FAFSA Myth #3, Only Young People Receive Financial Aid

There is no age requirement for applying for financial aid.  Aid determination is based on your financial need and a few other areas, none of which are based on age.  The US Department of Education, lists the following as requirements for FAFSA:

1.)   You must be a United States citizen or eligible noncitizen of the United States with a valid Social Security Number (SSN).

2.)   You must have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate, or have completed homeschooling. If you don’t, you may still be eligible for federal student aid if you were enrolled in college or career school prior to July 1, 2012. Go to here for additional information.

3.)   You must enroll in an eligible program as a regular student seeking a degree or certificate.

4.)   You must be making satisfactory academic progress.

5.)   If you are a male between the ages of 18 and 25, you must register or already be registered with Selective Service. You must also register if you are not currently on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces. If you are a citizen of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands or the Republic of Palau you are exempt from registering (see www.sss.gov for more information).

6.)   If you were convicted for the possession or sale of illegal drugs for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid (such as grants, loans, or work-study), you must complete the Student Aid Eligibility Worksheet to determine if you are Eligible for aid or Partially Eligible for aid.

7.)   You must not owe a refund on a federal grant or be in default on a federal education loan.

8.)   You must have financial need (except for unsubsidized Stafford loans).

There are further definitions that you need to be aware of within these eight requirements.  For example, you need to understand with “satisfactory academic progress” is (see FAFSA Myth #2 for more information on this).  You’ll also need to know what an “eligible program” is, which typically is related to the accreditation of the college or school.

That said, an adult returning to college after being in the work force for several years, need not fear that age is a disqualification for receiving financial aid.  In fact, you’ll find many 30+ year-olds at your typical community college.  With many colleges going online, this age level increases by accommodating the busy adult.  Consider Indiana’s Western Governor’s School that offers some 50 degrees online.  Their average student is 37 years-old, a far cry from the typical 18-21 year-old crowd that we think of on a college campus.

For free information on the financial aid process, download the manual at www.maxfinaid.com.

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