Can Green Card Holders Receive Financial Aid?

Green card holders, also known as permanent residents of the United States, have access to various financial aid options, including federal aid and student loans administered by the Department of Education. To learn more about financial aid for green card holders, read on!

Eligibility for Federal Aid

Green card holders have the privilege of permanent residency in the United States, granting them the right to live and work in the country. As eligible noncitizens, students with green cards can avail themselves of all forms of federal financial aid. It’s important to note that the citizenship status of the student’s parents does not affect their eligibility for financial aid; only the student must be an eligible noncitizen.

How to Apply for Financial Aid

To receive federal financial aid, green card holders must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). When filling out the FAFSA, students should include their 8- or 9-digit Alien Registration Number. Creating an FSA ID is recommended for streamlined application processing. Permanent residents will use their Social Security Number (SSN) when creating their FSA ID and their Alien Registration Number when prompted within the FAFSA application.

Other Eligible Groups

In addition to permanent residents, several other citizenship statuses qualify as “eligible noncitizens” for federal student aid. These include US Nationals from American Samoa or Swains Island, individuals with certain designations on their Arrival-Departure Record from USCIS (such as refugees, asylees, Cuban-Haitian entrants, etc.), and citizens of certain Pacific island nations (Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Republic of Palau).

Maintaining Up-to-Date Documentation

As students prepare to apply for financial aid, it’s crucial to ensure that their green card is valid and has not expired. If the green card is eligible for renewal, students can proceed with the renewal process and remain eligible for federal aid. However, if renewal is not an option, students should discuss their financial aid opportunities with their college or university.

By understanding the process and requirements for accessing financial aid, green card holders can pursue their educational goals with confidence and support from available resources.


Green card holders have the opportunity to access federal financial aid and student loans to support their higher education pursuits. By completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and providing their Alien Registration Number, permanent residents can unlock various forms of financial assistance offered by the Department of Education. Additionally, individuals with other eligible citizenship statuses can also explore federal aid options. It’s essential for green card holders to ensure their documentation is up-to-date to maintain eligibility for financial aid programs. With the support of financial aid, green card holders can pursue their educational aspirations and contribute to their personal and professional growth in the United States.