While the general rule is that you have to be a citizen of the United States to receive Federal Student Aid (FSA), financial aid for international students may be available if they qualify as “eligible noncitizens”. Students seeking financial aid for international students fall into an eligible noncitizen category if they satisfy one of the following requirements.
Who has eligible non-citizen status for FSA?
- Noncitizen nationals – If you are a native of Swain’s Island or American Samoa then you are a national of the USA and should be eligible for FSA.
- Lawful permanent residents (LPR) – noncitizens who have the legal right to live and work in the USA on a permanent basis
- Refugees – although they are regarded as having temporary status, refugees may apply for permanent residency
- Asylum seekers – if you are an asylum seeker who has been a granted asylum you will be entitled to work for a year. At the end of that period you may seek permanent status.
- Paroled individuals – if you have been paroled into the US for a minimum of one year and can provide evidence that you intend to apply for permanent resident
- People entering the US who are Cuban-Haitian
Two former eligible noncitizen categories have been revoked. You will not be eligible for FSA if you have been allowed to remain in the US under the Family Unit Program or are living and working in the Special Agricultural Worker or Legalization program.
Financial aid for international students – the next step
Financial aid for international students is a complex area. As soon as possible you should consult your proposed college about your status, eligibility, and the procedure for applying.