US Federal Government Financial Aid for Foreign Students
- Requirements to Receive Student Financial Aid from the US Federal Government
- Foreign Students / International Students Who Are Eligible for Financial Aid from the US Federal Government
- Foreign Students / International Students Who Are Not Eligible for Financial Aid from the US Federal Government
- Additional US Federal Government Student Financial Aid Information
Requirements to Receive Student Financial Aid from the US Federal Government
Some of the requirements to receive aid from federal (US national government) student financial aid programs are that you must:
- Be a US citizen or eligible noncitizen with a valid Social Security Number;
- Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate or pass an approved "ability to benefit" test;
- Enroll in an eligible program as a regular student seeking a degree or certificate; and
- Register (or have registered) for Selective Service, if you are a male between the ages of 18-25.
Foreign Students / International Students Who Are Eligible for Financial Aid from the US Federal Government
You must be one of the following to receive student financial aid from the US federal government:
- U.S. citizen
- U.S. national (includes natives of American Samoa or Swain's Island)
- U.S. permanent resident who has an I-151, I-551, or I-551C Green Card (Permanent Resident Card, formerly called Alien Registration Receipt Card)
If you are not in one of these categories, you must have an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) showing one of the following designations in order to be eligible:
- "Asylum Granted"
- "Indefinite Parole" and/or "Humanitarian Parole"
- "Cuban-Haitian Entrant, Status Pending"
- "Conditional Entrant" (valid only if issued before April 1, 1980)
- If you are in the United States on an F1 or F2 student visa only, or on a J1 or J2 exchange visitor visa only, you cannot obtain student financial aid from the US federal government.
- If you have only a Notice of Approval to Apply for Permanent Residence (I-171 or I-464), you are not eligible for federal student aid.
- Persons with G series visas (pertaining to international organizations) are not eligible for federal government student aid.
- For more details on eligibility as a foreign student / international student, see the Department of Education's publication on who is eligible to receive US federal government student financial aid (pdf).
- Citizens and eligible noncitizens may also receive loans from the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) and William D. Ford Direct Loan (Direct Loan) programs at participating foreign schools.
- Citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and Palau are eligible only for Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOGs), or Federal Work-Study. These applicants should check with their financial aid administrators for more information.