To be eligible for federal student financial aid, you must meet all of the following criteria:
- Be a United States citizen or eligible noncitizen.
- Have a high school diploma or a GED certificate.
- Enroll in an eligible program as a regular student seeking a degree or certificate.
- Register (or have registered) with the Selective Service if required.
- If you are a man ages 18 through 25 and living in the U.S., then you must register with Selective Service. It’s the law. According to law, a man must register with Selective Service within 30 days of his 18th birthday. Selective Service will accept late registrations but not after a man has reached age 26. You may be denied benefits or a job if you have not registered.
- Have a valid Social Security number. NOTE: When you complete the FAFSA, Federal Student Aid will run a program to check your name and social security number against the Social Security Administration’s database. If you have legally changed your last name, please update your records with the Social Security Administration.
- Meet satisfactory academic progress standards.
- Not be in default on any federal student loan nor owe an overpayment on a federal student grant.
- Have not exceeded the lifetime aggregate or annual loan limits. Transfer students need to be aware that these are lifetime limits and carefully schedule their courses so that they do not run out of federal student aid eligibility before graduation .
Changes in Eligibility: Federal financial aid is awarded based on an estimate of your eligibility. The Office of Student Financial Aid may have to cancel or reduce financial aid before or after disbursement based on new information that becomes available after the time of awarding or disbursement.
Maintaining Eligibility: In addition to meeting the general requirements for applying for federal aid, students must also meet the requirements of the college's Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards. These standards, which comply with U.S. Department of Education regulations, are intended to establish minimum, reasonable levels of advancement toward degree completion and to guard against abuse of federal financial aid programs. Satisfactory progress requirements for receipt of federal financial aid are separate and distinct from the university's academic progress requirements for academic continuance.
You Must Annually File a New FAFSA When you fill out the FAFSA, you are applying for aid for a specific year. In order to receive aid the next year, you’ll need to submit that next year’s FAFSA. Luckily, the FAFSA website makes it easy for you by allowing you to submit a Renewal FAFSA that remembers certain information you reported the year before and places it in your new FAFSA
Forfeiting Your Eligibility to Receive Federal Student Aid
- Be advised that a conviction for any offense, during a period of enrollment for which a student is receiving Title IV financial aid, under any federal or state law involving the possession or sale of illegal drugs will result in the loss of eligibility for any Title IV grant, loan, or work assistance.
- You are not eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant if you are incarcerated in a federal or state penal institution or are subject to an involuntary civil commitment upon completion of a period of incarceration for a forcible or nonforcible sexual offense.