At a minimum, students must meet the following criteria to be eligible for federal and state financial aid funds:

  • Must be enrolled as a regular student in a degree or Teacher Licensure program
  • Cannot be simultaneously enrolled in elementary or secondary school
  • Must have a high school diploma or equivalent, pass an approved ability-to-benefit test, or meet the state’s home schooling requirements
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Be registered with Selective Service, if required
  • Sign Statement of Educational Purpose, which certifies that he or she will use funds only to pay educational costs (statement is part of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA))
  • Not have property subject to judgment lien for debt owed to the United Status of America
  • Must make Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • Must not have disqualifying drug conviction
  • Must not be in default or owe a grant repayment on any previously received financial aid
  • Be U.S. citizen or national; a U.S. permanent resident; Citizens of the Freely Associated States: the Federated States of Micronesia and the republics of Palau and the Marshall Islands; Other eligible noncitizen as defined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
  • Must complete the Verification process if selected
  • Must not have exceeded the annual or aggregate federal loan (Stafford, Direct Loan, and Perkins) limits
  • Must not have exceeded the annual or aggregate Federal Pell Grant limits
  • Must meet enrollment status requirements. With the exception of the Pell Grant and in some situations Work-Study, you cannot receive financial aid for being enrolled in a less than half-time status. All initial financial aid awards are based on the assumption that students will be enrolled full-time in the fall and spring semesters.  If you will not be full-time, then aid will be recalculated based on the lesser enrollment.  It is possible for aid delivery to less than full-time students to be delayed.  Early notification to our office of a change in this assumption can help eliminate some of this delay. The following represents the number of semester credit hours at each enrollment level for financial aid:
    • Undergraduate Students
      • Full-time = 12 credit hours or more
      • Three-quarter time = 9-11 credit hours
      • Half-time = 6-8 credit hours
      • Less than half-time = 1-5 credit hours
    • Graduate/Doctoral Students
      • Full-time = 9 credit hours or more
      • Three-quarter time = 6-8 credit hours
      • Half-time = 5 credit hours
      • Less than half-time = 1-4 credit hours

These enrollment levels apply for financial aid eligibility in all semesters (i.e. summer, fall, and spring). For financial aid purposes, 12 finanical aid eligible credit hours is always the minimum number of credits for an undergraduate student to be considered full-time finanicial aid eligible. However, students may recieve financial aid for being less than full time as long as the classes taken are showing as financial aid eligible in their MyMadison.

It should be noted that across all grade levels and academic careers, only classes that count towards a student’s degree requirements will be considered when determining a student’s enrollment level for financial aid purposes.  JMU applies this regulation to federal aid programs, state aid programs, university grant programs, and private educational loans.  Classes that can be considered when determining financial aid eligibility are those that:

  • Count toward your Degree or General Education requirements
  • Are required for your major
  • Are required for your minor
  • Fulfil your elective hours to attain a minimum of 120 credit hours
  • Federal regulations prevent students from receiving financial aid for classes unless the student has performed academically related activities

You can learn more about this by reading Section 23: Classes and Program of Study Applicability of the Financial Aid: Terms and Conditions – Consumer Information document.


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