Citizenship and Residency Requirements for Government Student Loans

FGMSD-80-25: Published: Dec 20, 1979. Publicly Released: Jan 21, 1980.

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A review was conducted of the possibility that foreign nationals may be improperly receiving direct government or government-guaranteed student loans. Preliminary work indicates that the laws establishing eligibility for National Direct Student Loans, Health Professions Loans, and Nurses Training Loans are silent with regard to foreign national students. Additional research is being done to determine whether Congress ever addressed the issue of giving government student loans to foreign national students.

The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) considers the three student loan programs as domestic assistance. HEW implementing guidance for the progams provide that to receive a loan an individual must be a United States citizen, or permanent resident of the United States, or in the United States for other than temporary purposes and intends to become a permanent resident. Individuals in the United States on student visas are, by definition, here temporarily and therefore not eligible for loans. However, foreign nationals in the United States on student visas may obtain permanent resident status and would then be eligible for a government student loan. The citizenship and residency requirements for federally subsidized student loan programs have not been addressed in the past. The issues are complex and require some time to develop the information needed.

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