Eligibility for Financial Aid

Admissions Status

If you are a new student you can apply for aid before you have started the admissions process; however, you must be admitted to receive aid. Additionally, once you complete a degree, if you want to continue enrollment and continue receiving financial aid, you must be admitted to a new degree or certificate program.


You must either be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen to be eligible for federal student financial aid. Generally, you are an eligible non-citizen if you are:

  1. A U.S. permanent resident and you have an Alien Registration Receipt card (I-551).
  2. A conditional permanent resident (I-551C).
  3. Any other eligible non-citizen with an Arrival-Departure record (I-94) from the Department of Homeland Security showing any of the following designations: “Refugee”, “Asylum Granted”, “Parole” (I-94 confirms paroled for a minimum of one year and status has not expired), or “Cuban-Haitian Entrant.”

If you are neither a citizen nor an eligible non-citizen, you are not eligible for federal student aid. However, you may be eligible for some scholarships or non-federal student loans.

Wondering if you’re eligible for financial aid? Most people are! Learn more about our criteria:

High School Diploma or its equivalent

To receive Title IV funds, students must be qualified to study at the postsecondary level, i.e., if they:

  • have a high school diploma (this can be from a foreign school if it is equivalent to a U.S. high school diploma);
  • have the recognized equivalent of a high school diploma✳️, such as a general educational development (GED) certificate or other state sanctioned test or diploma-equivalency certificate;
  • have completed homeschooling at the secondary level as defined by state law;
  • have completed secondary school education in a homeschool setting which qualifies for an exemption from compulsory attendance requirements under state law, if state law does not require a homeschooled student to receive a credential for their education; or
  • have completed one of the ability-to-benefit (ATB) alternatives and are either currently enrolled in an eligible career pathway program or first enrolled in an eligible postsecondary program prior to July 1, 2012.

✳️Recognized equivalents of a high school diploma

The Department recognizes several equivalents to a high school diploma:

  • A GED certificate;
  • a certificate or other official completion documentation demonstrating that the student has passed a state-authorized examination (such as the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) the High School Equivalency Test (HiSET), or, in California, the California High School Proficiency Exam) that the state recognizes as the equivalent of a high school diploma (certificates of attendance and/or completion are not included in this qualifying category);
  • an associate’s degree;
  • successful completion of at least 60 semester or trimester credit hours or 72 quarter credit hours that does not result in the awarding of an associate’s degree, but that is acceptable for full credit toward a bachelor’s degree at any institution; or
  • enrollment in a bachelor’s degree program where at least 60 semester or trimester credit hours or 72 quarter credit hours have been successfully completed, including credit hours transferred into the bachelor’s degree program.
  • for a student who enrolls without completing high school, a transcript indicating the student has excelled in high school. The student must no longer be enrolled in high school, must satisfy your school’s written policy for admitting such students, and must be starting a program that leads at least to an associate’s degree or its equivalent.

Note that merely possessing a certificate of attendance and/or high school completion is not sufficient for a student to be Title IV aid eligible. Such a certificate may be issued without a student having completed all of the academic graduation requirements, including passing any required examinations. A state must consider a certificate or high-school-completion-equivalency test as equivalent to a high school diploma in that state in order for it to be considered equivalent to a high school diploma for Title IV aid eligibility purposes.

Default or Repayment Status

If you are in default on a Federal Stafford/Direct or Perkins student loan you will not be eligible for federal aid. You may also not be eligible for other types of aid.

If you owe repayments on federal student grants you must repay in full or make satisfactory arrangements to repay before you regain eligibility.


Generally, you must maintain at least half time enrollment each term to be eligible for federal aid.  For more information on enrollment requirements, see our Disbursement Policy page.

Estimate Your Aid

If you’re not ready to apply for federal student aid, but you’d like to estimate your aid, try FAFSA4caster (en español).

FAFSA4caster gives you a free early estimate of your eligibility for federal student aid. This information helps families plan ahead for college. You must use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form to apply for aid once you’ve decided to apply for admission and attend college.

Need to know the out-of-pocket cost of attending your school of choice? Try the FAFSA4caster

Satisfactory Academic Progress

To remain eligible for federal aid, you must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress throughout your academic career at EOU.  For complete information, please see our Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy page.

Selective Service

Who must register for Selective Service?

Male students between the ages of 18-25 must be registered with the Selective Service to be considered for financial aid. This requirement covers both citizens of the United States and most other men residing in the U.S. If you need to register, you can do so HERE.

A man who is in the United States as a lawful non-immigrant isn’t required to register as long as he maintains that status.

Drug Convictions

If you have been convicted of possessing or selling illegal drugs, you may not be eligible to receive federal student aid. When completing the FAFSA, please follow the instructions pertaining to Question 31 (Drug Convictions).

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