What are the qualifications for a Stafford Loan?

Any potential student who has plans to apply for the government-sponsored Stafford Loan needs to first become familiar with the guidelines and regulations. You can save a great deal of time if you know whether you meet the preliminary requirements for a Stafford Loan and can then apply for other student loans if you fail to meet qualifications necessary for a Stafford Loan. 

Requirements for a Stafford Loan

In order to obtain a federally sponsored Stafford Loan, students must meet specific criteria. Failure to meet any of the requirements renders a student ineligible for this particular type of financial aid but does not mean there are not other types of financial aid for which that student may qualify. In order to qualify for a Stafford Loan each student must meet the following criteria:

  • Applicants must be U.S. born or naturalized citizens, have permanent resident status in the U.S. or be an eligible non-citizen. Those who are not citizens must show Immigration and Naturalization documentation.
  • The applicant must possess a high school diploma or the equivalent.
  • The applicant is required to have a valid Social Security Number.
  • The applicant must be registered in a qualified school and have plans to attend at least half time in the pursuit of an undergraduate or graduate program that is eligible to receive funding under the Federal Stafford Loan program.
  • All students must meet specific academic guidelines as defined by the college or university they are attending.

While the above preliminary and academic requirements are important, they are not the only qualifications potential students must meet in order to be approved for the Federal Stafford Loan. These loans are funded by the federal government and as such are designed for specific groups.

Income and Financial Requirements

The Federal Stafford Student Loan is not available for all students but only those who are able to prove they have significant financial needs. The income and expenses of the student's family will be evaluated and used as a basis for the Expected Family Contribution. If the funds are not sufficient to cover the entire cost of the student's education, the school will determine eligibility for a subsidized grant.

In order to be eligible for a Federal Stafford Student Loan the student must not owe money on a federal student aid grant or be in default on a government guaranteed student loan. Those borrowers who are in default must either repay their loans or make payment arrangements before they will be approved for a Stafford Loan.

Students who have acquired other student loans in a fraudulent manner are not eligible for a Stafford Loan, and borrowers who provide false information on their application for a Stafford Loan will no longer be able to acquire any kind of federal student loan. Students who are convicted of using illegal drugs or jailed during the period serviced by the loan will be disqualified and will need to obtain a privately funded student loan.

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