FAQ about financial aid eligibility
When you file your FAFSA, some of your application information is verified with federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, Social Security Administration, Selective Service, Veteran's Administration and the National Student Loan Data System. If the information does not match, the discrepancy must be resolved before you can receive federal student aid.
- I defaulted on a federal student loan, can I receive financial aid?
If you defaulted on a federal student loan, you cannot receive further Title IV aid until you resolve the default. You can resolve the default in the following ways:
- Repay the loan in full or consolidate the loan — If a defaulted loan is successfully consolidated, it is counted as paid in full. However, if the loan holder writes off the entire loan, the loan is not paid in full, and you remain ineligible for Title IV funds.
- Make satisfactory repayment arrangements — After you make six consecutive voluntary payments on time, you may regain eligibility for Title IV funds. Voluntary payments are those made directly and do not include payments obtained by federal offset, garnishment or income/asset execution. You may regain eligibility under this option only once.
- We must have written documentation that you have made satisfactory repayment arrangements from the loan holder.
- Loan rehabilitation — Although you can regain eligibility for all federal student aid by making satisfactory repayment arrangements, the loan is still in default. A loan is rehabilitated once you make nine full, voluntary payments on time (no later than 20 days after the due date) within 10 consecutive months.
- After a loan is rehabilitated, you will not be in default anymore, and you will have all the normal loan benefits, such as deferments.
- Am I eligible to receive financial aid if I filed for bankruptcy?
- If you include a non-defaulted federal student loan in an active bankruptcy claim so that collection on the loan is stayed: You are eligible for aid as long as you have no loans in default (including the stayed loan).
- If you list a defaulted federal student loan or grant overpayment in an active bankruptcy claim: You are eligible for further federal student aid funds if you provide documentation from the holder of the debt stating it is dischargeable (NSLDS loan status code DO).
- If you have had a federal student loan or grant overpayment discharged in bankruptcy:
- You remain eligible for federal student loans, grants and work-study (NSLDS loan status code BC for loans that did not default and status code DK or OD for loans that defaulted prior to the bankruptcy discharge).
- You do not have to reaffirm a loan discharged in bankruptcy in order to be eligible. The Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1994 prohibits denial of aid based solely on filing for, or having a debt discharged in, bankruptcy.
Note: If you filed Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may have your loan discharged only if the bankruptcy court finds that repayment would impose undue hardship on you and your dependents.
- Am I eligible to receive aid if I had a loan discharged due to total and permanent disability?
If you had a prior loan discharged due to a total and permanent disability and wish to take out another federal student loan or wish to receive a TEACH grant, you must submit the following.
- Physician's Certification of Borrower's Ability to Engage in Substantial Gainful Activity Form
- Borrower's Acknowledgment of Ineligibility for Cancelation of Loans Form
If you are in the three-year post-discharge monitoring period:
- You must resume payment on the discharged loan before receipt of the new loan or TEACH grant.
- If you received a discharge based on a determination from the VA, you are not required to resume payment on the discharged loan.
If a defaulted loan was conditionally discharged and then reinstated:
- You must make satisfactory repayment arrangements before receiving federal student aid.
- Am I eligible for federal aid if I have borrowed over my federal loan limits?
You are not eligible for new aid until the overborrowing of loans has been resolved with satisfactory payment arrangements.
- You can sign an agreement acknowledging the debt and affirming your intention to repay the excess amount as part of the normal repayment process — this is called reaffirmation.
- A federal loan consolidation can also be considered a satisfactory repayment arrangement and acts the same as reaffirmation.
Contact your loan servicer for instructions to complete the reaffirmation process.
The reaffirmation process includes:
Either the institution or the student contacts the loan servicer and explains that the student has inadvertently overborrowed and wishes to reaffirm the debt.
The loan servicer sends the student a reaffirmation agreement.
The student reads, signs and returns to the reaffirmation agreement to the loan servicer.
The loan servicer sends the student confirmation that the reaffirmation agreement has been accepted. The student or loan servicer must provide a copy of the reaffirmation confirmation to the school.
The inadvertent overborrowing is considered to have been resolved as of the date the loan servicer receives the student’s signed reaffirmation agreement.
- How do I prove my citizenship status?
- Provide a copy of your U.S. birth certificate or a copy of your U.S. passport or passport card.
