Learn about the eligibility criteria for the federal student aid programs.
Different types of aid (private scholarships, state grants, etc.) have different rules, called eligibility criteria, to determine who gets the aid. Here are the eligibility criteria for the federal student aid programs.
Basic Eligibility Criteria
Our general eligibility requirements are that you must
- demonstrate financial need (for most programs);
- be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen;
- 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;
- maintain satisfactory academic progress in college or career school;
- sign the certification statement on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) stating that
- you are not in default on a federal student loan and 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 described below.