The U.S. Department of Education has established certain basic eligibility requirements for all federal financial aid. Scholarship, Work-Study, and/or other loan programs may have different eligibility requirements.
Federal student aid eligibility requirements
- U.S. Citizen or permanent resident
- Be admitted to a degree program
- Selective Service registration
- Not be in default on a federal student loan or owe a refund on a federal grant program
- Make satisfactory academic progress towards the completion of your degree or certificate
- Be enrolled at least half-time (6 credits) in a degree-seeking program
- Have a high school diploma, a General Education Development (GED) or its equivalent
- No unresolved drug convictions
Note: All ineligible statuses must abide by the rules set forth in our "International" section, then may be eligible for certain private loans with a U.S. citizen as a cosigner.
Students with "Temporary Protected Status" stamped on the I-94 are not eligible for federal aid.
Loss of Eligibility Due to a Drug Conviction
A student who is convicted of a state or federal offense involving the possession or sale of an illegal drug that occurred while enrolled in school and receiving Title IV aid is not eligible for Title IV funds. [An illegal drug is a controlled substance as defined by the Controlled Substance Act and does not include alcohol and tobacco.]
Eligibility is based on the student's self-certification on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Convictions that are reversed set aside or removed from the student's record or a determination arising from a juvenile court proceeding do not affect eligibility and do not need to be reported by the student.
A student who is convicted of a drug-related offense that occurred while enrolled in school and receiving Title IV aid loses Title IV eligibility as follows:
For the Possession of Illegal Drugs
First offense: one year from the date of conviction.
Second offense: two years from the date of the second conviction.
Third offense: indefinitely from the date of the third conviction.
For the Sale of Illegal Drugs
First offense: two years from the date of conviction.
Second offense: indefinitely from the date of the second conviction.
A school must provide a student who loses Title IV eligibility due to a drug-related conviction with a timely, separate, clear, and conspicuous written notice. The notice must advise the student of his or her loss of Title IV eligibility and the ways in which the student may regain that eligibility.
Regaining Eligibility after a Drug Conviction
A student may regain eligibility at any time by completing an approved drug rehabilitation program and by informing the school that he or she has done so. A student regains Title IV eligibility upon successful completion of the program. A drug rehabilitation program is considered approved for these purposes if it includes at least two unannounced drug tests and meets one of the following criteria:
- The program received or is qualified to receive funds directly or indirectly under a federal, state, or local government program.
- The program is administered or recognized by a federal, state, or local government agency or court.
- The program received or is qualified to receive payment directly or indirectly from a federally or state licensed insurance company.
- The program is administered or recognized by a federally or state-licensed hospital, health clinic, or medical doctor.
If a student's Title IV eligibility is reinstated after a drug conviction, the maximum loan period that a school may certify is within the academic year during which the student regains eligibility-- the school may not certify eligibility prior to the date on which eligibility is regained. A student who loses eligibility during a loan period is immediately ineligible to receive subsequent disbursements of Title IV Federal Loan funds and is required to repay any Title IV funds received after the date he or she lost eligibility. Schools are not required to recalculate a student's loan amount.