There are a few situations in which the federal government will withhold student financial aid for higher education, but owing back taxes usually isn't one of them. If you owe the Internal Revenue Service for back taxes, the good news is that you're likely still eligible for financial aid.
Federal Stafford loans are the primary source of federal financial aid. Students must demonstrate financial need, be enrolled for Selective Service and be enrolled in college to receive this money. If you have already defaulted on a federal loan or been convicted of a drug crime, you may lose your eligibility. However, owing the IRS for back taxes does not make you ineligible for federal student aid.
The Pell Grant is the federal government's primary program for giving grant money to college students. This is money you usually don't need to pay back, unless you withdraw from school. Owing the IRS doesn't necessarily disqualify you from receiving Pell Grants. However, if the IRS has placed a judgment lien on your property as a result of owing back taxes, you will be ineligible to receive Pell Grants.
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