Eligibility for Federal Financial Aid

Eligibility for financial aid is based on many factors, including but not limited to citizenship status, matriculation status, enrollment status, financial need, and satisfactory academic progress.

To be considered eligible for federal financial aid, students must:

  • be in good academic standing;
  • be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen;
  • be matriculated;
  • be registered for at least 6 credit hours (except for Pell Grant and TEACH Grant);
  • not be in default on a previous educational loan;
  • have a high school diploma or equivalent: General Education Development (GED) certificate or Home Schooled.


To be eligible for most forms of financial aid, students must be U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen and matriculated into degree or a certificate program approved by the Department of Education. Only courses required for a student's current program of study are eligible for federal financial aid. Students taking continuing education courses, some visiting students, and special status students who have been allowed to take courses but have not been formally accepted by the college are considered non-matriculated and are ineligible for federal financial aid.

Students with bachelor’s degrees taking courses required by the state for teacher certification may borrow a Federal Direct Loan at the fifth-year undergraduate limits, even though they are not actually pursuing a degree. Undeclared (pre-major) graduate students can take out loans at the fifth-year undergraduate limits for one year if they are enrolled in preparatory coursework. Preparatory coursework does not include courses taken solely to raise the student’s GPA to meet graduate admission standards and the courses must be part of an eligible program. The courses must be part of an eligible program.

Enrollment Status

In most cases, students must be enrolled at least half time (6 credit hours) in courses required for their program to be eligible for federal financial aid. Students may be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant and TEACH Grant when enrolled less than half time.

Required Courses and Student Outcome Tracking

Students must enroll in required courses to qualify for federal financial aid, including loans. Buffalo State systemically reviews enrollment for required courses using Student Outcome Tracking (SOT).  SOT compares enrollment to Degree Works audit to verify each course is required and fulfills specific degree requirements. If the SOT process identifies courses not required, students will be notified so they can take the appropriate actions (e.g., change registration, work with the advisor to update Degree Works, etc.). Federal financial aid is adjusted after the drop/add period elapses to reflect the number of required credits in which the student is enrolled, which could result in a reduction or cancellation of financial aid.