Student Eligibility

CHESLA loans are available for undergraduate, graduate and professional study.

  • A student must be enrolled (matriculated) in a degree-granting or certificate program on at least a half-time basis in an accredited non-profit college or university in Connecticut, or be a Connecticut resident attending an accredited non-profit college or university in the U.S., the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, or American Samoa.
  • A student must be making satisfactory academic progress.
  • A student or co-applicant(s) (if any) must be credit worthy, as determined by a commercial credit report.
  • A student or co-applicant(s) (if any) must have monthly debt payments amounting to 43% or less of monthly gross income (Debt-to-Income ratio).
  • A student or co-applicant(s) (if any) must have a minimum $20,000 adjusted gross annual income (AGI). There is no maximum income limit.

The financial aid office of the college or university a student attends must certify the student's enrollment and cost of education. (After an application is approved for credit worthiness, the loan servicer will send the college/university a certification form.)

Citizenship - Borrower and Co-Applicant(s)

You must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen. You must reside in the U.S. at the time of the application.

Eligible Non-Citizen:

1.         A U.S. permanent resident with a Form I-151, I-551 or I-551C;
2.         A U.S. national (an individual born in American Samoa or born in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands who has chosen to be a U.S. national instead of a U.S. citizen;
3.         An individual with an I-94 Arrival-Departure Record from U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services showing: “Refugee”, “Asylum Granted”, “Cuban-Haitian Entrant”, “Conditional Entrant” (valid only if issued before April 1, 1980), or “Parolee” (you must be paroled for at least one year, and you must be able to provide evidence from the USCIS that you are in the United States for other than a temporary purpose with the intention of becoming a U.S. citizen or permanent resident);
4.         An individual with T nonimmigrant status (“T-visa”) (for victims of human trafficking) or certification letter from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;
5.         A “battered immigrant-qualified” victim of abuse by their citizen or permanent resident spouse, or child of such a victim identified on an unexpired DHS-USCIS I-797 Notice of Action; or
6.         An individual born in Canada that has at least 50% Native American blood.

Persons in the U.S. for temporary purposes (example: persons holding F1 or F2 student visas or J1 or J2 exchange visitor visas) are not eligible to participate in the program. 

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Clicking Apply Now will leave the CHESLA website and take you to Firstmark's website to complete the loan application.