Our goal is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we receive compensation from our partner lenders, whom we will always identify, all opinions are our own. Credible Operations, Inc. NMLS # 1681276, is referred to here as "Credible."

There could be several reasons why you might choose to drop a college class. A too-heavy workload, changing majors, or simply a course that’s not the right fit. But before you withdraw from the class, make sure that doing so won’t affect your financial aid.

Many financial aid packages are dependent on the course load you’re taking — and falling below a certain threshold could jeopardize your tuition money. The best rule of thumb is to check with your school’s financial aid office before withdrawing from classes.

Here’s how to determine if you should drop a class and what you need to know.

How does withdrawing from classes affect financial aid?

Withdrawing from a class affects your financial aid if doing so means you fall below minimum course loads or prevents you from graduating on time.

To be eligible for federal student aid — including many scholarships, grants, work-study and federal student loans — you must be making “satisfactory academic progress” toward completing your degree. This means taking enough classes and earning high enough grades to graduate in a reasonable time.

But there’s no set definition for what constitutes satisfactory progress. Every college and university has its own guidelines, which generally include:

  • The GPA you need to maintain
  • How many credits you must complete each year
  • How incomplete or dropped classes affect your progress
  • What happens if you fail to make satisfactory progress

In most cases, you can drop a class and add another one by a certain deadline with no penalty. If you choose to drop a class during this period but don’t add another, your financial aid package may be adjusted to reflect the number of hours you end up with.

Withdrawing from a class after the deadline can affect your Satisfactory Academic Progress. Universities often require you to complete at least two-thirds of the classes you enroll in. Withdrawing from a course hurts your percentage.

Tip: You may need to balance multiple factors when deciding whether to drop a specific class. For example, if taking the class risks hurting your GPA significantly, you may choose to drop it and try to make up the credit hours you need in the next semester.

Another potential concern: Most student aid requires you to be enrolled at least half-time. If dropping a class would put you below that threshold, you risk having your financial aid adjusted or revoked entirely.

Also, any student loans you currently have may then enter the grace period before coming due. In most cases, you won’t need to make any payments toward your federal student loans while you’re still enrolled in school at least half-time. Once you graduate, leave school or fall below half-time enrollment, you’ll enter a grace period that typically lasts six months. After that point, you’ll be responsible for making principal and interest payments that pay down your student loan balance.

Read More: Federal Student Loans Guide: Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans Review

Contact your school’s financial aid office

Since policies can differ significantly from school to school, it’s vital that you check with your financial aid office before dropping a class. Many colleges and universities provide their definition of Satisfactory Academic Progress online and offer examples of how dropping a class can affect your standing.

You can also make an in-person appointment with the financial aid office if you’d like help navigating the rules and how they apply to your situation.

Private student loans

Private student loans generally are not tied to “Satisfactory Academic Progress.” You will not risk losing any private student loans for failing to complete two-thirds of your classes. If dropping a class causes you to lose some or all of your federal financial aid, private loans may help you fill in the gaps.

There is a downside to this, though: Private student loans do not have nearly the amount of benefits and protections that federal financial aid offers. Federal student loans have generous repayment options, including income-based repayment plans that limit the amount you pay each month to a certain percentage of your disposable income.

The balance of your federal loans may also be forgiven after you’ve made a certain number of payments, or worked in public service-related jobs. Private loans generally have just one, standard repayment option. Unless you have excellent credit, private student loans may also have higher interest rates than federal loans.

Many private student loans do require you to be enrolled at least half-time. If you drop below this threshold, you may not be able to take out more private loans. And any loan payments you’ve opted to defer until after you leave school may begin to come due.

Many private student loans have a grace period, much like federal loans. This clock may start when you fall below half-time enrollment. A student loan calculator can help you understand how much you’ll ultimately pay when you start repaying your private loans.

But a number of private student loans are available to part-time students or non-traditional students. These may still be an option for you after dropping a class.

Again, the best course of action is to contact your school’s financial aid office before dropping a class. This is especially true if you’re planning to do so after your college or university’s “drop/add” deadline. The staff in the financial aid office should be able to help guide you through the consequences of dropping a class and how it will affect your scholarships, grants, and loans.

The companies in the table below are Credible’s approved partner lenders. Whether you’re the borrower or cosigner, Credible makes it easy to compare rates from multiple private student loan providers without affecting your credit score.

