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Student Financial Assistance

FAQs About Financial Aid Processing and Awarding

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I have completed and sent the FAFSA, what happens next?
You will receive confirmation that your FAFSA data has been processed in the form of a Student Aid Report (SAR). The colleges/universities listed on your Student Aid Report (SAR) will determine your eligibility for financial aid and notify you in writing. The notification you receive is commonly known as an Award Letter. The college/university also notifies the student if any other information is required to complete the financial aid process.
How long does it take to process my FAFSA?
If you filed or made changes electronically over the Web, the federal processor will normally process your information within two weeks. The WKU Student Financial Assistance Office will normally import your processed information within ten business days. You can check the “Award Status” section of TopNet to see determine if the Financial Aid Office has received and processed your FAFSA.
How will I be contacted regarding my financial aid information?
The WKU financial aid office will communicate with students via their WKU email account. All students are responsible for checking their WKU email accounts weekly and must quickly respond to any financial aid office request for action or information from the student or parent. Failure to do so may result in the student's inability to receive federal financial aid.
How will I know how much aid I qualify for?
An award notification will be emailed to you via your WKU email account. You will be instructed to log on to "Accept Your Award".
What should I do if I have not received an Award Letter from WKU?
Call SFA to verify that your FAFSA data was received. You should also check your SAR to make sure you have WKU listed as one of the recipients of your FAFSA data. If WKU is not listed, contact the Federal Processor at 1-800-433-3243 to add WKU to the schools authorized to receive this information. WKU's Federal school code is 002002. Be sure to have your SAR available when you call, you will need to give the representative the four-digit Data Release Number (DRN) assigned to your SAR.
Why am I not eligible for more aid or certain types of aid?
Some financial aid is need based and some is merit based, while other types require both need and merit. Several factors are involved when determining your aid eligibility: 1) Expected Family Contribution (EFC) - This figure indicates what a family is expected to contribute toward a student's educational expenses. It also serves as an index for awarding certain types of aid. 2) Grade Point Average (GPA) - Certain scholarships require a specific cumulative GPA. 3) Class Rank - The Federal Direct Loan Program has annual limits based on the total number of hours you have successfully completed. 4) Budget/Cost of Attendance - There are established budgets for all Western Kentucky University students based on academic level, residency, living arrangements, etc. A budget includes tuition, room and board, transportation, clothing, laundry, telephone, and other miscellaneous expenses for the terms you enroll in an academic year. Federal regulations prohibit any institution from awarding aid that exceeds a student's annual budget or need-based aid in excess of a student's demonstrated financial need. 5) Deadlines - There are federal, state, and university deadlines. If you do not file the FAFSA or Scholarship Application by your priority deadline, you may be ineligible for certain types of aid.
Can I start my course if my financial aid process is in progress?
Yes, you may begin classes, but you must work closely with the WKU Financial Aid Office to complete your application. You may be subject to late fees imposed by the Billings Office.
What happens if I decide to attend part-time?
Your aid may be reduced or canceled in some cases in order to comply with regulations or eligibility requirements.
How will I know if I’ve been awarded aid and how do I accept or decline it?
Once all requested documentation has been submitted to our office, you will receive an email from our office notifying you of your award. Once you receive our notice you should refer to your Topnet account. You can then accept or decline the desired programs and amounts.
I don't want to use my WKU email address for my correspondence with WKU. Can't you send me information on another email address?
The University uses the WKU email account for all university email communication. To use your email account, go to and enter your information.
Once I have accepted my award package is there anything that could change or affect my award?
Any changes in enrollment may affect your financial aid eligibility. If you have financial aid and are considering cancelling registration, dropping courses, withdrawing or auditing any course, contact the Student Financial Assistance Office before doing so. You will be advised as to how your aid will be affected which will afford you the opportunity to make a wise decision.
Is there anything else that could affect my award/eligibility?
Yes. All aid is monitored to ensure that the total amount awarded including federal financial aid, scholarships (both institutional and outside), and other resources do not exceed the total cost of attendance for the academic year. Initial financial aid awards are our best estimate of what you are eligible to receive. Also, please remember to notify the Student Financial Assistance Office of any outside awards you may be receiving. Most changes in awards, however, involve factors which are under your control, or of which you should be aware. Your award may be increased, reduced, or even canceled, if: 1) Your family financial circumstance changes, causing your need to change. 2) You receive any additional outside resource, such as a privately awarded scholarship, which was not listed on your award letter. 3) You provided incorrect data on your FAFSA. 4) You do not maintain academic progress as required by the WKU Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Guidelines. • You are suspended by your college or by the University. 5) You do not enroll for the required number of hours to receive aid through programs awarded you. 6) You decide to audit a course for which you received financial aid.
How is my “financial need” determined?
The Federal processor determines your individual family’s ability to contribute to the cost of your education (“Expected Family Contribution” or “EFC”) using the information you provide on the FAFSA. This figure is used solely for the determination of financial need and does not represent a figure you will owe the University. The formula they apply is referred to as “Federal methodology”. After receiving your EFC from the processor, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Student Aid then subtracts that EFC from the Cost of Attendance. In essence, the formula is Cost of Attendance-EFC= Financial Need.
My award is based on last year's income. My income and/or my parents' income has changed. What should I do?
My award is based on last year's income. My income and/or my parents' income has changed. What should I do?
What if I have unusual circumstances since I completed my FAFSA?
If any of the following circumstances apply to you/your family, check with your financial aid adviser immediately to see if this might affect your financial aid application. 1) Divorce of parents, or you from your spouse 2) Death of a major wage earner 3) Loss of employment of a major wage earner 4) Loss of other income or benefits (such as Social Security or child support) by you, your parents, or your spouse

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 Last Modified 9/25/14