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Western Kentucky University

Student Financial Assistance

General FAQs About Financial Aid

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I probably don't qualify for aid. Should I apply for aid anyway?
Yes. Many families mistakenly think they don't qualify for aid and prevent themselves from receiving financial aid by failing to apply for it. In addition, there are a few sources of aid such as unsubsidized Stafford and PLUS loans that are available regardless of need. Unfortunately, the belief that their own family is not eligible stops many students and parents from applying early - resulting in a late FAFSA application after families are requested to write a check for tuition. Apply early and know for sure about your eligibility - then you will be in position to know all of your financing options when faced with the tuition bill. Also, WKU requires a FAFSA to be submitted before a student is eligible to work on campus.
Where do I find the FAFSA and when should I complete it?
The FAFSA should be submitted on-line at www.fafsa.gov. This application must be submitted annually after January 1st.
Why do I need a PIN?
Your Personal Identification Number can be used every year to electronically "sign" your federal student aid application, make on-line corrections to your FAFSA, access your Student Aid Report (SAR), and it allows you to access your federal student aid records through the U.S. Department of Education. If you don't already have a PIN, please apply for one now at www.pin.ed.gov. If you are a dependent student, your parents should also apply for a PIN so they can also electronically sign your FAFSA.
My parents have more than one student in college. Can they use the same PIN number for each student?
Your parents can use the same PIN to sign all the FAFSA forms, including their own if they are applying for federal financial aid for themselves. However, a FAFSA will need to be completed for each student that is attending college.
What is WKU's Federal school code to be entered on my FAFSA?
002002 (You should enter this code if you seek financial aid consideration for WKU's main or regional campuses or Commonwealth School.)
What if I did not code WKU on my original application for financial aid?
If you did not code WKU on your FAFSA and WKU does not appear on your SAR, call the Central Processing Center at 1-800-4FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) and request that WKU (002002) be added to your FAFSA, or go back on-line at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov and under the Step 3 FAFSA Follow up Section select Add or Delete a School Code.
What programs am I actually applying for?
By completing the FAFSA you are applying for all Federal Title IV programs including Pell and SEOG grants, Federal Work-Study, and loans. Kentucky students can also use the FAFSA as the application for CAP grant.
Is there a deadline for applying?
You may apply for financial aid any time after January 1 as soon as possible. Some awards are made until funds are depleted. It is important that you complete the financial aid application process early enough each year so that your award will be in place prior to fee bill deadlines; otherwise, you will be responsible for payment of your fees.
Is it too late to file my FAFSA now that the WKU's priority process date has passed?
No, it is never too late to apply for financial aid. You may not qualify for the same amounts or types of aid if you did not apply on time, but there are still many aid programs available. For example, you will likely be eligible for some type of federal loans, and possibly federal grants and work-study.
Do I have to pay for the FAFSA?
No, the FAFSA is free. Never pay an individual or an organization to help you fill out the FAFSA. You can get free help online or by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center (run by the U.S. Department of Education) at 1-800-4FED-AID. Be sure to go to http://www.fafsa.gov.
Why can't I submit my financial aid application before January 1?
The need analysis process for the financial aid uses the family's income and tax information from the most recent tax year (the base year) to judge your eligibility for need-based financial aid during the upcoming academic year (the award year). Since the base year ends December 31, you cannot submit a financial aid application until January 1. After all, your parents might earn a year-end bonus or realize capital gains from selling stocks on December 31. If you submit the financial aid application before January 1, it will be rejected.
If my parents are divorced or separated, whose financial data should be used when I'm completing the FAFSA?
If your natural parents are separated or divorced, use the natural parent with whom you lived the most in the past twelve (12) months. If you lived with neither parent, or lived with each parent an equal number of days, use the parent that provided the most financial support to you over the past twelve (12) months. If that parent has remarried, you must also include the step parent's financial information on the application, and parent and step parent should report themselves as married on the FAFSA.
My parents got divorced but filed a joint Federal tax return. How do I complete the FAFSA?
If your natural parents are separated or divorced, use the natural parent with whom you lived the most in the past twelve (12) months. If you lived with neither parent, or lived with each parent an equal number of days, use the parent that provided the most financial support to you over the past twelve (12) months. If that parent has remarried, you must also include the step parent's financial information on the application, and parent and step parent should report themselves as married on the FAFSA.
My parents don't claim me on their tax return and don't give me any money. Can I file as "Independent"?
It has no bearing on being able to be considered as "independent" whether or not your parents claimed you on their tax return. The Higher Education Act established requirements for establishing independence. Several questions are addressed on the FAFSA. If the answer is "YES" to any of the questions you will be considered "Independent" for financial aid purposes.
