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Basic Eligibility Criteria for Receiving FSA

Basic Eligibility Criteria for Receiving FSA


By Ryan Laspina
Analyst, Red Flags and External Reviews at APUS

To receive Federal Student Aid (FSA) funding, you must meet basic FSA eligibility criteria mandated by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). FSA funding includes grants, loans and work-study programs.

FSA Eligibility Criteria Include Citizenship Requirements and Financial Need

The basic eligibility requirements that you must meet to receive FSA include the following:

  • For most programs, you must demonstrate financial need. The Pell Grant, Federal Work Study and subsidized loans are a few of the need-based FSA programs. To demonstrate financial need, you will need to fill out your Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) accurately and honestly, so that your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) can be easily determined.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen.
  • If you are a U.S citizen, you must possess a valid Social Security card (excluding those from the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau).
  • If you are a male between 18 and 25 years old, you must be registered with the Selective Service. To register for the Selective Service, call 1-888-655-1825, visit sss.gov or register via the FAFSA.
  • For loans in the Direct Loan program, you must be enrolled at least half-time.
  • You must have completed high school or its equivalency.
  • You must sign the certification statement on the FAFSA that you are not currently in default on a student loan and that you will use FSA for educational purposes only.
  • You must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) each semester you are in school.

All of these eligibility requirements must be met before you can receive your FSA financial aid package.

Also, make sure you fully understand the SAP policy if you are utilizing FSA at your school. Failure to maintain SAP will result in a loss of eligibility for FSA.

FSA Eligibility Must Be Maintained throughout Your Academic Program

Throughout the course of your time in school, you must continue to maintain your FSA eligibility. Otherwise, your FSA funding can be lost.