Citizenship Status

A student must be a U.S. Citizen or an eligible noncitizen to receive federal student aid. To that end, a student must be one of the following:

  • A U.S. Citizen or national;
  • A U.S. permanent resident or other eligible noncitizen; or
  • A citizen of the Freely Associated States: the Federated State of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau and the Marshall Islands. These students can only receive aid from select FSA programs.

When determining citizenship status, the Department of Education (the Department) matches the social security number entered in the Free Applica­tion for Federal Student Aid (FSAFA) with the Social Security Administration (SSA). If he provides an alien registration number (ARN) on the FAFSA, his record is also sent to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to check noncitizen current immigration status. The results of both matches appear on the Institutional Student Information Report (ISIR), and a failed match with either agency will produce a C code on the student’s ISIR. A student’s citizenship status only needs to be checked once during the award year; if the status is eligible at that time, it remains so for the rest of the award year.

For additional information on citizenship status and regulations, please review Volume 1, Chapter 2 of the FSA Handbook which can be accessed at http://www.ifap.ed.gov/