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Determining Federal Eligibility

Students must meet basic eligibility criteria to qualify for any type of federal student aid (grants, work-study, and loans). The type of aid for which you are eligible may vary by program, but students must complete the FAFSA to verify that they meet all of the federal aid requirements to be considered for federal resources.

Basic Eligibility requirements state that you must:

  • be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen
    • A U.S. national (includes natives of American Samoa or Swains Island), U.S. permanent resident (who has an I-151, I-551 or I-551C [Permanent Resident Card]), or an individual who has an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) showing one of the following designations:
      • "Refugee"
      • "Asylum Granted"
      • "Cuban-Haitian Entrant (Status Pending)
      • "Conditional Entrant" (valid only if issued before April 1, 1980)
      • Victims of human trafficking, T-visa (T-2, T-3, or T-4, etc.) holder 
      • "Parolee" (You must be paroled into the United States for at least one year and you must be able to provide evidence from the USCIS that you are in the United States for other than a temporary purpose and that you intend to become a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.) 
  • have a valid Social Security number (with the exception of students from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau);
  • be registered with Selective Service, if you’re a male (you must register between the ages of 18 and 25);
  • be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student in an eligible degree or certificate program;
  • be enrolled at least half-time to be eligible for Direct Loan program funds
  • sign the certification statement on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid(FAFSA®) form stating that
    • you are not in default on a federal student loan,
    • you do not owe money on a federal student grant, and
    • you will use federal student aid only for educational purposes; and
  • show you’re qualified to obtain a college or career school education by
    • having a high school diploma or a recognized equivalent such as a General Educational Development (GED) certificate;
    • completing a high school education in a homeschool setting approved under state law (or—if state law does not require a homeschooled student to obtain a completion credential—completing a high school education in a homeschool setting that qualifies as an exemption from compulsory attendance requirements under state law); or
    • enrolling in an eligible career pathway program and meeting one of the "ability-to-benefit" alternatives outlined by the Office of Financial Aid
  • Undergraduate students may also need to demonstrate financial need, the difference between the cost of attendance established for their enrollment and their EFC as determined by the FAFSA.

Additional eligibility requirements can apply in certain situations including for non-US Citizens, students with criminal convictions and students with intellectual disabilities. Additionally, some federal student aid programs have their own eligibility criteria in addition to the general requirements listed above. Please contact our office if you have any questions about a particular program.