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Office of Financial Aid


Eligibility for most federal student aid is based on financial need and on several other factors.

The most basic eligibility requirements to receive federal student aid are that you must

  • be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen
  • have a valid Social Security number
  • maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) in college or career school
  • Enrolled or completing a minimum of six credit hours (undergraduate) and five credit hours (graduate) or equivalent course work toward a degree or certificate
  • not owe a refund on a federal student grant or be in default on a federal student loan

Incarcerated Students

Students incarcerated in federal and state penal institutions aren’t eligible for Pell Grants. However, students incarcerated in local penal institutions can still receive Pell Grants. Students incarcerated by jurisdictions defined as a state in the law (such as the District of Columbia) are considered to be incarcerated in a state penal institution and aren’t eligible for Pell Grants. A student isn’t considered incarcerated if he or she is in a halfway house or home detention, or sentenced to serve only on weekends. The costs of attendance for incarcerated students are limited to tuition and fees and those books and supplies specifically related to the student’s course of study.