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Office of Financial Aid

Types of Students 

Non-Citizens

Eligible Non-Citizens

A student must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen to be eligible for federal or State of South Carolina student aid. The general requirement for eligible non-citizens is they are in the U.S. for other than a temporary purpose with the intention of becoming a citizen or lawful permanent resident as evidenced by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). To be considered for financial assistance through the Office of Student Financial Aid, you must have one of the following citizenship or eligible resident classifications:

  1. U.S. Citizen
  2. U.S. National (includes natives of American Samoa and Swain's Island)
  3. U.S. Permanent Resident who has:
    1. A Permanent Resident Card (Form I-551 since 1997), or
    2. A Resident Alien Card (Form I-551 before 1997), or
    3. An Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form I-151, issued prior to June 1978), or
    4. An Arrival/Departure Record (CBP Form I-94) or the new Departure Record (Form I-94A with the endorsement "Processed for I-551. Temporary Evidence of Lawful Admission for Permanent Residence. Valid until ___________. Employment Authorized.", or
    5. A machine readable immigrant visa (MRIV) in the holder's passport. The MRIV will have an admission stamp, and the statement "UPON ENDORSEMENT SERVES AS TEMPORARY I-551 EVIDENCING PERMANENT RESIDENCE FOR 1 YEAR" which appears directly above the machine readable section. An MRIV with this statement, contained in an unexpired foreign passport and endorsed with the admission stamp, constitutes a temporary I-551, valid for one year from the date of endorsement on the stamp. 
    6. A United States Travel Document (mint green cover), which replaces the Reentry Permit (Form I-327) and the Refugee Travel Document (Form I-571). It is used by lawful permanent residents (as well as refugees and asylees) and is annotated with "Permit to Reenter Form I-327 (Rev. 9-2-03)."
  4. Citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia and the republics of Palau and Marshall Islands. Note: These students are eligible only for Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grants or Federal Work-Study (FWS). They are not eligible for federal student loans.
  5. For eligible non-citizens other than permanent residents:
    1. Refugees with a Form I-94 or I-94A annotated with a stamp showing admission under Section 207 of the Immigration Nationality Act (INA). Also acceptable is the old Refugee Travel Document (Form I-571) or the new U.S. Travel Document cited in paragraph 3.6. above annotated with "Refugee Travel Document Form I-571 (Rev. 9-2-03)."
    2. Asylees with a Form I-94 or I-94A and a stamp reflecting admission under Section 208 of the INA, or the same travel documents cited in 5.a. above.  Note: A refugee or an asylee may apply for permanent resident status and may have an I-94 that includes the endorsement "209a (or 209b) pending. Employment Authorized." These students are eligible for federal student aid funds if the I-94 has not expired.
    3. Parolees with a Form I-94 or I-94A with a stamp indicating they have been paroled into the United States for at least one year, with a date that has not expired.
    4. Cuban-Haitian entrants with a Form I-94 indicating they have been classified as a "Cuban-Haitian Entrant (Status Pending). Reviewable January 15, 1981. Employment authorized until January 15, 1981." This document is valid even if the expiration date has passed. However, if the I-94 is stamped "applicant for permanent residence", the Cuban-Haitian entrant is not eligible for federal student aid and must request documentation of   permanent residency status from the USCIS.

Ineligible Non-Citizens

Individuals with F-1, F-2, or M-1 Student Visas, B-1 or B-2 Visitor Visa; J-1 or J-2 Exchange Visitor Visa; H or L series Visas (which allow temporary employment in the U.S.), or a G series Visa (pertaining to international organizations), or a Notice of Approval to Apply for Permanent Residence (I-171 or I-464), an I-94 stamped "Temporary Protected Status" or an approved Form I-797 "Application for Voluntary Departure under The Family Unity Program" ARE NOT ELIGIBLE for any financial assistance administered by this office.

Students applying for federal Title IV aid as eligible non-citizens whose citizenship status is not confirmed on the SAR must provide The Office of Financial Aid with documentation. The Office of Financial Aid will then initiate a secondary confirmation with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This confirmation must be received before students can be awarded any aid.

The following are only suggestions and not the responsibility of the Office of Financial Aid. Students should also contact the department in which they plan to study to check for departmental scholarships, assistantships, or stipends. International students should research companies, organizations, or the government from their home country as possible sources of funding. In most cases, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services strictly prohibits students from working off-campus during the first year of study. An international student should not expect to fund a large portion of his or her expenses by working.

For more scholarship and loan information, international students should check the following web sites:

This list is only suggestive. The Office of Financial Aid does not endorse or confirm the business practices of any organization.