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Eligibility for most federal and state student aid

Eligibility for most federal and state student aid is based on financial need and on several other factors. Each program has its own, more specific, eligibility requirements.

The following are the most basic eligibility (General Title IV Eligibility) requirements to receive federal and state financial aid:

  • You must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is filed each year and April 15 is the state of Indiana's deadline for state-funded programs.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen.
  • You must have a valid Social Security number and your name on the FAFSA must exactly match the name on your Social Security Card.
  • You must register (if you haven't already) with the Selective Service, if you're a male between the ages of 18 and 25.
  • You must maintain satisfactory academic progress.
  • You must have a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate.
  • You must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student at USI, working toward a degree or certificate in an eligible program.
  • You must follow enrollment requirements based on the types of financial aid for which you are eligible.
  • You must not be in default on a federal student loan and you must not owe money back on a federal student grant.

Note: When you complete the FAFSA, the U.S. Department of Education verifies some of your information with the following federal agencies:

  • Social Security Administration - verification of Social Security Numbers and U.S. citizenship status
  • Selective Service System - verification of Selective Service registration status, if applicable
  • Immigration and Naturalization Service - verification of eligible non-citizenship status, if applicable
  • Department of Justice - verification that a student has not been denied federal student aid by the courts as the result of a drug-related conviction
  • Veterans Administration - verification of veteran status, if applicable, for dependency status purposes

Length of Eligibility

Students who receive federal or state financial aid (including student and/or parent loans) are required to make satisfactory progress toward the completion of their degree or certificate program. Progress is measured by the number of credits successfully completed each semester and students' cumulative grade point average after each semester. The completion rate is generally the total of earned hours compared to total of attempted hours. Exceptions are made for students who fail to earn any credit in a term. In addition, students are limited to 150 percent of the published timeframe for their degree/certificate objective (measured in credit hours). This policy sets the minimum standards for evaluating reasonable academic progress for federal and state financial aid. View more information about the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.

You can receive the Federal Pell Grant for no more than six years or 12 semesters or the equivalent of 600 percent. You'll receive a notice from the Department of Education if you're getting close to your limit. For more information on how the 600 percent is determined visit the U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid website.

State of Indiana grant programs are limited to four years or eight semesters of full-time enrollment within a ten year eligibility period. Federal grant, loan and work study programs are limited to six years or 12 semesters of full-time enrollment, the equivalent part-time enrollment or any equivalent combination of part-time and full-time enrollment for students pursuing the first baccalaureate degree.

If you are a first-time borrower, there is a limit on the maximum period of time (measured in academic years) that you can receive Direct Subsidized Loans. This time limit does not apply to Direct Unsubsidized Loans or Direct PLUS Loans. If this limit applies to you, you may not receive Direct Subsidized Loans for more than 150 percent of the published length of your program. This is called your 'maximum eligibility period.' This is calculated differently from the 150 percent Maximum Timeframe for the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy. Visit the U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid website for more information about the limit on Direct Subsidized Loans.