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I have an MD degree from a foreign institution. But because I got that foreign MD from an unaccredited medical school 30 years ago, I can't find a job in the U.S. Therefore, I decided to get at least a Nursing Degree to make my living. So, I applied to the local community college.

However, they would not transfer the courses that I took overseas because my diploma is too old (30 years + unaccredited school). They request that I retake all Nursing courses that they offer without any exception.

On the other hand, FAFSA doesn't give me the PELL grant, because I already have a Bachelor's. I have $0 income, so my foreign diploma is the only obstacle preventing me from getting the PELL grant.


The situation is outrageous ! ! ! I have a "quasi" Bachelor's diploma that I got 30 years ago, so I can't transfer the courses, because the school doesn't recognize the diploma. But on the other hand, my useless diploma makes me ineligible for the PELL. I read here that there might be an exception for me. I have to prove that my diploma is a piece of . . . , is that right ? :)

My understanding is:

  1. A school must either accept a foreign Bachelors degree, and transfer all the courses OR
  2. Consider a student for the PELL grant

It is completely illogical to both refuse to transfer the classes AND to deny the scholarship.

Is there anything I can do to get a PELL grant or otherwise resolve this situation?

  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it doesn't seem to have anything to do with personal finance, but rather education policies in the US – Rocky May 12 '15 at 22:47
  • I'm not certain, but "how can I get financial aid" feels on-topic to me. There are a reasonable number of questions with the fafsa tag already. – GS - Apologise to Monica May 13 '15 at 5:19
  • I have the actually same situation you have. I even need learn English from a lower level. I really want to know weather you found to fix it or not. – user30777 Jul 30 '15 at 21:40
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It's not clear what exactly your question is. The document you linked to says:

A student with a baccalaureate or professional degree is ineligible even if the degree is from an unaccredited school or is not recognized by your school.

It also says:

If the student provides written documentation that the foreign degree is not equivalent to a bachelor’s degree awarded in the United States, you may determine that he does not have a bachelor’s degree. Documents supporting such a conclusion may include information about the type of school the student attended and total years of education leading to the degree

The "you" there appears to refer to the school or the school's financial aid officer(s). This document says basically the same thing.

It seems clear that this can only be resolved by talking with the financial aid office of the particular school(s) you're interested in, and seeing if you can provide sufficient documentation to convince them that your degree is not equivalent to a US bachelor's degree. The quotes above suggest that simply convincing them the degree is of poor quality is not sufficient; you have to convince them it's not even in he same category.

You seem to think that a school must either accept your transfer credits or make you eligible for a Pell grant, but I don't think that's a reasonable position. Schools are free to accept or reject transfer credits for whatever reasons they like. Even setting aside foreign institutions, there are plenty of fly-by-night unaccredited schools within the US. The quotes above make it clear that if you get a degree from such a school, you won't be eligible for a Pell grant.

In any case, there is no concrete remedy that anyone here can offer. You need to talk with an actual financial aid counselor at an actual school to determine your financial aid eligibility at that particular school.

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