Eligibility for Federal and State Financial Aid Programs

Any student applying or currently enrolled at Centenary University is encouraged to apply for financial aid by completing a FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov. The FAFSA is required for many types of financial aid, including some institutional scholarships and grants. Students should file a FAFSA every year to be considered for all available financial aid.

Below are the general eligibility requirements for financial aid. The student must:

  • be admitted to an associate, bachelor, or graduate degree program at Centenary
  • be making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree
  • have a high school diploma or GED certificate
  • be in attendance for the minimum number of credits required for the award (ex. most undergraduate scholarships required full-time enrollment while loans usually only required 6 credits)

In addition, to be eligible for federal or state financial aid the student must:

  • have a valid social security number
  • be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen (includes green card holders)
  • not owe a refund on or be in default on any Title IV or HEA grant or loan received for prior attendance at any institution
  • be registered with the Selective Service, if required to do so by law

Eligibility differs and is based on the type of aid and criteria set up by the source of the funds. Some funds are based on financial need as defined by the federal government. Some funds are based on merit, such as GPA, extracurricular activities, and/or test scores while other are based on a combination of both merit and financial need. Some may be solely based on general criteria such as year in college or major.

Many types of financial aid funds are available for students in study abroad programs as well. Learn more about how your financial aid can be applied to your study abroad (or away) program.

See the Types of Aid section for specific eligibility criteria.


In general, financial aid is intended to pay for courses that are required to complete your degree program. If you are planning to take courses that do not directly fulfill a requirement for a declared degree, major or minor, contact the Financial Aid Office to determine how taking non-required coursework may affect your aid eligibility.


You must be a citizen, a permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen to complete the FAFSA.

If you are a citizen, permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen, but your parent is not, you can still complete the FAFSA. Simply use 000-00-0000 for your parent’s social security numbers to indicate that he/she does not have a social security number. When completing the FAFSA, the form may ask you to double check if this information is correct – simply click yes if you are asked.

Eligible non-citizens must have an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) showing one of the following designations:

  • “Refugee”
  • “Asylum Granted”
  • “Cuban-Haitian Entrant, Status Pending”
  • “Conditional Entrant” (valid only if issued before April 1, 1980)
  • Victims of human trafficking, T-visa (T-2, T-3, or T-4, etc.) holder

“Parolee” (You must be paroled into the United States for at least one year and you must be able to provide evidence from the USCIS that you are in the United States for other than a temporary purpose and that you intend to become a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.)

Selective Service

In order to be eligible for federal student aid you must register with the Selective Service if:

  • you are a male born on or after Jan. 1, 1960, and
  • you are at least 18 years old, and
  • you are not currently on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands or the Republic of Palau are exempt from registering.

If you have not already registered for selective service and are required to do so, you can register when completing your FAFSA online or on the Selective Service System website.

Drug Convictions and Financial Aid Eligibility

According to federal regulations, students convicted for a drug offense that occurred during a period of enrollment while they were receiving Title IV Federal Financial Aid may lose eligibility for Federal Aid.

If a student answers ‘Yes’ to question 31 on the FAFSA, they will be sent a worksheet by the federal processing center in order to determine if the conviction affects eligibility for aid. Financial assistance will be suspended immediately if the financial aid office is notified that a student has been convicted of sale or possession of illegal drugs.

If a conviction was reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record, it does not count. Convictions occurring during periods of non-enrollment do not count. In addition, any conviction received as a juvenile does not count, unless they were tried as an adult.

The period of ineligibility is contingent upon the type of conviction (sale or possession) and if there were previous offenses. The chart below demonstrates the periods of ineligibility:

Possession of
Illegal Drugs
Sale of
Illegal Drugs
1st Offense 1 year from date
of conviction
2 years from date
of conviction
2nd Offense 2 years from date
of conviction
Indefinite period
3+ Offenses Indefinite period

If the student was convicted of both selling and possessing illegal drugs, they will be ineligible for the longer period.

Regaining Eligibility

The student may regain eligibility:

  • the day after the period of ineligibility ends
  • when they successfully complete a qualified drug rehabilitation program, or
  • if the student passes two unannounced drug tests given by a qualified rehabilitation program, they may regain eligibility.

Students denied eligibility for an indefinite period can regain it after:

  • successfully completing a rehabilitation program as described below
  • passing two unannounced drug tests from such a program, or
  • if a conviction is reversed, set aside, or removed from the student’s record so that fewer than two convictions for sale or three convictions for possession remain on the record.
    • In such cases, the nature and dates of the remaining convictions will determine when the student regains eligibility.

Qualified Drug Rehabilitation Program

A qualified drug rehabilitation program must include at least two unannounced drug tests and must satisfy at least one of the following requirements:

  • Be qualified to receive funds directly or indirectly from a federal, state, or local government
  • Be qualified to receive payment directly or indirectly from a federally or state-licensed insurance company
  • Be administered or recognized by a federal, state, or local government agency or court
  • Be administered or recognized by a federal or state-licensed hospital, health clinic, or medical doctor.

Additional drug convictions will make the student ineligible for federal aid again.

It is the student’s responsibility to certify to the school that they have successfully completed the rehabilitation program.

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