Are green card holders eligible of the US Federal Financial Aid?
Having a green card makes a huge difference. For starters, green-card holders (i.e., official U.S. Permanent Residents) DO qualify for Federal financial aid.
So, as a result, colleges that are “need-conscious” (which is the majority of schools) are more likely to admit a Permanent Resident who is seeking financial aid than they are to admit an applicant who needs financial assistance but who will NOT qualify for government help. (Need-conscious colleges are those that take an applicant’s financial requirements into consideration when making admission decisions.) When a student requires financial aid but doesn’t qualify for Federal aid, the college must provide funds out of its own coffers. But when the student holds a green card, Uncle Sam can kick in. So it’s a budget-wise decision for admission officials to favor Permanent Residents over non-citizen applicants who don’t have green cards.
The college tuition itself is usually reduced when a Permanent Resident is applying to a public college university within his or her own state or to a school in a nearby state that offers in-state costs to its “neighbors.” (Some colleges, however, offer in-state prices to residents who do nothold green cards but who can prove that they have resided in that state for at least a year.) At private colleges and at most out-of-state public ones, the cost to green-card holders remains the same as the cost to all domestic and international students, but the options for receiving financial aid—and even for admission itself—are greatly improved.
So, for a non-citizen college applicant, holding a green card is even better than holding a Get Out of Jail Free card in a Monopoly game!