Basic eligibility criteria
The general eligibility requirements are that you must:
- demonstrate financial need (for most programs);
- be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen;
- have a valid Social Security number (with the exception of students from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau);
- be registered with Selective Service, if you’re a male (you must register between the ages of 18 and 25);
- be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student in an eligible degree or certificate program;
- be enrolled at least half-time to be eligible for Direct Loan Program funds; and
- maintain satisfactory academic progress in college or career school.
You must sign the certification statement on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) stating that:
- you are not in default on a federal student loan and do not owe money on a federal student grant, and
- you will use federal student aid only for educational purposes; and
You must show you’re qualified to obtain a college or career school education by:
- having a high school diploma or a recognized equivalent such as a General Educational Development (GED) certificate;
- completing a high school education in a homeschool setting approved under state law (or—if state law does not require a homeschooled student to obtain a completion credential—completing a high school education in a homeschool setting that qualifies as an exemption from compulsory attendance requirements under state law);
- enrolling in an eligible career pathway program and meeting one of the "ability-to-benefit" alternatives described below.