Eligibility for Federal Student Aid
With the exception of the Federal Pell Grant, in order to receive Federal Student Aid students must be enrolled in at least 6 credits (half-time status). If a student drops below half-time before federal aid disburses, the financial aid office will cancel any pending federal aid. Additionally, if a student is less than half-time OR withdrawn for more than the duration of his or her grace period, the student will be expected to begin repaying any existing loans. Dropping below half-time may also affect the amount of private loan aid students are eligible to borrow.
NOTE: Withdrawing or dropping courses may affect your ability to meet federal satisfactory academic progress requirements (see Academic Progress). If you decide to drop courses or withdraw, be sure to contact the financial aid office to find out how changes to your enrollment will affect you.
New for 2012-2013
Repeated Courses and Awarding of Aid
Due to a change in federal regulations, the policy on repeated courses, for purposes of being awarded aid, has changed this year.
Courses for which a student has already received a passing grade ("D" or better) can only be repeated one additional time to be considered part of the student's enrollment for that particular semester. If a student is enrolled in a semester and his schedule includes a course that was previously passed two times, that course will not be counted towards enrollment for financial aid purposes for that semester, and aid may be adjusted accordingly.
EXAMPLE: A Physics major takes Calculus I and earns a "D" grade. Because Physics majors must pass Calculus I with a "C" or better, the student retakes the class and again earns a "D". The student enrolls for 12 credits the following term, including taking Calculus I for a third time. Under the new federal guidelines, the Financial Aid Office can only award aid based on 9 credits because the Calculus I class is being taken for a third time, with two previous passing grades for the class.
In order to be eligible for federal financial aid, a student must meet one of the following criteria:
- A U.S. citizen or national (by birth or naturalization)
- Persons (except for the children of foreign diplomatic staff) born in the 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and in most cases, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands, as are most persons born abroad to parents (or a parent) who are citizens, are considered U.S. citizens.
- Natives of American Samoa and Swains Island are not U.S. citizens but are nationals and therefore may receive federal student aid funds.
- A U.S. permanent resident
- Citizens of the Freely Associated States: the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republics of Palau and the Marshall Islands
- Other eligible noncitizens
The student should have an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94 Form) from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or other documentation to prove s/he is an eligible noncitizen. The classes of noncitizens are as follows:
- Refugee: Have Form I-94 or I-94A annotated with a stamp showing admission under Section 207 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) or have an old Refugee Travel Document (Form I-571) or the new U.S. Travel Document mentioned above annotated with Refugee Travel Document Form I-571 (Rev. 9-2-03).
- Victims of Human Trafficking
- Asylees: Have an I-94 or I-94A with a stamp showing admission under Section 208 of the INA
- Conditional Entrants (valid only if issued before April 1, 1980): Have a stamp indicating the student has been admitted to the US as a conditional entrant (DHS stopped using this category after 3/31/80).
- Parolee: Have a stamp indicating that the student has been paroled into the US for at least one year, with a date that has not expired.
- Cuban-Haitian Entrant: Have a stamp on the face of the I-94 indicating the student has been classified as a Cuban-Haitian Entrant (Status Pending). This is valid even if the expiration date has passed.
If requested, acceptable documentation to verify your citizenship includes any one the following:
- A copy of your birth certificate showing you were born in the United States or
- A copy of a valid Form FS-240 (Consular Report of Birth Abroad) or
- A copy of a valid Form FS-545 (Certificate of Birth Issued by a Foreign Service Post) or
- A copy of a valid Form DS-1350 (Certificate of Report of Birth) or
- A copy of a valid Form N-560 or N-561 (Certificate of Citizenship) or
- A copy of a valid Form N-550 or N-570 (Certificate of Naturalization) or
- A copy of a valid INS Form I-551 (Permanent or Resident Alien Card) or
- A copy of your valid U.S. passport, which may be current or expired and must indicate your U.S. citizenship
NOTE: The only document that may be expired is the passport. All other forms must be valid and current.
Federal Student Financial Aid Penalties for Drug Law Violations
Federal law provides that a student who has been convicted of an offense under any federal or state law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving financial aid shall not be eligible to receive any federal or institutional grant, loan, or work assistance during the period beginning on the date of such conviction and ending after the interval specified in the following table.
|Possession of a Controlled Substance ||Ineligibility Period |
|First Offense ||1 year |
|Second Offense ||2 years |
|Third Offense ||Indefinite |
|Sale of a Controlled Substance ||Ineligibility Period |
|First Offense ||2 years |
|Second Offense ||Indefinite |
A student whose eligibility has been suspended based on a conviction for possession or sale of a controlled substance may resume eligibility before the end of the ineligibility period if:
- The student satisfactorily completes a drug rehabilitation program that:
- Complies with the criteria prescribed in the federal regulations; and
- Includes two unannounced drug tests;
- The student successfully passes two unannounced drug tests conducted by a drug rehabilitation program that complies with the criteria prescribed in the federal regulations; or
- The conviction is reversed, set aside, or otherwise rendered nugatory.