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ColumnsDestination USA: Federal student aid for US citizens

Destination USA: Federal student aid for US citizens

Published: 10th Oct 2021 1:01 am

The student must be a US citizen with a valid Social Security Number and prove his need for financial support to get funds for college education

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Given that many of our readers have children who are US citizens and are interested in pursuing their undergraduate (Bachelor’s program) studies in the United States, in our special topics series on US Higher Education, today we will discuss the types of federal aid that are available to US citizens to pay for their college education.

Federal student aid is funding made available through the US Department of Education, a federal government body, to pay for college education (both undergraduate and graduate studies). The funds are made available to students through grants, loans, and work-study programs. To be eligible for the funds, the student must be a US citizen with a valid Social Security Number (SSN). It is also important that the student is able to prove their need for financial support. Other eligibility criteria for the aid may be found at

The application for federal student aid is available online through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) – Students or parents may also download the myStudentAid app available on iOS and Android to complete the FAFSA application. The FAFSA form includes sections on the student’s personal information, eligibility, school selection, dependency determination, parental demographics, and the financials of parents and the student. Students and parents may read complete details about filling out the FAFSA application at

The deadline to submit the completed online FAFSA applications for 2021-2022 is 30 June 2022. It is important to note that the deadlines for each state and college are different and should be checked carefully at

US higher education institutions also use the information entered into FAFSA to award non-federal aid. The students/parents should check with the financial aid offices and fill out the financial forms at the institutions where they have submitted their applications to apply for aid from that school.

For further information on types of aid, eligibility, and applications for federal student aid available to US citizens, please check the website

— Monika Setia (Regional Officer and EducationUSA Adviser at the United States-India Educational Foundation based at the U.S. Consulate General Hyderabad. Please visit for more information).


Q. I am a medical student in India and interested in the USMLE. What is it and where can I find more information about it?
— Santosh Kumar
A. USMLE stands for United States Medical Licensing Examination and is a licensing examination required in order to receive a license to practice medicine within the United States. The USMLE is comprised of three different steps that examine the individual’s knowledge of specific topics related to the field of medicine and the application of all of these skills and areas of knowledge in the medical field. Students and graduates of medical schools outside the United States and Canada should apply for the different steps of USMLE by following the instructions at the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) website.
You may refer to the following websites to get further details about USMLE:

a) USMLE website:

b) ECFMG website:

c) FSMB – USMLE Step 3 Home Page:

d) WDOMS website:

Q. What does one need to submit for an application to a Bachelor’s program in the United States?
— Ameya

A. A US institution considers a student’s complete profile for assessment of admission, so a competitive package for bachelor’s degree application includes:
• Demonstrated strength in academics and interest in learning reflected through a student’s academic records, generally referred to as transcripts.
• Strong scores on standardized tests (SAT/ACT) and English proficiency tests (TOEFL/IELTS/PTE).
• Effective letters of recommendation and personal statement/essays.
• Leadership qualities and commitment to extra-curricular activities and/or engagement with community exhibited in a resume/list of activities as part of the application
• Ability to pay for tuition and living expenses as shown through the financial documents – the Declaration and Certification of Finances or Affidavit of Financial Support
All of the above components of the application package are accompanied by an online application form and an application fee.

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