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General Eligibility Criteria for Federal Student Aid

A student must:

·        Demonstrate financial need;
 ·        Be a student enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an eligible program at an eligible institution;
·         Have a high school diploma or a GED certificate, pass an approved ability to benefit test (ATB), enroll in a school that participates in an approved state
process, or complete their state’s requirements applicable to home schooling;
·         Be a U.S. citizen or national, or an eligible non-citizen;
·         Have a valid, correct Social Security Number (SSN)—with the exception of students from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of
Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau;
·         Register for at least six credits to be eligible for Direct Loan program funds;
·         Not be simultaneously enrolled in elementary or secondary school;
·         Not be in default of a Federal loan or owe an overpayment on a federal grant or Federal Perkins Loan;
·         Not have borrowed in excess of the annual or aggregate loan limits;
·         Be in good academic standing and maintaining satisfactory progress towards completing a degree
·         Provide documentation to verify the information on the FAFSA, if it’s requested.

 In addition, a student’s eligibility for federal funds may be affected by such factors as:

  • Prior degrees earned

  • Enrollment status

  • Remedial course work

  • Correspondence study

  • Study by telecommunications

Student aid is awarded on the basis of need. Need is the difference between the student's estimated cost of attendance including but not limited to tuition, fees, books, transportation, housing and the amount the student and/or his family can afford to pay. For federal student aid programs, a federally approved formula is used to determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) which is a measure used to calculate the amount that a family is expected to pay toward educational expenses.

 The formula calculates the EFC by considering:
·         Your total family income and benefits
·         Tax-filing status
·         The number of people in your family
·         The number of family members in college
·         Some of your family’s assets
·         The formula recognizes that only a portion of your and your family’s income and assets may be considered available for educationally related expenses
·         And your dependency status - certain questions on your financial aid application(s) will help determine whether you are a dependent student and must report your parents’ income and resources along with your own, or an independent student who reports only your own (and your spouse’s) income and resources.  

Financial aid applications are subject to a federal confirmation process called, Verification.

Verification is the process your school uses to confirm that the data reported on your FAFSA form is accurate. If you are selected for verification, your school will request additional documentation that supports the information you reported. 

Being selected for verification does not necessarily mean that you did something wrong. All you need to do is provide the additional documentation your school requests; be sure to do so by the school’s deadline, to ensure that you are considered for financial aid. 

Failure to comply with the verification process will render the applicant ineligible for federal student aid.