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Am I Eligible for a Foreign Enrolled Loan?

As the price of higher education continues to rise, it is increasingly important to find ways to help students afford the cost of their education. One of the most common ways of accomplishing this is through student loans. If you are a US student planning on earning a degree in a foreign country, you might be wondering whether or not you are eligible to receive foreign enrolled loans. In order to be eligible for these loans, both and you and your school have to meet certain requirements.

Student Eligibility

There are several requirements that students must meet in order to be eligible to receive federal student aid for attendance at a foreign school. First of all, the student must be enrolled as a regular student. This means that the student is enrolled (or accepted for enrollment) for the purpose of earning a degree, certificate, or other recognized credential offered by the school. The school in question must determine separately for each individual student whether he or she is a regular student.

Secondly, the student bust be qualified to study at the postsecondary level. This means that the student has earned a high school diploma, a secondary school completion credential, or its recognized equivalent in order to be considered qualified. These equivalents include General Education Development tests, state certificates, and secondary school completion credentials from foreign schools. Students who are enrolled in foreign schools cannot qualify by taking an “Ability to benefit” Test.

In order to qualify to receive aid, you must be enrolled at least half time. This means that you must be taking at least half of the workload of a full-time student. You must also make satisfactory academic progress (SAP) in accordance with an acceptable SAP policy set by your school. You must have a valid social security number (SSN), and you must not be in default on any Title IV program loan (unless he or she has taken prescribed steps to cure the default), be in receipt of excess Title IV loan amounts or grant payments, or have property that is subject to a judgment lien for a debt owed to the US. Additionally, you must satisfy Selective Service registration requirements, and cannot be subject to ineligibility based on drug conviction.

Citizenship Requirements

In order to be eligible to receive a foreign enrolled loan, you must be a US citizen, a US permanent resident, a citizen of certain Pacific islands (the freely associated states), or an eligible non-citizen. This includes citizens of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Eligible non-citizens must be in the US for other than a temporary purpose with the intention of becoming a citizen or lawful permanent resident, as evidenced by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Individuals holding an Arrival-Departure Record showing one of the following designations are eligible:

  • "Refugee"
  • "Asylum Granted"
  • "Cuban-Haitian Entrant (Status Pending)"
  • "Conditional Entrant" (valid only if issued before April 1, 1980)
  • Victims of human trafficking, T-visa (T-2, T-3, or T-4, etc.) holder
  • "Parolee" (You must be paroled into the United States for at least one year and you must be able to provide evidence from the USCIS that you are in the United States for other than a temporary purpose and that you intend to become a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.)

School Eligibility

In order to be eligible to participate in federal student aid programs, schools must be accredited by an agency recognized by the US Secretary of Education. Federal financial aid is available only to students attending eligible institutions. You can find a list of currently participating schools by visiting here and searching “foreign country.”

Schools must also be approved by the Department of Education in order to qualify for private student loans.

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