Frequently Asked Questions on Student Aid Awards and Eligibility
If you are struggling with student financial aid eligibility questions, you are
not alone. There are about 8,000 aid programs, each with its own set of eligibility
requirements. Who can understand them all? Here are answers to some frequently asked
Why Am I Not Eligible for Some Student Aid Programs?
Here are some common reasons why students may not be eligible or may not receive
- Expected Family Contribution (EFC) – Many student aid programs
expected family contribution (EFC)
to determine eligibility. Your EFC may be too large for a specific program. For
example, to be eligible for the
your EFC must not exceed $4,995.
- Limited Funds – Aid awards are a competition for limited funds.
While you may meet the minimum eligibility requirements of a program, you may not
receive an award if there are other students who demonstrate a greater financial
- Enrollment Status – Programs such as
Direct Subsidized Loans
Direct Unsubsidized Loans
require that you be enrolled in college at least half-time to qualify for aid. If
you do not maintain the required enrollment status, you will not be eligible for
- Grade Level – Some aid programs are specific to the student's grade
level in college.
- Dependency Status – If you are an independent student, as defined
by the FAFSA, your parent or guardian will not be eligible for some aid, such as
- State of Residency – Many
state aid programs
are limited to full-time residents of the state. If you are not a resident, you
may not qualify for a state's aid program.
- Merit Requirements – To be eligible for some aid programs, students
must score at certain levels on achievement tests, such as the SAT or ACT.
- Type of College – The college(s) you selected must participate
in the program. Some programs are specific to public or private colleges.
Competition for aid is fierce. To receive aid from some programs, you must demonstrate
financial "need." Your "need" is determined by subtracting your expected family
contribution (EFC) from a college's
published cost of attendance.
Colleges will meet your "need" using various types of student aid.
How Am I Supposed to Pay the Costs That My Student Aid Package Doesn't Cover?
Your college may offer a
to cover the remaining costs, and there are a few
that offer loans for education expenses. You may also borrow from private lenders
but should only consider this alternative after the federal and state options, which
tend to offer better terms and interest rates. Need some help deciding which loan
to learn how to choose the best loan for you.