What Are the FAFSA Requirements?

To qualify for financial aid, you’ll need to verify your citizenship, enrollment status and financial need.
Anna HelhoskiSep 8, 2021
FAFSA Requirements: How College Students Can Unlock Financial Aid

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

All college students attending eligible schools qualify to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or . You're likely to get some kind of aid if you apply, but you may not be eligible for all types. The list of requirements for is extensive, and not meeting some can lose you aid eligibility altogether.


Here's what you need to know about FAFSA requirements and aid eligibility.

To be eligible for financial aid, you’ll need to:


There are no GPA requirements for incoming students. There are also no income requirements for federal loans, but there is for need-based aid like , certain scholarships and the .

Beginning in the 2021-22 award year, the FAFSA is no longer requiring Selective Service registration prior to receiving federal financial aid; previously, males between the ages of 18 and 25 who aren't already on active military duty had to register to be eligible for aid. Additionally, for this award year, individuals who were convicted on drug-related charges while receiving federal aid will not have their aid eligibility suspended.

Although the questions about Selective Service registration and drug-related convictions will remain on the FAFSA until the 2023-24 award year, they will not impact aid eligibility.

Your age may affect how much aid you can receive. That’s because your age largely determines if you’re an independent or dependent student and thus whose information you report on the FAFSA.

Federal aid programs assume dependent students have the financial support of their parents.


By age 24, you’re considered independent. For the 2022-23 school year, you’re independent if you were born before Jan. 1, 1999. Independent students have than dependent students.

You’re also considered independent if you’re married, a veteran, in a graduate program or have dependents of your own.

If you’re dependent, include both your information and your parents’ on the FAFSA. If you’re independent, report only your information. If you’re independent and married, include your spouse’s information as well.

You'll need to have several documents ready to complete the FAFSA and qualify for aid. If you are an independent student you do not need to include your parents' information. Necessary documents include:

All applicants will need to create an that you'll use to sign the FAFSA and promissory notes. This gives you all of the information you'll need to fill it out.

On the FAFSA, you'll need to sign a certification statement saying you:

If you're eligible for aid, accept all free money, such as grants and scholarships, then consider work-study options before taking out any federal student loans.

» MORE: 

You’ll no longer qualify for aid if you can’t meet the basic eligibility requirements listed above. You could also lose eligibility if you:

A specific type of aid may no longer be available to you if you:

Even if you don’t qualify for more loans, you’ll need to repay any loan you’ve already taken.

On a similar note...
Dive even deeper in Student Loans