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Old Main 265, 360-650-3470
Western Washington University makes every effort to provide financial assistance to eligible applicants through grant, scholarship, work study, and loan programs. It is expected that students will meet part of their expenses through earnings from employment in the summer and academic year, and that parents will contribute in proportion to their financial ability.
NOTE: Students should be prepared to use some of their own money to pay for their initial expenses, even if they expect to receive financial aid.
What is Financial Aid
Financial aid is monetary assistance to help meet educational costs, including: tuition and fees, books and educational supplies, housing and food, transportation, personal, and dependent care expenses. The total amount of aid cannot exceed the budgeted cost of attendance used to determine financial aid eligibility. Eligibility for aid is determined by federal formulas from the U.S. Department of Education and the State of Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board. Applicants complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which is evaluated to determine each student’s relative financial need, and awards are made with careful adherence to federal, state and institutional guidelines. Western Washington University students who enroll in an approved program of study abroad may be considered for funding from many, but not all, aid programs.
Applicants who submit the FAFSA form to the federal processor by the priority deadline (see How to Apply for Financial Aid section) are considered for priority aid based on available funding.
Grants are gift aid and do not have to be repaid. Grants are awarded on the basis of calculated need and other eligibility criteria from the applicant’s FAFSA. Most grants are restricted to undergraduate students, with greater eligibility for students who meet the priority deadline. Some partial tuition and fee waivers are available to students in master’s degree programs.
Scholarships usually are awarded on the basis of merit criteria, but some may also use financial need as a factor. Western Washington University offers merit scholarships to entering freshmen, transfers and returning students in recognition of outstanding academic ability or talent.
Individual scholarships are available through University departments and colleges. Through the Multicultural Achievement Program Scholarship, the University recognizes outstanding students who demonstrate a commitment to multicultural issues and activities in school or the community. Additional information is available in the Scholarship Center, Old Main 275, 360-650-3471, or online at www.finaid.wwu.edu/scholarships.
Enrollment in self-support courses may not meet the eligibility criteria for all scholarship programs. Students enrolled in self-support courses or applying to self-support programs are urged to contact the Scholarship Center to determine whether they remain eligible for scholarships they have been awarded.
Loans for education feature competitive interest rates. The federal government subsidizes the interest on some loans. Payments may be deferred until after the student leaves school in some programs. Western Washington University participates in the Federal Perkins, Federal Direct Stafford, and PLUS loan programs. The Federal Perkins loan is targeted to undergraduate students with exceptional financial need.
Student Employment and work study offer work opportunities on campus and in the local community. Financial aid eligibility may or may not be a prerequisite for employment, depending upon the employment program. It is important to note the majority of student employment positions on Western’s campus do not require work study eligibility. The University places a strong emphasis on providing quality work experiences for its students. Additional information is available in the Student Employment Center, Old Main 285, 360-650-3158, or online at www.finaid.wwu.edu/studentjobs.
Work Study is awarded to undergraduate and graduate students with calculated financial need. Work Study jobs have a portion of the employee’s salary subsidized by federal or state funds.
Community Service involves the sharing of one’s time, talent, hope and vision. Western Washington University encourages students to become involved in helping others. Whether it is in health care, child care, mentoring youth, adopting a grandparent, literacy training, tutoring or assisting in community projects, student involvement can make a difference. Community service and volunteer opportunities are available through the Student Employment Center’s job posting website.
How to Apply for Financial Aid
Students are required to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year to be considered for federal and state aid. The FAFSA can be filed online at www.FAFSA.gov.
To be considered for priority consideration for financial aid for the academic year from all available programs, students must complete and submit their FAFSA to the federal processor by the priority filing deadline of February 15 preceding that academic year. Applications submitted after the priority deadline are considered for aid on a funds available basis.
Many aid applicants are required to provide additional FAFSA verification documentation to make their files complete and allow their aid eligibility to be finalized. Examples of such documentation include but are not limited to verification worksheets, federal income tax returns, tax schedules, and W-2 forms. Students are asked to provide requested items as soon as possible to allow processing of their file to continue. The FAFSA and related application materials must be received in sufficient time to allow Financial Aid to finalize aid eligibility in accordance with federal requirements. Applicants who have totally withdrawn from all classes must also provide requested FAFSA verification documentation within 30 days after their last day of enrollment or they will forfeit their ability to receive aid for which they would have otherwise been eligible.
To prevent financial aid overawards that could require student repayment, aid applicants are required to immediately notify the Financial Aid Department in writing of any financial aid they are scheduled to receive or have already received from institutions or organizations other than Western Washington University. Such institutions and organizations may include, but are not limited to, other universities, colleges, educational loan lenders, and scholarship-granting organizations.
General Eligibility Requirements for Financial Aid
Students may be considered for financial assistance if they:
- Are a citizen or permanent resident of the United States
- Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
- Submit all required information and documentation
- Are admitted through the Admissions Office or Graduate School to a degree or certificate-granting program at Western Washington University
- Do not owe a refund on a previous grant or are not in default on a previous educational loan received at any institution of higher education
- Have registered with the Selective Service, if required to do so
- Are enrolled for the minimum credit hours required:
- 12 credit hours for full-time undergraduates; 8 credit hours for full-time master’s degree candidates
- 9 credit hours for three-quarter-time undergraduates; 6 credit hours for three-quarter-time master’s degree candidates
- 6 credit hours for half-time undergraduates; 4 credit hours for half-time master’s degree candidates
- Some students may be eligible for limited amounts of assistance if they are enrolled less than half-time
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress and have not already exhausted eligibility under the maximum attempted credit component of Western Washington University’s Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy; please refer to Appendix J in the Appendices section of this catalog for additional information regarding satisfactory academic progress
- Financial aid eligibility is suspended for students convicted under federal or state law for possessing or selling illegal drugs during a period of enrollment for which Federal Title IV aid was received. If you have a conviction or convictions for these offenses, call 800-433-3243 or go to www.fafsa.ed.gov/worksheet.htm to see how this law applies to you
Summer Financial Aid
Applicants for financial aid during summer quarter must meet the same eligibility requirements and submit the same application materials (FAFSA), required during the preceding academic year. In addition, the Summer Financial Aid Application is required. The Summer Financial Aid Application is available in mid-March from the Financial Aid Department at www.finaid.wwu.edu.