LenderFixed Rates From (APR)
Variable Rates From (APR)


Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
4.62%+10 5.74%+10
  • Fixed APR: 4.62%+10
  • Variable APR: 5.74%+10
  • Min. credit score: Does not disclose
  • Loan amount: $2,001 to $400,000
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20
  • Repayment options: Full deferral, fixed/flat repayment, interest only, academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: 0.25% to 1.00% automatic payment discount, 1% cash back graduation reward
  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident or DACA student enrolled at least half-time in a degree-seeking program
  • Customer service: Email, phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: After 12 on-time principal and interest payments
  • Loan servicer: Launch Servicing, LLC


Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
4.99%+1 4.89%+
  • Fixed APR: 4.99%+1
  • Variable APR: 4.89%+
  • Min. credit score: 720
  • Loan amount: $1,000 to $350,000
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 10, 15
  • Loan types: Any private or federal student loan
  • Repayment options: Full deferral, full monthly payment, interest only, immediate repayment, academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees: Late fee
  • Discounts: Autopay, loyalty
  • Eligibility: Available in all 50 states (international students can apply with a creditworthy U.S. citizen or permanent resident cosigner)
  • Customer service: Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: After 36 months
  • Loan servicer: Firstmark Services


Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
4.49%+2,3
4.49%+2,3
  • Fixed APR: 4.49%+2,3
  • Variable APR: 4.49%+2,3
  • Min. credit score: Does not disclose
  • Loan amount: $1,000 up to cost of attendance
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 8, 10, 15, 20
  • Repayment options: Full deferral, full monthly payment, fixed/flat repayment, interest only, immediate repayment, academic deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees: Late fee
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and be making satisfactory academic progress.
  • Customer service: Email, phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: After 24 months
  • Loan servicer: College Ave Servicing LLC


Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
3.65%+ 5.46%+
  • Fixed APR: 3.65%+
  • Variable APR: 5.46%+
  • Min. credit score: Does not disclose
  • Loan amount: $1,000 to $99,999 annually ($180,000 aggregate limit)
  • Loan terms (years): 7, 10, 15
  • Repayment options: Full deferral, immediate repayment, interest-only repayment, flat/full repayment, academic deferment, military deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Available to borrowers in all 50 states. Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: After 36 months
  • Loan servicer: American Education Services
  • Min. income: Does not disclose


Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
7.52%+7 6.89%+7
  • Fixed APR: 7.52%+7
  • Variable APR: 6.89%+7
  • Min. credit score: 750
  • Loan amount: $1,000 to $200,000
  • Loan terms (years): 7, 10, 15
  • Repayment options: Full deferral, full monthly payment, interest only, immediate repayment, academic deferment, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees: Late fee
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and have a minimum income of $30,000.
  • Customer service: Email, phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: After 36 months
  • Loan servicer: Granite State Management & Resources (GSM&R)


Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
4.37%+8 5.86%+8
  • Fixed APR: 4.37%+8
  • Variable APR: 5.86%+8
  • Min. credit score: 670
  • Loan amount: $1,001 up to cost of attendance
  • Loan terms (years): 5, 10, 15
  • Repayment options: Full deferral, full monthly payment, interest only, immediate repayment, academic deferment, forbearance
  • Fees: Late fee
  • Discounts: Autopay, reward for on-time graduation
  • Eligibility: Must be an Indiana resident or a U.S. citizen attending an eligible Indiana school
  • Customer service: Email, phone, chat
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: After 48 months
  • Loan servicer: American Education Services


Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
4.89%+ N/A
  • Fixed APR: 4.89%+
  • Variable APR: N/A
  • Min. credit score: 670
  • Loan amount: $1,500 up to cost of attendance less aid
  • Loan terms (years): 10, 15
  • Repayment options: Full deferral, interest only, immediate repayment, academic deferral, forbearance
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and be making satisfactory academic progress.
  • Customer service: Email, phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: After 48 months
  • Loan servicer: American Education Services (AES)


Credible Rating
Credible lender ratings are evaluated by our editorial team with the help of our loan operations team. The rating criteria for lenders encompass 78 data points spanning interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirement transparency, repayment options, fees, discounts, customer service, cosigner options, and more. Read our full methodology.
4.509 - 14.83%9 5.37%9 - 15.709
  • Fixed APR: 4.509 - 14.83%9
  • Variable APR: 5.37%9 - 15.709
  • Min. credit score: Does not disclose
  • Loan amount: $1,000 up to 100% of school-certified cost of attendance
  • Loan terms (years): 10 to 209
  • Repayment options: Full deferral, fixed/flat repayment, interest only, academic deferment, forbearance, loans discharged upon death or disability
  • Fees: Late fee, non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Also available to non-U.S. citizen students (including DACA students) attending a school located in the U.S. who apply with a qualifying cosigner.
  • Customer service: Phone, chat
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Cosigner release: Borrowers can apply after graduation, 12 consecutive on-time principal and interest payments, and meeting certain credit requirements.
  • Loan servicer: Sallie Mae
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Lowest APRs reflect autopay, loyalty, and interest-only repayment discounts where available | 10Ascent Disclosures | 1Citizens Disclosures | 2,3College Ave Disclosures | 7EDvestinU Disclosures | 8INvestEd Disclosures | 9Sallie Mae Disclosures

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About the author
Andrew Dunn
Andrew Dunn

Andrew Dunn is an award-winning mortgage and finance writer with a decade of experience covering the industry with articles published at Fox Business, LendingTree, Credit Karma, Axios Charlotte, and more.

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