Basic Federal Eligibility

To receive financial aid, a student must meet the following basic federal requirements. You may be asked to provide documentation to confirm your eligibility. If so, you will be given specific instructions of what documentation you will need to provide. We will not be able to provide you with a financial aid award offer until these eligibility requirements have been confirmed.


Eligible statuses are:

  • A U.S. citizen or national
  • A U.S. permanent resident
  • A citizen of the Freely Associated States: the Federated States of Micronesia and the republics of Palau and the Marshall Islands
  • Other eligible non-citizen. For specific questions regarding this category, please contact the Financial Aid Office.

Name, Social Security & Date of Birth Matches

The name, Social Security Number and date of birth that you provide on the FAFSA must match records of the Social Security Administration.

Selective Service

Men of ages 18 through 25 are required to register with the Selective Service System. If you are over the age of 25, you must have already registered, as the Selective Service will register only males age 18 through 25.

For information on those not required to register, or on the registration process itself, go to the Selective Service website.
Failure to Register
If you are over the age of 25 and did not register with Selective Service when you were required to, contact the Financial Aid Office for information on options for resolving your situation.

Defaults & Overpayments

Generally, a person is not eligible for federal student aid funds if he/she is in default on a federal loan or owes an overpayment on a federal grant or loan, and has not made a repayment arrangement for the default or overpayment.

Veteran Status

If you report on the FAFSA that you are a veteran, we must be able to confirm this with the Department of Veterans Affairs, or you may be asked to provide a copy of your honorable discharge papers (DD Form 214).

Drug Convictions

Disqualification Due to Drug Conviction

A federal or state drug conviction can disqualify a student from receiving federal financial aid, such as the Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loan and the Pell Grant. Loss of eligibility for federal financial aid can also make you ineligible for aid from the CSU, such as the State University Grant, or from the State of California, such as the Cal Grant.

Convictions only count if they were for an offense that occurred during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving federal financial aid—they do not count if the offense was not during such a period. Also, a conviction that was reversed, set aside, or removed from your record does not count, nor does one received when you were a juvenile, unless you were tried as an adult.

An illegal drug is a controlled substance as defined by section 102(6) of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801(6)), and does not include alcohol or tobacco.

Consequences of a Drug Conviction on Financial Aid Eligibility

If you lose eligibility for financial aid due to a conviction that occurs during a payment period, you immediately become ineligible to receive subsequent disbursements of any federal financial aid. If you receive financial aid during a period of ineligibility because you did not report your conviction correctly on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you must repay any funds received after the loss of eligibility. If you become convicted after having filed the FAFSA for an academic year, you must update your response to the drug conviction question using FAFSA on the Web at fafsa.gov.

The table below illustrates the period of ineligibility for financial aid, depending on whether the conviction was for sale or possession and whether you had previous offenses. A conviction for sale of drugs includes convictions for conspiring to sell drugs.

Period of Ineligibility due to Drug Conviction
Number of Offenses Possession of illegal drugs Sale of illegal drugs
1st offense 1 year from date of conviction 2 years from date of conviction
2nd offense 2 years from date of conviction Indefinite period
3+ offenses Indefinite period Indefinite period

Convictions for both possessing and selling illegal drugs will result in loss of eligibility for the longer period if the consequence for each conviction is different according to the table.

You can become eligible earlier than the period listed in the table if you complete an acceptable drug rehabilitation program or pass two unannounced drug tests administered by an acceptable drug rehabilitation program.

Dependency Status

When you fill out the FAFSA, you will answer a series of questions to determine whether you're considered a "dependent" or "independent" student. The federal Department of Education has certain criteria to determine dependency status. If you are under age 24, you are most likely dependent for financial aid purposes regardless of whether or not you live with your parents, whether or not you are claimed by your parents on their tax form, and whether or not you are receiving any financial support from your parents. Complete details about the criteria for being considered independent can be found in the "Browse Help" section of the FAFSA website, fafsa.gov.

If you're considered dependent, you must report your parents' income and assets on the FAFSA, as well as your own. If you're independent, you'll report only your own income and assets (and those of your spouse, if you're married).

In highly unusual cases, the Financial Aid Office can determine that a student who doesn't meet the above criteria should still be treated as an independent student. If you have reviewed the criteria for independent status and believe you may fall into this category, contact your Financial Aid Representative.

Compliance with Remediation

When students who are out of compliance with remediation requirements are given additional time to demonstrate compliance, a financial aid disbursement hold will be placed. If you have a disbursement hold for this reason, please be aware that no financial aid will be disbursed until you have demonstrated compliance. If you incur on campus housing charges and then are unable to demonstrate compliance, you must pay those charges out-of-pocket.