FAFSA Requirements

Are you confused about FAFSA requirements? Fret not. In this article we will discuss the basic eligibility criteria, documents and information required, the specific program and application requirements, FAFSA GPA requirements and more..

Updated by Shrestha Dey on 2nd March 2020

Federal Student Aid, an office within the US department of education, reviews about 20 million applications for financial aid every year. All college students who are enrolled in eligible colleges qualify to apply for financial aid through FAFSA. You might qualify for financial aid if you fulfill all the FAFSA requirements. The requirements for financial aid are extensive and it is often confusing. In this article, we shall try and ease it out for you. 

Table of Contents:


What are the basic eligibility criteria for FAFSA

Following are the basic requirements to qualify for financial aid through FAFSA:

  • You must be a US citizen, a US national, a permanent resident or a non-eligible citizen 

  • You must have a valid Social Security Number

  • You should have a high school diploma or an equivalent of that such as GED or a state-approved homeschool high school education

  • You must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an eligible degree or diploma

  • If you are a male in the age group of 18 - 25 years of age, you must be enrolled with some selective service, unless you are already serving in the military


What are the Documents & Information Required For FAFSA

You must gather all the information and keep all your documents ready before you sit down to fill your FAFSA form. Following are the documents and information required :

  • Your Social security Card

  • Your Driving License (if you have one)

  • You and your parents' tax returns for 2019 in case you are applying for 2020-2021 academic session

  • You and your parents 2019 W-2 forms

  • You and your parents' untaxed income records for the year 2019

  • Current bank statements of your parents

On the FAFSA, there’s a section which will need you to certify the following information:

  • You are not in default on any federal student loan

  • You do not owe any funds on any federal student grant

  • You agree to use federal financial aid exclusively for educational purpose

  • You agree to not receive more than one Federal Pell Grant for more than one college for the same duration


What are the Federal Student Aid Application Requirements

The Application for Federal Student Aid requires you to fulfill the following criteria :

  • You will have to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on time

  • You must demonstrate financial need, if and where applicable. While some federal financial aid does not require any demonstration, there are some federal scholarships and grants like the Federal Pell Grant, Work-Study Program and Subsidized Direct Loans that require you to demonstrate financial need

  • If your FAFSA is selected by the college of your choice or the federal government for verification, you must comply with the verification process

  • You must sign a statement of educational purpose certifying that your grants shall be used for the sole purpose of education 


What are the Program Specific FAFSA Requirements

There are certain FAFSA requirements which are program-specific which are mentioned below:

  • If you already have a bachelor’s degree and you are on to your second bachelor’s degree, you may not be eligible for certain financial aid programs such as Federal Pell Grants, FSEOG and TEACH grant

  • You have to be enrolled for a program on at least half time basis in order to be eligible to receive certain federal financial aid

  • Federal Pell Grant is subject to a lifetime eligibility limit of the equivalent of 6 years i.e., 12 semesters


What are the FAFSA GPA requirements

Most of us are often confused about the GPA requirements for federal financial aid. Following are the requirements that would put to rest all the confusion around GPA limitations:

  • In order to be eligible to receive Federal Financial Aid and college financial aid, you have to maintain a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

  • You have to maintain at least a GPA of 2.0 on a scale of 4.0 i.e., you must have at least a C average 

  • Along with the GPA of 2.0, you must also pass enough classes making progress towards a degree


When are you not eligible for Federal Student Aid

You are not eligible to receive federal financial aid under the following circumstances:

  • If you have ever been incarcerated on sexual offense, you will not be eligible to receive federal financial aid

  • If you don’t submit the FAFSA each year you’re enrolled in a program, you will not be eligible to receive federal financial aid for that specific academic year

  • You will not be eligible for federal financial aid if you have already reached the maximum annual aggregate lifetime loan limits for unsubsidized or subsidized student loans

  • If you are convicted of possessing or selling illegal drugs while receiving financial aid, you will no longer be eligible for federal financial aid

Filing the FAFSA may feel like an exhaustive process but it is not something insurmountable. With the information detailed above, it is an achievable feat. Remember, FAFSA is a gateway to your dreams. Gather all the necessary information, be ready with all the documents and go ahead, fill the FAFSA already. You got this!

You can find the entire FAFSA Guide here