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May 19, 2020

Federal Aid for Green-Card Holder?

Question: My daughter is a resident alien (green card holder). Does she qualify for any federal loans?

When it comes to financial aid issues and international students, "The Dean" has to dole out a lot of bad news. So, in this case, I'm delighted to be able to give good news for a change. As a green-card holder, your daughter will qualify for U.S. federal financial aid.


If she is already in college, contact the financial aid office at the institution she attends for more information on how to apply.

If she is still in high school, make sure she clearly indicates on her college applications that she is a U.S. Permanent Resident. Not only will this affect her eligibility for federal money but also it can have a huge impact on her admission verdicts in general, if she is applying for financial aid. Many colleges have no aid available to non-citizens and will automatically reject those who need it. Other schools that do have aid for international candidates can set the bar so high that it can be nearly impossible to scale. But, luckily for you, candidates with green cards are treated no differently than U.S. citizens.

(posted 1/12/2011)

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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