All students who may need financial assistance for college are encouraged to apply for aid. Even those who think they may not be eligible may be surprised. So make sure you apply. Eligibility depends upon a number of factors, including parental income and assets, the number of people the parents support, and the number of children attending college. Even if a student isn't eligible for grants, there are a number of loan programs available. Your eligibility will also be based on some additional factors. First, there are basic requirements that are not related to your financial need. To be eligible for most financial aid you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen (see the FAFSA for more detail).
- Be registered with Selective Service (if required).
- Be working toward a degree, certificate or eligible goal (like transfer).
- Not owe a refund on a federal grant or be in default on a federal educational loan.
- Be a high school graduate or have the equivalent of a high school diploma (like a GED) or pass the CHSPE (California High School Proficiency Examination).
- Not have been convicted of drug possession or sales in the recent past (see the FAFSA for more detail).
Then, your family income and assets and other financial factors are reviewed to see if you are financially eligible. Your eligibility is relative to the cost of college. For example, you might not be eligible for much money at a low cost college but you may be eligible for more money at an expensive college. And finally, you have to make progress towards your educational objectives to keep your financial aid eligibility while you are in college. The college financial aid office will explain eligibility to you and answer your specific questions.