Financial aid may be granted for self-supported courses. Contact the Financial Aid Department for eligibility requirements and aid procedures. Fee reductions and tuition waivers are not applicable to self-supporting courses. Students enrolled in or applying to self-support courses or programs should contact the Scholarship Center for specific eligibility requirements. Self-support courses may not meet the eligibility requirements for all scholarships offered through the Scholarship Center.
To qualify for graduate-level Federal Direct Loan borrowing limits each quarter, students must enroll for at least 4 graduate-level credits each quarter.
Short-Term Cash-Flow Problems
The Financial Aid Department can assist in solving short-term cash-flow problems through a variety of short-term loan programs.
Students currently enrolled at least half time may borrow up to $250 for up to 30 days to solve minor cash-flow problems. A $5 loan origination fee will be charged on each loan advance, and will be deducted at the time of the disbursement. Emergency loans must be paid in full within 30 days.
Students currently enrolled at least half time may borrow up to $600 for a maximum of 90 days. This loan requires a co-signer. Proceeds will be applied to the student’s account balance, including all charges due within 30 days from the date of disbursement before a refund check will be issued. A $10 loan origination fee will be deducted at the time of the disbursement. The institutional loan must be repaid within 90 days.
The Financial Aid Department reserves the right to refuse any of the short-term loan programs to students who do not show an ability to repay the loan or who have a poor repayment history.
Western Repayment Policy
Overpayment occurs when a student has received more aid than the student is eligible to receive. The most common reason for overpayment is full or partial withdrawal from classes by the student after financial aid has disbursed. A student who fully or partially withdraws from classes after aid has been disbursed may be required to repay all or a portion of that aid. The student will be held to Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements for the quarter.
Additional information on repayment requirements is available at the Financial Aid Department and the Student Accounts Office.
Students must maintain the minimum number of credits associated with the enrollment status that they reported to the Financial Aid Department to receive aid. Otherwise, aid could be delayed or reduced. On the second Friday of each quarter, the enrollment status is recorded and used as the final basis for determining eligibility for the following programs: Federal Pell Grant, Federal Academic Competitiveness Grant, Federal National Smart Grant, Federal Teach Grant, State Need Grant, State Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Work Study, State Work Study. Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Direct Loan, Western Grant, Viking Assistance Grant, tuition waiver, and some scholarship programs. This recording date is commonly referred to as the quarterly enrollment status “lock” date.
Students who receive aid from the above programs at the beginning of the quarter, based on a higher enrollment status than their enrollment status at the lock date, may have their aid reduced to correspond to their locked enrollment status. In such circumstances, a repayment would likely be owed. Students whose enrollment status increases by the lock date may be eligible for additional funding.
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Withdrawing from Western
If a student withdraws from all classes during the first 60 percent of any given quarter, eligibility for federal, state, and institutional aid will be recalculated in accordance with federal, state, and institutional requirements.
The withdrawal date will be the earliest of: the date the student began the withdrawal process, the date related to the circumstance leading to withdrawal, the actual withdrawal date, or the date the student began an official leave of absence signed by a University representative. When students withdraw after rescinding a previous official notification of withdrawal, their original withdrawal date will be used. The withdrawal date is used to determine whether a repayment of aid is owed or the student is due a post-withdrawal aid disbursement for the quarter. Students planning to withdraw from all classes who have applied for financial aid must provide official notification to the Financial Aid Department and the Registrar’s Office of their intent to withdraw as soon as possible (even prior to totally withdrawing). Notification will facilitate closure to financial aid issues the student may have for the quarter and help the student resolve any aid eligibility concerns for future quarters.
Students who totally withdraw from classes will be placed on financial aid suspension. Students may petition for financial aid reinstatement if unusual circumstances beyond their control prevented them from meeting satisfactory academic progress requirements. Reinstatement is not guaranteed. For more information, please refer to Appendix J in the Appendices section of this catalog for the complete satisfactory academic progress policy. For complete withdrawal procedures, see University Academic Policies .
Each Veteran/dependant enrolling at Western for the first time on the GI Bill must either apply for educational benefits with the Veterans Administration or fill out a change of program form, if you have used your benefits at another educational institution. In order for you to receive your payments on time, this should be done well in advance of the academic quarter you wish to attend.
All Veteran/dependants using Veterans Benefits at Western Washington University are encouraged to apply for financial aid through the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA).
Western Washington University’s academic programs of study are approved by the Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board’s State Approving Agency for students eligible to receive educational benefits under Title 38 and Title 10 USC.
Veterans/dependants should make certain the academic objective they plan to pursue is one authorized by the Veterans Administration.
Please review additional information for Veterans/dependants attending Western Washington University at our web site http://www.wwu.edu/dept/registrar/veterans.shtml
See the Award Bulletin online at: http://www.finaid.wwu.edu/bulletin/ for more detailed financial aid information.
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