CITIZENSHIP STATUS AND FINANCIAL AID ELIGIBILITY

Charter Oak State College building

A student has to be a U.S. citizen, or an eligible noncitizen , in order to receive federal financial aid and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  The FAFSA collects financial aid history and also matches applicant information to several federal databases.  This information is used by the U.S. Department of Education to determine eligibility for federal financial aid. 

All FAFSA applicants are matched with the Social Security Administration's (SSA) records to verify name, date of birth, social security number, and U.S. citizenship status.  If an applicant indicates that they are an eligible noncitizen and provides an Alien Registration Number (ARN), their identifying information is also sent to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for matching.

In some cases when either U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizenship status cannot be confirmed, the Office of Financial Aid will require documentation of either U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizenship from the student. Documentation may include one of the following:

  •  U.S. passport (current or expired)
  • Certificate of Naturalization
  • Alien Registration Number (i.e., Permanent Resident Card)

Students may mail, fax, or email copies of their citizenship documents to the Office of Financial Aid.

For naturalized U.S. citizens, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service does not automatically update social security records for a change in citizenship status.  Therefore, all newly naturalized U.S. citizens are required to update their social security records to reflect updated citizenship status.  Please note that it is very important for social security records to reflect accurate citizenship information. 

Additional information for Eligible NonCitizens:

The Office of Financial Aid may be required to initiate a mandatory secondary process with the Department of Homeland Security(DHS) for those students whose eligible noncitizen status cannot be confirmed through Federal Student Aid's automated matching process.  Eligible DHS matches from previous academic years cannot be used to circumvent the mandatory secondary process during the current academic year.  This is because eligible noncitizenship status is subject to change as DHS records are updated. 

Undocumented Students:

Undocumented students are not eligible for federal financial aid or Connecticut state financial aid.  Under a new state law, enacted by the Connecticut General Assembly, undocumented students may apply for institutional financial aid after meeting certain requirements.  This new law does not apply to non-immigrant visa holders.