I'm getting married during the school year for which I am applying for aid. Can I complete my FAFSA as "married"?
No. You must indicate your marital status as of the date you are completing the FAFSA. You cannot update your marital status once you have filed your FAFSA.
I originally reported $10,000 in savings on my FAFSA. I have since purchased something with the savings. Can I correct this?
No. You must report asset information as of the date you sign the original FAFSA. You cannot update your asset information.
What if I have other unusual circumstances?
If you have experienced any of the following circumstances, check with your financial aid counselor to see if this may affect your financial aid application/status: divorce of parents or you from your spouse, death of a major wage earner, loss of employment of a major wage earner, or loss of other income or benefits such as child support by you, your parents, or your spouse.
I live with my mother who is remarried but she and my stepfather are keeping their finances separate. For the parent income portion of the FAFSA, do I enter just my mom's finances or both?
You need to include both your mother's and your stepfather's income on the FAFSA. Regardless of any agreement to keep their finances separate, including any prenuptial agreement, both incomes factor into determining your parents' available income.
I am entering financial information for my mother and stepfather on the FAFSA. Should I give my father's Social Security number (SSN) and last name or my stepfather's?
You should provide the SSN and last name of the same person or people for whom you are reporting financial information. In this case, provide the SSNs and names of your mother and stepfather.
I live with an aunt (or grandparent or other relative). Should that relative's income be reported instead of parental information?
You can report your relative's income only if the relative is your adoptive parent. Dependent students can be considered dependent only on their parents and must report only parental information on the FAFSA. You must report any cash support given by relatives, but not in-kind support (such as food and housing) from relatives.
My parents refuse to provide their financial information for the FAFSA, what should I do?
If you are considered a dependent student for financial aid purposes, it is essential that your FAFSA include parent financial information in order for your financial aid eligibility to be determined. Explain this to your parents, if necessary, your parents may contact the Financial Aid Office and we will explain why this information is required and to assure them that the information is kept strictly confidential.
Why does FAFSA need my parent's financial information; I don't live with them, they have no money nor do they support me.
If you are considered a dependent student for financial aid purposes, it is essential that your FAFSA include parent financial information in order for your financial aid eligibility to be determined. Explain this to your parents, if necessary, your parents may contact the Financial Aid Office and we will explain why this information is required and to assure them that the information is kept strictly confidential.
What do I do if I don't have my (or my parent's) tax returns?
For a copy of federal tax returns, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 and ask for a "Tax Return Transcript". This is a summary of the tax information filed. The Tax Return Transcript must be signed before you or your parent submit the form to our office. For copies of W-2s, employers need to be contacted and copies requested.
How do I answer the tax questions if I (or my parents) don't file a tax return?
Answer "Will Not File" to question Have you completed a tax return? You will be taken to question Income earned from work. Enter any monies earned from a job that is listed as taxed on a W-2 form. Then answer only those income questions that apply to you from that point on.
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. You may be required to submit certain documents to verify the information you reported on your FAFSA. This may include, but is not limited to, copies of Federal tax returns, household size statements, and statements of untaxed income. These forms are to be submitted, upon request, to the WKU Student Financial Assistance Office, not to the Federal processor. Your financial aid will not be complete until you have submitted the required documents.
When will WKU receive my FAFSA after I submit it on line?
It will take our office at least ten (10) business days before we receive your FAFSA; it is not an automatic transmittal.
Can the University estimate if I am eligible?
WKU cannot determine the amount of students' awards until the results of their FAFSAs have been received from the federal processor. Your eligibility is determined by the federal processor from information you and your family supply on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The federal processor determines your "Expected Family Contribution" or EFC according to a formula supplied by the U.S. Congress and then forwards this information to the University. Only then can the University begin to determine the amount of students' awards. Student Financial Assistance begins to mail out the first student awards in mid or late April, so the best way to find out for how much you will qualify is to fill out the FAFSA early to get the process started. Meanwhile, students and parents might want to use the on-line EFC Estimators located on The Financial Aid Information Page at www.finaid.org to help estimate their expected family contributions.
How is my "financial need" determined?
The federal processor determines your individual family's ability to contribute to the cost of education ("Expected Family Contribution") using the information you provide on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and a formula called "federal methodology." After receiving your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) amount from the processor, the Office for Student Financial Affairs then subtracts your EFC from the standard student budget (average cost of attendance). In formula form: Cost of Attendance-EFC=Student Financial Need.
My FAFSA has been rejected because of no parent signature, what should I do?
Your parents will need to have a Federal PIN if they want to sign the FAFSA electronically. Your parents can obtain a Federal PIN at www.pin.ed.gov.
What if my application is rejected or I need to make corrections?
