Start the 2016-2017 FAFSA Tutorial: The FAFSA in 7 Easy Steps
Follow this step-by-step tutorial (with images) to learn how to fill out your FAFSA quickly and correctly to see if you're eligible for college financial aid.
General Eligibility Requirements for Federal Student Aid
Students must satisfy several requirements before being eligible to receive federal student aid. These include citizenship requirements, earning a high school diploma or the equivalent and being enrolled as a regular student in an eligible degree or certificate program at an eligible college or university. There may also be program-specific requirements concerning demonstrated financial need, enrollment status and credit criteria. Financial aid may also be subject to annual and cumulative limits.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
To retain eligibility for financial aid, the student must be making progress toward an academic degree or certificate, as described in the college’s satisfactory academic progress policy. This policy usually requires the student to maintain at least a minimum grade point average (GPA) and to be earning enough credits (passing enough classes) to be on track to graduate within 150% of the normal timeframe.
Student Citizenship Status on the FAFSA
To receive federal student financial aid and state grants, students must be U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens. The student is eligible even is his or her parents are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents.
Simplified Needs Test and Auto-Zero EFC
There are two simplified versions of the FAFSA. The Simplified Needs Test disregards all asset information and the Auto-Zero EFC sets the student’s EFC to zero.