Eligibility For Financial Aid

Eligibility for Financial Aid

This page explains requirements for receiving federal financial aid and how the amount of aid is determined. Students apply for aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at fafsa.ed.gov. Eligible students receive financial aid funds at the beginning of each term.

A student’s eligibility for aid refers to:

  • whether or not the student meets the requirements to receive funds for college
  • the amount of available aid the student is eligible to receive

The federal government is a primary source of financial aid for many college students. Students must meet the following requirements to be eligible for federal aid:

  • Have a High School Diploma, a GED, or an Equivalent Home-School Program, OR if they did not graduate from High School, then they need to have completed 60 transferable units towards a Bachelors Degree, OR have completed an Associates Degree. Note – There is a grandfathering clause for students who attended a post-secondary institution prior to 7-1-12.
  • Be admitted and enrolled to a degree program. Students must enroll at least half-time and be working toward a degree or combined degree/certificate. Students enrolled in a certificate-only program are not eligible for federal aid, including loans.
  • Demonstrate financial need through their financial aid application materials. (Some loans and scholarships are available to students without need.)
  • Be a U.S. Citizen, U.S. National, or eligible non-U.S. citizen with a valid Social Security Number (unless from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau).
  • Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress toward their degree program.
  • Use aid only for educational purposes.
  • Not owe a refund on a federal grant or be in default on any federal educational loan. Review Pell Grant and Loan History at https://studentaid.gov.
  • Enroll for coursework that is accepted for credit by the degree-granting program.
    • If a student enrolls in coursework that does not count toward their degree, it cannot be used to determine enrollment status.
    • Exception: if the course(s) are eligible remedial courses or the course(s) have been approved by the college/department to count toward the student’s degree progress.
  • Students must attend all classes for which they enroll. Failure to attend class may result in the adjustment of aid.

Second Bachelor's Degree: Students are eligible for federal aid if they are pursuing double majors or dual-degree programs as long as they meet Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements. If a student has earned an undergraduate degree and continues or re-enters college to pursue another Bachelor's Degree, federal financial aid is limited to loans only.

Non-Degree Undergraduate Students: A student admitted as a non-degree undergraduate student is not eligible for federal aid.

Non-Degree Graduate Students:  A student admitted as a non-degree graduate student may qualify for federal loan assistance if the student is taking prerequisite courses for admittance into a University of Arizona Graduate Degree program.
More information

Enrollment at more than one Institution: Students who are enrolled at more than one college or university at the same time may receive aid from only one institution.

Students Receiving Institutional Grant: The University of Arizona has limited institutional grant funding that is available to Arizona on-campus undergraduate students. Students who want to be considered for institutional grant funds must submit their FAFSA by the University of Arizona's March 1st priority filing date. Consideration is based upon the date the student submitted their FAFSA, financial need, and availability of funds. If eligible, institutional grant funding is limited to the first 10 terms of enrollment for students who entered the University of Arizona as a first-year student, and 6 terms of enrollment for transfer students.

Financial aid programs were created with the idea that the primary responsibility for paying college costs rests with the student and their family. The amount of aid for which a student is eligible depends on their family’s financial circumstances and resources, year in school, enrollment status, and the cost of attendance at the school they are attending.

When a student completes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the Department of Education uses the information provided to assess the family’s financial situation and calculate an Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is an index number that determines the amount of need based aid a student may qualify for; it is not the amount owed to the college or university.

Once the Department of Education has calculated the EFC, the amount of federal, state, and institutional need-based aid is calculated as follows:

Cost of Attendance – EFC = Financial Need

The Cost of Attendance (COA) includes estimated amounts for tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board (housing and food), and a modest allowance for personal/miscellaneous expenses. The COA represents the amount of aid a student is eligible to receive.

Undergraduate Students: If a student’s EFC is less than a college’s cost of attendance, then the student qualifies for need-based financial aid. Need based aid (including Federal Pell Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG), state grants, institutional grants, and Federal Direct Subsidized loans) cannot exceed the financial need figure. However, there are other types of aid which can be awarded regardless of your financial need (including Federal Direct Unsubsidized, Federal Direct Parent PLUS loans, and/or private educational loans).

Parents of Undergraduate Students: Federal regulations require that a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan borrower be either a biological parent or an adoptive parent. A step-parent may also borrow the Federal Direct Parent PLUS loan for their student as long as their income is listed on the FAFSA with one of the biological or adoptive parents. 

Graduate Students: Graduate students are only eligible for non-need based federal aid including Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans, Federal Direct Grad PLUS loans, and/or private educational loans. Need-based aid may be offered by University of Arizona departments or outside scholarship entities.

Students may seek scholarships from private sources, University of Arizona departments, and other sources at any time. In accordance with federal regulations and university policies, scholarships from external sources must be counted as financial resources when calculating a student’s eligibility for need-based aid.

Some scholarships and awards administered by the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid are awarded based on student need. Although this may reduce a student’s institutional grant and/or other need-based aid, their total aid awarded should remain the same or may increase. Total aid should not be reduced if there has not been a change to a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

Under 34 CFR 668.40 a student is ineligible to receive financial aid for a period of time if the student has been convicted of an offense under any Federal or State law involving the possession or sale of illegal drugs for conduct that occurred while the student was enrolled and receiving financial aid. 

Period of Ineligibility

1st Offense 1 year from date of conviction 2 years from date of conviction
2nd Offense 2 years from date of conviction Indefinite
3rd Offense Indefinite