In America, poor financial decisions can be overcome with a drastic bankruptcy. However, for community college students, did you know that a semester riddled with poor grades can be wiped clean with an academic bankruptcy? While the academic bankruptcy will not magically disappear from your records in seven years, there are definitive pros and cons to making this decision.
Pros of Academic Bankruptcy
Although academic bankruptcy may sound like a novel term, its ramifications may help you raise your community college GPA. When you declare academic bankruptcy, you essentially erase the grades of one entire semester or quarter. Subsequently, the grades that you received in the bankrupt semester will not be calculated towards your overall GPA. This can be a strategy for you to repair and boost your cumulative GPA
If you have lost your financial aid
eligibility because of a GPA that does not meet the minimum requirements, then declaring academic bankruptcy may help you regain your financial aid
more expeditiously. However, you should discuss this situation individually with your community college’s financial aid office before making the decision.
Cons of Academic Bankruptcy
While the grades of a particular quarter or semester are erased, your transcript will include a notation that you have declared academic bankruptcy. In addition, although the grades you earned during that particular semester will not count towards your overall GPA, the work (and earned grades) may still be included on your transcript, depending upon your community college’s policies.
If you are planning to transfer to a four-year university
, it may be wise to include in your application a supplementary statement discussing the circumstances surrounding your academically bankrupt quarter or semester. In addition, keep in mind that not all universities will accept your academic bankruptcy, meaning they may calculate your entire GPA inclusive of the bankrupt semester. In this scenario, for a community college student transferring to a four-year institution, declaring academic bankruptcy may not provide you with many benefits.
Keep in mind that future employers who review your transcript will also see the notation of academic bankruptcy.
Of course, for the vast majority of community colleges, all of the classes that you took during the academically bankrupt quarter or semester will not count as credit towards your major or graduation requirements
. You will need to retake these classes in order to earn the course credits.
In addition, you cannot academically bankrupt a portion of your semester’s coursework. The entire semester must be declared academically bankrupt. Thus, even if you earned A’s in two of your courses, this performance and its course credits will be wiped from your transcript as well.
Financial Ramifications of Academic Bankruptcy
Special consideration should be given to students who are receiving financial aid
. Before you make your decision to declare academic bankruptcy, it is critical that you first speak with your community college’s financial aid office to determine what the ramifications will be. The bankruptcy may impact your future eligibility for financial aid.
For most community colleges, however, the course hours will be credited towards your minimum requirements of progress.
When Should You Declare Academic Bankruptcy?
Keep in mind that some community colleges only allow students to declare academic bankruptcy once. You should check with your academic counselor to determine your campus’ specific policies.
You should choose your timing wisely regarding your academic bankruptcy declaration. For example, if you experienced abnormal health problems during the semester, you changed majors dramatically, or if a family situation caused you unusual duress, then these circumstances may have impacted your usual performance and could be solid grounds for academic bankruptcy. If, however, you are simply a freshman who was adjusting to the community college life
and earned a range of grades from A’s to C’s, then you may want to “save” your academic bankruptcy for another point in the future that may be direr.
In addition, keep in mind that you typically do not need to exhibit haste in wiping an entire semester’s slate clean. For most community colleges, you can declare academic bankruptcy for any semester simply before graduation. Others will allow you up to three calendar years since the semester in question to declare bankruptcy. Therefore, before you graduate, you can review your academic performance over the last several years and choose your worst performing semester to bankrupt.
How to File for Academic Bankruptcy
In making the decision to file for academic bankruptcy, it is highly recommended that you first consult with both an academic counselor
, as well as a financial aid officer. Making the decision to academically bankrupt a semester is not one to be taken lightly.
Once you have made the decision to utilize academic bankruptcy, you will file a petition with the Dean’s Office at your community college, although this may vary from campus to campus. The petition will be reviewed for eligibility, and you will be notified regarding the approval or disapproval of your academic bankruptcy.
Every community college outlines its own policies, regulations, and guidelines regarding academic bankruptcy. Meeting with your college counselor is the first step in determining if academic bankruptcy should be a route you choose to take.