Q: How do I know if I am eligible for federal student loans?
A: Most individuals are eligible for some type of federal financial aid for college, including federal student loans. However, the only way to find out if you qualify for federal financial aid is to complete a FASFA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). FAFSA is your gateway to all federal financial aid for college, including federal student loans, so you must file a FAFSA before the deadline for the current academic year to be considered for federal financial aid. After filing your FAFSA you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR), which will list your EFC (Expected Family Contribution). Generally, the lower your EFC, the more financial aid you will receive. You can file a FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov. Federal financial aid will be based on your financial need, and not your credit, so having poor, little, or zero credit history will not harm your chances of receiving or qualifying for federal student loans.
Eligibility for federal student loans is determined by many factors, the largest being the students financial need. The financial aid administrator at your college or high school will be able to best assist you with all of your eligibility questions regarding Federal Student Loans, but listed below are the basic requirements you will need to meet in order to be eligible for federal student loans:
1. Qualify for financial need
2. Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate, or pass a test approved by the U.S. Department of Education
3. Be working toward a degree or certificate
4. Be enrolled in an eligible program
5. Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
6. Have a valid Social Security Number
7. Register with the Selective Service if required
8. Maintain satisfactory academic progress once in school
Under United States federal law, people who have been convicted under federal or state law of the sale or possession of drugs are not eligible for federal student aid. If you have a conviction or convictions for these offenses, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) to find out if, or how, this law applies to you. Even if you are ineligible for Federal Student Loans, the Education Department urges you to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, because you may be eligible for non-federal aid from your state and/or other private institutions.