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That Free Financial Aid Seminar May be Just a Worthless Sales Pitch

Mark Kantrowitz

November 18, 2011

Error: More than 600 colleges require the PROFILE form.

Less than 250 colleges and universities and about 35 scholarship programs use the CSS Financial Aid PROFILE form.

Error: To be eligible for federal student aid, the student must not have any kind of conviction for a drug related offense.

Since July 1, 2010, students may lose eligibility for federal student aid only if they are convicted of selling or possessing illegal drugs while receiving federal student aid. The loss of eligibility is for one year for possession (first offense) and for two years for possession (second offense) or sale (first offense). The loss of eligibility is indefinite for possession (third offense) or sale (second offense).

The student may be able to regain eligibility for federal student aid by completing a qualified drug rehabilitation program and passing two unannounced drug tests given by the program.

Error: To be eligible for federal student aid, the student must be a US citizen or eligible non-citizen. Eligible non-citizens include illegal aliens.

Eligible non-citizens do not include illegal aliens or undocumented students.

Eligible non-citizens include only individuals who are in the US legally, such as permanent residents (green card holders), people granted refugee or asylum status, people with a certification from HHS showing a designation of “Victim of human trafficking”, non-citizen nationals (e.g., people born on American Samoa, Swain’s Island or the United States Minor Outlying Islands), and citizens of the Freely Associated States (e.g., Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and Palau). Eligible non-citizens will have their status verified through a data match with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Error: The federal government does not in any circumstances forgive student loans.

While it is very difficult to get student loans discharged in bankruptcy, the federal government offers a variety of loan forgiveness programs, including public service loan forgiveness, income-based repayment with forgiveness after 20 or 25 years in repayment, forgiveness for teachers in national need areas, and the student loan repayment program for military service. There are also a variety of loan discharge programs, including the closed school discharge, the false certification discharge, the identify theft discharge, the death discharge and the total and permanent disability discharge.


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