You must review your Student Aid Report (SAR) to correct this situation. Using your Personal Identification Number (PIN), review your SAR to make the necessary corrections and resubmit it to the Federal Processing Center.
I originally reported $2,000 in savings on my FAFSA. I have since purchased a car with the savings. Can I correct this?
No. You must report asset information as of the date you sign the original FAFSA. You cannot update your asset information.
I sent in my FAFSA over four weeks ago but haven't heard anything. What should I do?
If you haven't received a Student Aid Report (SAR), call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (toll free) or 1-319-337-5665. You must provide them with your Social Security number and date of birth as verification.You can also write toFederal Student Aid Programs PO Box 4038 Washington, DC 52243-4038To find out whether your FAFSA has been processed or to request a duplicate copy of your SAR.
What is a SAR, and how do I read it?
The Student Aid Report (SAR) is a detailed explanation of the information you supplied on you FAFSA. You will receive your SAR anywhere from 3 to 6 weeks after completing your FAFSA (The shorter time period is for those who file their FAFSA online. The paper version takes six weeks). The SAR is used for three purposes. First, it is a means of conveying important information about your application for federal aid. Second, it tells you your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC). Finally, it can be used to make changes to your application information. Read Part 1 of your SAR carefully. It will tell you whether or not you may be eligible for the Pell grant, or whether you will be required to submit additional documentation to your financial aid office (this is usually worded as "you have been selected for a process called verification"). This portion is difficult to read but is considered the first notification of additional documents needed to complete your file. Until the financial aid office receives this information they do not know all that may be needed to complete your file. Part 1 also contains a listing of all the information you supplied on your FAFSA. Go through each item carefully to ensure that it is correct. While the process used to scan and interpret your form is very good, it is not error-proof, so sometimes, even if you filled out the FAFSA correctly, you may find errors. If you need to make corrections, do so on Part 2 of your SAR. Part 2 of your SAR lists your information under two columns. The first column reports what your FAFSA currently shows, and the second column provides a space to make corrections. After making your corrections, copy Part 2, and then mail Part 2 only back to the address indicated on the SAR. The address is printed close to where you must sign Part 2. You can also go on line and correct your FAFSA information using your PIN. Notice the 5 digit number on the middle to upper right hand side of the first page of the SAR. That number is your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is the calculation arrived at by processing your FAFSA information. The EFC is the amount of money the Department of Education thinks your family can afford given your household size, state of residence, income, and assets.
What do those acronyms on the Student Aid Report (SAR) mean?
The acronyms on the bottom of the SAR represent intermediate results in the need analysis. To fully understand their meaning, you will need to be familiar with the federal need analysis methodology, such as is used by the EFC Estimator. The meanings of the acronyms are as follows:EFC Expected Family Contribution TI Total Income ATI Allowances Against Total Income STX State and Other Tax Allowance EA Employment Allowance IPA Income Protection Allowance AI CAI Contribution from Available Income (Independent Student) DNW Discretionary Net Worth APA Education Savings and Asset Protection Allowance PCA Parents' Contribution from Assets AAI Adjusted Available Income TPC Total Parents' Contribution TSC Total Student's Contribution PC Parents' Contribution SIC Dependent Student's Income Contribution SCA Dependent Student's Contribution from AssetsIf an asterisk appears next to the EFC figure, the student has been selected for verification. The asterisk is followed by a code that explains the reason why the student was selected for verification. The letter explains the reason for selection, and the number indicates the priority, with code 1 the highest priority and code 25 the lowest priority (although there are higher codes).
How do I make corrections to my Student Aid Report (SAR)?
Use www.fafsa.ed.gov to make corrections to your SAR. Go to the Make Corrections to a Processed FAFSA item on www.fafsa.ed.gov for instructions
Do I have to reapply for financial aid every year?
Yes. WKU requires that you apply for financial aid every year. If your financial circumstances change, you may get more or less aid. After your first year you will receive a "Renewal Application" which contains preprinted information from the previous year's FAFSA. Note that your eligibility for financial aid may change significantly, especially if you have a different number of family members in college. Renewal of your financial aid package also depends on your making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree, such as earning a minimum number of credits and achieving a minimum GPA.
Will I receive the same amount of financial aid next year?
If your family situation remains the same with regard to income, number in the family, number in college, and assets, and as long as SFA receives your FAFSA by early March, you can expect that your federal and state need-based financial aid should be approximately the same amount. However, your loan limits will change depending on your academic level and your dependency status. In addition, you must reapply for financial aid every year you wish to be considered for aid.
Do I need to be admitted before I can apply for financial aid at a particular university?
No, you can apply for financial aid any time after January 1. To actually receive funds, however, you must be admitted and enrolled at the university

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 Last Modified 9/25/14