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Federal student aid eligibility requirements

August 06, 2007

Here are a few of the key things that help determine your eligibility:

U.S. citizen
In order to receive Federal Student Aid, you need to be either a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen. If you are an illegal immigrant in the United States, or if you don’t have proper documentation, you may need to look at other means of financing your education, since funds are not given to persons with illegal status.

Social Security number
To apply for Federal Student Aid, you’ll need a valid Social Security Number. In addition, you may also be asked to provide your parent’s Social Security Number. If you or your parents were not born in the United States, you may be able to use the information on your permanent residence card or your alien registration number.

Your education
There are also certain necessary educational requirements that you must meet in order to qualify for Federal Student Aid. You must get your high school diploma, General Education Development (GED) or another ability-to-benefit (ATB) test before enrolling in a college or university program. The school you wish to attend must also be a participant in Federal Student Aid programs. Check out your school’s Web site or admissions office for further information.

Selective service
When applying for Federal Student Aid, you may be asked to register with the Selective Service. This is a federal agency that can call upon people for compulsory military service.

Financial status
Unless you are applying for an unsubsidized Stafford loan, you will need to demonstrate financial need in order to qualify for Federal Student Aid. The information you submit in the application process determines how much you can receive based on your need. You must also be in good standing with any federal grants or other federal student loans.

Criminal record?
Lastly, you will need to be in good legal standing. If you have been convicted of certain drug charges, you will not be eligible to receive Federal Student Aid. For example, if you have been convicted of the selling or possession of illegal drugs, and it was a state or federal offense that occurred after you were 18 years old and the conviction remains on your record, you may not be eligible to receive Federal Student Aid.

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