When a student submits a FAFSA, the information provided is compared to data in several federal databases to confirm that the student meets certain eligibility requirements. If the student fails to clear all the checks then they are not eligible for federal aid until the corresponding issue has been resolved.
The information is sent to:
- The Social Security Administration to confirm citizenship and that the social security number, name and date of birth match
- The Selective Service System to confirm that males have registered as required
- The Department of Homeland Security to confirm eligible non-citizen status
- The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) to look for aid overpayments, loan defaults or discharges, bankruptcies, aggregate and lifetime aid limit issues
- The Department of Veterans Affairs to confirm veteran's status
- The Department of Defense to confirm active military duty status
Clearing Common Federal Holds
Selective Service Match
All males who are US citizens are required to register with selective service upon turning 18. Once a male turns 26 they are no longer able to register. Eligible non-citizens are also required to register if they were under the age of 26 when they were granted eligible non-citizen status.
If a male student fails to clear this check, they will need to provide proof of registration. If they cannot provide that, and are 26 or older, they will need to request a letter of determination from the Selective Service System. The letter is then submitted to the financial aid office, along with a written explanation as to why they did not register within the required timeframe. A decision will then be made by staff in the financial aid office as to whether the student will be eligible for federal aid.
Males who are at least 18 are given the opportunity to register for Selective Service on the FAFSA.
Not all US citizens have their citizenship status recorded in the Social Security Administration's database. If a student does not clear this check, they will be directed to provide proof of citizenship to their local Social Security office. Once their records have been updated there, they will need to notify the financial aid office so that the match can be performed again, clearing the hold.
Individuals who do not clear the eligible non-citizen checks will need to bring proof of their status to the financial aid office. Original documents (e.g. passport, alien registration card) are required. Photocopies or faxes are not acceptable.
Clearing Loan Defaults
If a student is in default on one or more student loans they typically have three options to clear the default:
- Pay the loan in full.
- Consolidate the student loan. Note: Loan consolidation can easily take three months before the default is cleared.
- Make six consecutive months of loan payments at the amount agreed upon with the loan servicer. Note: This reinstates aid eligibility but does not clear the default.
Loan Rehabilitation also clears a default. Like option three above it requires on-time payment of an amount agreed upon with the loan servicer, but in this case, it is for nine months and must be requested in advance.
Once a student has exercised one of the options above they must provide documentation from the loan servicer indicating the default has been cleared and/or eligibility for federal aid has been reinstated.
Many students have loan payments due to multiple servicers. All loans must be in good standing. A listing of a student's loan servicers, with contact information, and the status of each loan, is available by accessing the NSLDS database.
Students convicted of sale or possession of a drug while receiving federal financial aid are ineligible for federal aid for a set period of time unless they are able to document that they have completed an approved drug rehabilitation program that includes at least two random drug tests.
To have aid eligibility reinstated, the financial aid office must receive documentation from the rehabilitation facility indicating that the student completed the program and was subject to the administration of two random drug tests.
Students who are not able to complete an approved rehabilitation program can have their aid eligiblity reinstated. They must provide documentation showing the effective date of the conviction after they have completed the period of aid suspension.