How Do I Qualify For Financial Aid

Do I Qualify for Financial Aid?

The college admissions season is in full swing and high school seniors and their families are busy preparing their applications, obtaining recommendation letters, and writing personal essays.

It’s a busy, exciting, and challenging time as students prepare for this monumental step in their personal and educational journey. And, as higher education has never had a higher price tag in the US, this step can also be expensive, and finances can be tricky.

Thankfully, if you know where to look, many financial resources are available, including federal and state aid, scholarships, loans, resources, and other funds to help students pay for college as long as they meet the financial aid qualifications.

In today’s article, we’ll discover how students can qualify for financial aid, including the eligibility requirements and criteria needed from prospective students.

What is financial aid?

In simple terms, financial aid is money for college set aside by the federal government and distributed to eligible students through federal student loans, grants, and work-study jobs. It can also include scholarships from the school or university or outside sources and private student loans from banks or other institutions.

The only way to know a student’s financial aid eligibility is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This application allows students to access and determine their financial aid eligibility for financial assistance from both the federal and state governments. Many colleges and universities also use it to determine students’ financial need and need-based scholarship eligibility, so it’s essential to fill out each year you enroll in school even if you do not think you will qualify for financial aid.

Remember that each form of financial aid has its own eligibility requirements, and students and their families should research to understand what will be expected of them.

What are the financial aid qualifications?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) assesses a student’s financial need, and the federal and state governments provide money based on that need through grants, scholarships, work-study eligibility and opportunities, federal student loans, and even merit scholarships.

A few basic financial aid qualifications and eligibility requirements are:

  •  US citizenship or eligible non-citizen status
  • Demonstrate financial need
    • Financial need is defined as the difference between the cost of attendance at school and a student’s Student Aid Index (SAI), which is determined based on the information and the student’s or family’s financial strength in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application.
  • Valid social security number
  • Acceptance as a regular student in an eligible degree or certificate program.
  • Enrollment, at least half-time, to be eligible for direct loan program funds.
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress in college or career school programs.
  • Signed certification statement guarantees you do not owe money on a federal student loan or grant, and you will use federal student aid for educational purposes only.
  • Proof of necessary prerequisite education, such as a high school diploma, GED, or recognized equivalent.


Interested in applying to UB? Check out our Admission Checklist to get and stay organized during the college application process!


Upon meeting the financial aid qualifications and submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), students will be awarded a financial aid package detailing which forms of federal and state financial aid they qualify for.

Additionally, the student’s school of choice will typically use both their financial aid application and their college application for admission to determine which institutional scholarships and grants that student will receive.

Learn more information about University of Bridgeport’s guide to financial aid.

What information do I need for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will ask students and their families to provide specific information, including questions about a student’s demographic information, parent information, student and parent financial information, and school selections.

To meet financial aid qualifications, each student must have all the necessary information and documents prepared to help the process go as smoothly and quickly as possible. Students should gather the following information:

  • Social security numbers
  • Federal income tax returns
  • Family size and income
  • Personal income (if any)
  • List of colleges they are applying to

Upon applying, students can expect a response from the US Department of Education within three to five days if they submit online and between seven to ten days if they submit a paper application by mail.

Qualifying and meeting the financial aid eligibility requirements and applying does not guarantee a student’s financial aid, but it is the best way to determine one’s eligibility.

Plus, students who do not qualify for federal or state financial aid may qualify for financial assistance with their chosen college or university. Plus, there are even more scholarships and loans that also use a student’s financial aid application as a determining factor.

At University of Bridgeport, we are committed to helping students navigate and understand the financial aid process by answering the question, “Do I qualify for financial aid?” with relevant financial tools that make university affordable, accessible, and achievable.

Learn more about our financial aid eligibility and opportunities by contacting us today so that we can help you qualify for as much financial aid as possible. We can’t wait to support you in joining the Purple Knight family!