iStock_000000815982XSmallEligibility for most of the Federal student aid programs is based on FINANCIAL NEED. However,

in addition to having financial need, the Federal student aid programs require that a student recipient:

  • Have a high school diploma, a General Education Development (GED) certificate, or pass an independently administered examination approved by the Department of Education.
  • Enroll as a regular student in an eligible degree or certificate program.
  • Attend a college that participates in the Federal student aid programs.
  • Be a United States citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  • Have a valid Social Security Number.
  • Make satisfactory academic progress.
  • Register with the selective service, if required.
  • Must not owe a refund on a Federal grant or be in default on a Federal educational loan.
  • Sign a Statement of Updated Information, Anti-Drug Abuse Act Certification, Educational Purpose.

In order to qualify for Federal financial aid, the above criteria must also be met. The college of your choice may also have other specific requirements for use in determining eligibility for institutional aid. Be sure to ask the financial aid officer at each school you are considering what, if any, requirements the college has in addition to those outlined above.

The Higher Education Act of 1965, the law that governs student aid, states that it is the parents’ responsibility to educate their children beyond the 12th grade. However, more importantly, the law also states that if a family can demonstrate NEED, then the government will assist in paying for such an education.

The term NEED is not to be confused with “NEEDY”, which most people think they have to be to qualify for Federal, state and college financial aid.

It is very important that you know and understand the basic formula to demonstrate NEED and how the formula affects you. It is the basic framework that will determine how much aid you will receive at a given college.

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