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Don’t assume that you can’t get federal student aid

Many U.S. citizens and green-card holders use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for financing from the US federal and state governments to support their college education.

In general, international students are not eligible for the US government aid such as grants, loans, and work-study funds.  However, some non-U.S. citizens can get federal and state financial aid

Noncitizens who are eligible for Federal Student Aid

Please check with your college or the college that you are going to attend for more information. You are considered an “eligible noncitizen” if you fall into one of the categories listed below:

(The following content is excerpted from Federal Student Aid.)

1. You are a

  • U.S. national (includes natives of American Samoa or Swains Island) or
  • U.S. permanent resident with a Form I-551, I-151, or I-551C (Permanent Resident Card, Resident Alien Card, or Alien Registration Receipt Card), also known as a “green card.”

2. You have an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) showing*

  • “Refugee,”
  • “Asylum Granted,”
  • “Cuban-Haitian Entrant,”
  • “Conditional Entrant” (valid only if issued before April 1, 1980), or
  • “Parolee” (you must be paroled for at least one year, and you must be able to provide evidence from the USCIS that you are in the United States for other than a temporary purpose with the intention of becoming a U.S. citizen or permanent resident).

3. You hold a T nonimmigrant status (“T-visa“) (for victims of human trafficking) or your parent holds a T-1 nonimmigrant status. Your college or career school’s financial aid office will ask to see your visa and/or certification letter from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.*

4. You are a “battered immigrant-qualified alien” who is a victim of abuse by your citizen or permanent resident spouse, or you are the child of a person designated as such under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).*

5. You are a citizen of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, or the Republic of Palau. If this is the case, you may be eligible for only certain types of federal student aid:

Proof of non-U.S. citizen

To qualify for federal student aid, certain eligible noncitizens must be able to provide evidence from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services that they are in the United States for other than a temporary purpose with the intention of becoming a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

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