Provide a copy of one of the following documents:
- U.S. passport or passport card
- Certificate of Birth Abroad (FS-240, FS-545, or DS-1350)
- Certificate of Citizenship (N560, N561)
- Certificate of Naturalization (N550, N570)
U.S. permanent resident
Bring one of the following original documents to the financial aid office:
- Alien Registration Receipt/Resident Alien/Permanent Resident/Conditional Resident
- Permanent Resident card (I-551, I-94, I-94A)
- Foreign passport with I-551 endorsements
- Arrival/Departure Record I-94 with I-551 endorsements
We will send your documents to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for verification of your status. It may take up to eight weeks for DHS to respond back to us.
Other eligible non-citizen: I-94 designated as refugee, asylum granted, parolee, Cuban-Haitian entrant or conditional entrant
Bring the following original document to the financial aid office:
- Arrival/Departure Record (I-94, I-94A or I-571 with proper endorsements)
We will send your documents to DHS for verification of your status. It may take up to eight weeks for DHS to respond back to us.
Victim of human trafficking or battered immigrant — qualified alien
Provide a copy of one of the following documents:
- Eligibility letter from Health and Human Services (HHS) or a T-visa
- Notice of Action Form from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) (I-797) with a valid expiration date verifying financial aid eligibility
Note: If you are in the United States on an F1 or F2 student visa, you are neither a citizen nor an eligible non-citizen.This means you are ineligible for federal student aid.
- Why am I being asked about Selective Service registration?
Males born on or after January 1, 1960 must register with Selective Service to qualify for federal aid. The federal government may require students to verify registration. Financial aid cannot be provided without such verification.
To register or request a Status Information Letter:
- Go to the Selective Service website and select registration info.
If you were required to register, but did not:
- Submit an explanation describing your failure to register for selective service, including any extenuating circumstances and whether you knowingly or willfully failed to register as required by law. If you knowingly or willfully failed to register, you are ineligible for federal aid.
If you are a non-citizen who entered the U.S. after turning 26, or if you entered the U.S. as a lawful non-immigrant on a valid visa and remained in the U.S. when you turned 26 or older, submit the following to the financial aid office:
- A copy of your birth date from a driver’s license or state ID, birth certificate or passport.
- Documentation of immigration entry date into the U.S.
- For entry after age 26, include a date stamp on the I-94 form or a dated passport immigration stamp.
- For proof of status in the U.S. until age 26, submit a letter from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) indicating your entry date, a student visa form (I-20) or other valid U.S. passport visa stamp.
Note: A Resident Alien Card (Green Card) is not sufficient proof of date of entry.
- How do I prove my veteran status?
Qualifying veterans cannot have a dishonorable character of service listed from the military. If the Veterans Administration Office cannot confirm your status, you must submit a copy of one of the following documents:
- Report of Separation (DD Form 214)
- Official documentation (from your branch of military service) verifying your status of active duty.
For financial aid purposes, you are not considered a veteran if:
- You never served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
- You never were a cadet or midshipman at a service academy.
- You were or are in the National Guard or Reserves and were never activated for duty but served for training purposes.
- You served in the U.S. Armed Forces and were discharged dishonorably.
- You were an ROTC student.
- You are currently engaged in the U.S. Armed Forces, National Guard/Reserves in active duty.
- You are a cadet/midshipman and will not be discharged by end of the fiscal year.
- What does unusual enrollment mean?
The U.S. Department of Education has determined that you have received federal aid at multiple schools within a short period of time.
What is required?
We are required to review your academic records to confirm that when you received federal grants, you also earned credit hours.
- If we cannot confirm you have earned credits, we may ask you to submit a college transcript from each school you attended.
- If we confirm that you did not earn credits at one or more schools, you will be required to submit an explanation and supporting documentation. Check your requirements in Academica.
- You will also be required to submit an academic plan or a plan of work showing the courses you will take in order to graduate.
Will I lose my aid?
You may lose your aid eligibility if you cannot provide supporting documentation to prove you are using federal aid to earn a degree or complete an eligible program of study.
Use the unusual enrollment history form to demonstrate your eligibility.
If I lose my aid, how can I regain eligibility?
You can regain eligibility by completing the courses you attempt according to your academic plan in one semester of full-time enrollment or two semesters of at least half-time enrollment. You cannot receive financial aid if you have lost eligibility and aid cannot be reinstated retroactively.