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Federal student aid eligibility for non-U.S. citizens

On Behalf of | May 2, 2023 | Immigration

Many Mississippi residents prioritize higher education and rely upon federal student aid to help with the rising costs of college education. Both U.S. citizens and non-citizens may qualify for federal aid under certain conditions.

Eligibility for non-citizens

Not all non-citizens qualify for federal student aid. Immigrants without U.S. citizenship must fit into one of the following categories to obtain financial aid from the U.S. federal government:

  • Obtain U.S. permanent residency and possess a “green card”
  • Hold a T-visa, reserved for victims of human trafficking and their children
  • Hold an I-94 refugee or asylum status
  • Qualify under the Violence Against Women Act as a victim of domestic abuse

Certain countries of origin may also provide eligibility for federal aid. If you came to the U.S. from the following locations, you may qualify:

  • Cuba
  • Haiti
  • Republic of Palau
  • Micronesia
  • Republic of the Marshall Islands

FAFSA form guidelines

Anyone wanting federal student aid must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Some non-citizens may find the questions challenging. Keep these tips in mind when filling out the FAFSA form:

  • Always select the eligible noncitizen option.
  • The government will not consider the parents’ immigration status when considering financial aid.
  • Parents without social security numbers can enter their numbers as all zeros.

Ineligibility for financial aid

Anyone currently applying for permanent residence using the forms I-171 or I-464 does not qualify for federal aid. Additionally, certain visas that allow students to study in the U.S. do not provide eligibility for federal aid. These visas include student visas and exchange visitor visas. These students may qualify for university-based aid and should discuss that possibility with their financial aid office.

One of the major requirements for federal financial aid involves filling out the forms correctly. Ensure you check your forms thoroughly during the application process to ensure you provide only accurate information.

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