College costs a lot, and that means that students have to come up with money to afford those costs. The federal government is the largest source of financial aid for college students. Many college students end up taking out federal aid in some form. As such, there are rules and eligibility requirements students must follow in order to qualify for federal aid. That also means there are some things that can make you ineligible for federal aid. Below are just a few things that could prevent you from being eligible for federal financial aid:
Not Filing the FAFSA
In order to receive federal aid, you must demonstrate financial need. That need can be best calculated by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA can determine your EFC and how much additional funding you’d require to help make your education more affordable.
The FAFSA is used by more than just the government, however, as many private scholarships and loan programs also use the information to calculate the students’ need and how much aid they are willing to give that student. So file the FAFSA! It’s free. We also strongly encourage everyone to file the FAFSA, and we mean everyone. It doesn’t matter if you think you don’t qualify, do it anyway! There’s no harm, and filing the FAFSA opens you up to federal aid, and merit-based aid from colleges. There’s no downside to potentially getting more scholarships and grants.
Certain Criminal Convictions
It may come as no surprise that having a criminal record would impede one’s ability to get federal aid. Incarceration, misdemeanors, arrests, and more serious crimes can all affect a student’s aid. Smaller offences won’t necessarily cut off a student from all aid, but it will limit the programs they qualify for as well as the amount of aid they could receive. Larger offences can disqualify a student entirely.
Not a US Citizen / Permanent Resident
While there are certain non-citizens who are able to qualify for federal aid programs, most will require citizenship or a green card. Make sure you do some research to see what the citizenship requirements are for the various federal aid programs out there.
No Diploma or GED
In order to qualify for federal aid for college, a student must prove that they are capable of pursuing that higher education. Without a high school diploma, GED, state approved homeschooling program, or enrollment in an eligible career pathway program, you will not receive federal aid.
Not Registered With the Selective Service (if You’re a Male Student)
Male students between the ages of 18 and 25, who are not on active duty within the US military, must register with the Selective Service in order to be eligible for federal financial aid. There are few exceptions to this rule. Look on their website to learn what those exceptions are.
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