting the scholarship.

But suppose you fail in the semester or the annual exam. In that case, the scholarship provider can cancel your scholarship Because they provide the aid to ease your studies throughout the session. Still, now they have to get it back since you cannot maintain the required criteria of the scholarship. 

3. When Found Involved In a Reckless Behavior

Every scholarship comes with specified terms and regulations which state the eligibility criteria for the recipients and what to do to continue the scholarship. The selection criteria and duration to maintain the scholarship can be of a wide variety and vary greatly. 

These scholarship terms can be considered an agreement between the provider and the student. If you sign it, you agree to obey the demonstrated terms besides accepting the scholarship aid. Such as generally, they may ask you to complete at least 13-14 credit hours per semester. In the same way, they can ask you to maintain a certain GPA at the specified study level.

Meanwhile, you should consider it something other than these terms because it is just an example. So these can be as broad as the provider wants. But irrespective of their type or length, you have to follow these guidelines to continue receiving the scholarship. 

You signed the agreement with the scholarship provider but need to follow it. Therefore in this situation, the provider has full rights to suspend your scholarship. That is how you may be unable to continuously receive the scholarship if you have irresponsible behavior throughout or at some stages of the session.

Scholarship Pay Back Reasons
Scholarship Pay Back Reasons

4. When Changing The Field of Interest

Let us see another factor regarding whether you have to pay a scholarship back. The reason comes out to be your field of interest. Your scholarship also depends on your major. Let us see whether you must pay back scholarships if you withdraw your major. 

If you have a scholarship related to your major but later on want to shift to another major, you may cancel your scholarship. For example, you have an academic scholarship to study pharmacy. But later on, if you want to jump to administration, you are leaving your scholarship based on your major field of study.

In such cases, they can ask you to repay the scholarship. Although it is not that common still depends upon the general criteria and terms, and it is one of the possible reasons causing you to repay the scholarship.

5. When You Don’t Go To School

Not going to school may seem similar to the dropout reason. But it is not because it has got some factors different. However, it is related to dropping out. 

The dropout section is related to just itself. Here we will discuss how you don’t need to repay the scholarship if you do not go to school. So having it in mind, let us head towards the ways.

Generally, you must repay the scholarship if you do not obey the terms properly when taking a break from school. But there are three main ways you do not need to pay the scholarship back when you don’t attend school.  

  • If you are facing health issues, you can contact your financial aid office or any scholarship-related staff to take leave.
  • If, unfortunately, any of your family members die, you still don’t have to pay the scholarship back.
  • If you are looking after any of your ill family members, the scholarship staff can forgive you for the scholarship refund.

Under the above three mentioned conditions, there is no need to pay the scholarship back if you are on extended leave. Otherwise, you may have to repay it depending on your scholarship criteria.

6. When You Are Involved In Any illegal Activity

Do You Have To Pay Back a Scholarship if you are involved in some illegal activities? You will have to repay the scholarship if you are engaged in illegal work.

Either the student scholarship is merit, sports, or need-based. But it is provided to help deserving students in achieving their dream education. Therefore in the scholarship agreement, besides a wide range of demanded terms and conditions, you (the student) are required to be good and well-mannered, having proper etiquette.

In this way, you should not do anything which disobeys the agreement. You should not be involved in drug activity, stealing and trespassing, etc. Otherwise, under IRC 177, the scholarship provider has full authority to cancel your scholarship and even ask you for a refund.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can your school take away your scholarship?

Yes, they have full rights to cancel or discontinue your scholarship if they find you disobeying the scholarship contract.

Do you have to pay back FAFSA?

You don’t need to, but it is mainly determined by the FAFSA form you fill out.

Do I need to pay back the scholarship if I withdraw?

If you withdraw from your school, you can be asked to pay the scholarship back.

Final Thoughts On Paying Back Scholarship

So this was all you need to know about when you have to pay the scholarship back. Scholarships are grants; therefore, you don’t have to refund them. Consequently, if you are a good, punctual, and well-disciplined student, no one can take back or make you repay your scholarship.