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Financial Aid for Green Card Holders

Permanent residents of the United States are eligible for financial aid and student loans from the Department of Education as long as they complete the FAFSA with the necessary information. Continue reading to learn more about financial aid for green card holders!

Related: Top scholarships for immigrants

Green card holders are eligible for federal aid

If you have a green card, you are eligible to permanently live and work in the United States.

Students with green cards are considered eligible noncitizens and can receive all forms of federal financial aid.

Additionally, the citizenship status of a student’s parents does not affect their eligibility for financial aid. Only the student must be an eligible noncitizen. Therefore, the parent does not need to be a permanent resident.  

Also see: Search, compare, and apply for private loans

How to receive financial aid

Students with green cards who are interested in receiving federal financial aid must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). As a green card holder, you will have to include your 8- or 9-digit Alien Registration Number on the form. 

When applying for federal student aid, most students will want to create an FSA ID. Creating and using your FSA ID is the easiest and fastest way to complete the FAFSA and receive your results. Permanent residents will use their SSN when creating their FSA ID and use their ARN when asked within the FAFSA application. 

See also: FAFSA for international students

Other eligible groups

Other than permanent residents, there are other citizenship statuses that may qualify as an “eligible noncitizen” for federal student aid. The Department of Education has included students who are US Nationals from natives of American Samoa or Swains Island, or a person whose Arrival-Departure Record has one of the following designations from USCIS:

  • Refugee
  • Asylum granted
  • Cuban-Haitian entrant
  • Conditional entrant (Granted before April 1,1980)
  •  You or your parent hold a T nonimmigrant status
  • Parolee

Additionally, citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, or the Republic of Palau can also receive some types of federal financial aid.  

Also see: Navigating different types of student loans

Be sure documents are up-to-date

Check to make sure your green card hasn’t expired as you prepare to complete your financial aid applications. If it has expired and is eligible for renewal, you should be eligible for federal aid after completing the renewal process. However, if you aren’t eligible for renewal, it’s important to talk to your college about your financial aid opportunities. 

Related: Scholarships for international students

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Frequently asked questions about financial aid for green card holders

Can you get financial aid if you have a green card?

Usually, if you have a green card, you will be considered as an “eligible noncitizen” and therefore eligible for financial aid.

Do green card holders get free education?

Noncitizen green card holders are eligible to apply for government-sponsored financial aid. What they pay for their education is determined by their individual financial situation. They are also able to attend in-state or resident tuition rates at public colleges and universities.