Eligibility for Federal and State Financial Aid Programs

To be eligible for Federal and State financial aid programs, students must:

  • be accepted as a student in an eligible associates, bachelors, or graduate degree program
  • be making satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes
  • have a high school diploma, General Education Development (GED) certificate, have successfully completed at least 6 college level credits applicable toward a degree, or received a minimum score on a federally approved ability-to-benefit test
  • be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen (this includes green card holders).
  • have a valid Social Security Number.
  • register with Selective Service if required.
  • not be in default on a previously awarded student loan or owe a refund on a previously awarded grant.

Different types of financial aid may have additional eligibility criteria.
Many forms of financial aid are available for students in study abroad programs as well.

Citizenship

You must be a citizen, a permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen to complete the FAFSA.
If you are a citizen, permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen, but your parent is not, you can still complete the FAFSA. Simply use 000-00-0000 for your parent’s social security numbers to indicate that he/she does not have a social security number. When completing the FAFSA, the form may ask you to double check if this information is correct – simply click yes if you are asked.

Eligible non-citizens must have 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.)

Selective Service

In order to be eligible for federal student aid you must register with the Selective Service if:

  • you are a male born on or after Jan. 1, 1960, and
  • you are at least 18 years old, and
  • you are not currently on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands or the Republic of Palau are exempt from registering.
If you have not already registered for selective service and are required to do so, you can register when completing your FAFSA online or on the Selective Service website at www.sss.gov.

Drug Convictions and Financial Aid Eligibility

According to federal regulations, students convicted for a drug offense that occurred during a period of enrollment while they were receiving Title IV Federal Financial Aid, may lose eligibility for Federal Aid.

If a student answers ‘Yes’ to question 31 on the FAFSA, they will be sent a worksheet by the federal processing center in order to determine if the conviction affects eligibility for aid. Should the financial aid office be notified that a student has been convicted of sale or possession of illegal drugs, the financial assistance will be suspended immediately.
If a conviction was reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record it does not count. Convictions occurring during periods of non-enrollment do not count. In addition, any conviction received as a juvenile does not count, unless they were tried as an adult.
The period of ineligibility is dependent upon the type of conviction (sale or possession) and if there were previous offenses. The chart below demonstrates the periods of ineligibility:

Possession of Illegal Drugs

1st Offense: 1 year from date
of conviction
2nd Offense: 2 years from date
of conviction
3+ Offenses: Indefinite period

Sale of Illegal Drugs

1st Offense: 2 years from date
of conviction
2nd Offense: Indefinite period

If the student was convicted of both selling and possessing illegal drugs, they will be ineligible for the longer period.

Regaining Eligibility

The student may regain eligibility:

  • the day after the period of ineligibility ends,
  • when they successfully complete a qualified drug rehabilitation program, or
  • if the student passes two unannounced drug tests given by a qualified rehabilitation program they may regain eligibility.

Students denied eligibility for an indefinite period can regain it after:

  • successfully completing a rehabilitation program as described below,
  • passing two unannounced drug tests from such a program, or
  • if a conviction is reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record so that fewer than two convictions for sale or three convictions for possession remain on the record.

In such cases, the nature and dates of the remaining convictions will determine when the student regains eligibility.

Qualified Drug Rehabilitation Program

A qualified drug rehabilitation program must include at least two unannounced drug tests and must satisfy at least one of the following requirements:

  • Be qualified to receive funds directly or indirectly from a federal, state, or local government
  • Be qualified to receive payment directly or indirectly from a federally or state-licensed insurance company
  • Be administered or recognized by a federal, state, or local government agency or court
  • Be administered or recognized by a federal or state-licensed hospital, health clinic, or medical doctor.

Additional drug convictions will make the student ineligible for federal aid again.

It is the student’s responsibility to certify to the school that they have successfully completed the rehabilitation program.