In order to qualify for financial aid, a student must demonstrate “basic student eligibility.” The criteria includes:
Demonstration of financial need;
A high school diploma (or equivalent) completed or in progress;
US citizen or permanent residency status;
Hold a valid Social Security Number (SSN);
Plan to enroll in an eligible degree or certificate program;
Men (18 – 26 years old) must register for selective service (the FAFSA itself has a box to check in order to do meet this requirement).
The SSN is critical to the FAFSA as it is how you obtain a PIN (personal identification number). Having a PIN allows you to e-sign the FAFSA and submit it online. If you do not have a SSN, you can apply at your local post office or Social Security office. If you are a under the age of 24 you will need your parents’ SSN, too. If your parents do not have a SSN, you should enter all zeros when asked for the number. You can still apply for, and be granted, financial aid even if your parents do not have a SSN. Do not use an invalid SSN; this could seriously damage your ability to receive financial aid.