Western Connecticut State University offers financial aid to help eligible students meet their educational expenses. The staff of the Office of Financial Aid & Student Employment assists students in determining their eligibility for the various sources of available aid.
While not everyone will qualify for assistance, students should never assume they are ineligible without first applying. A wide spectrum of variables affects the application process and many possible options exist that may pertain to a student’s particular circumstances.
The evaluation of financial need is based on an analysis of several factors such as student and family income, family size, assets and liabilities, and the number of family members enrolled in post-secondary education.
In addition, Western’s total allocation of funds for an academic year is a factor that determines the amount of aid a student may receive. Meeting the priority processing date and assessing the student’s financial need are important factors in the financial aid process. All financial aid recipients must apply annually for financial aid to qualify for assistance.
How to Apply
First-Time Applicants and Transfer Students
Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.ed.gov, and complete according to instructions. The university’s code, 001380, is required. Please be sure to obtain a FSA ID for yourself and your parent (if you are a dependent student) prior to completing the online form. You can apply for an FSA ID by going to http://fsaid.ed.gov
Applicants should make every attempt to utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing the FAFSA. If at the time of completing the FAFSA form you are unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool because your taxes were recently filed or were not filed yet, you must update your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool once you have filed your taxes. Some individuals may not be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval due to other circumstances.
The document resulting from the FAFSA is the Institutional Student Information Record or Student Aid Report (SAR). In order to be considered for priority packaging, this must be received in the university’s data files with a valid index number and with Western’s school code by March 1.
The applicant should allow 3-5 days for the processing of the FAFSA; February 1 is the latest recommended filing date.
First-time attending students must be accepted to the university by the Admissions Office by the March 1 deadline in order to be considered for priority packaging.
If your FAFSA form is selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education, you may be asked to provide the following information or documents:
If you did not utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you may be asked to update your FAFSA using this tool. In certain circumstances where this is not possible, you will be required to provide an IRS Tax Transcript for the student and/or parents. IRS Tax Return Transcripts may be obtained by going online to www.irs.gov/Individuals/Get-Transcript,calling the IRS toll-free at 1-800-908-9946, or downloading a form online and mailing it to the IRS.
If you and/or your parents did not and will not file a Federal income tax return, then a Verification of Non-Filer Status/Household Resources Form must be completed and submitted to our office along with a copy of all W-2’s for any earned income.
Verification information that may be requested includes:
Proof of high school completion or its equivalent
Proof of identity and statement of educational purpose
Once your FAFSA form is received by the Office of Financial Aid & Student Employment, you will be notified what information and/or documents are required in order to complete the processing of your Financial Aid Award Package.
Note: If selected for verification, additional deadlines may apply.
To reapply for financial aid at Western, the following conditions must be met:
1. You must be in good academic standing.
2. You must be a matriculated student registered at least half-time for the upcoming semester.
3. You must have maintained satisfactory academic progress according to the standards and practices of the institution. (http://www.wcsu.edu/finaid/policies/progress.asp)
4. You should make every attempt to complete your FAFSA by our priority packaging date of March 1.
If your FAFSA form is selected for VERIFICATION, please refer to the Important Deadlines section.
Financial aid awards are given on a first-come, first-served basis. Please submit your paperwork by the required dates.
Western offers university and WCSU Foundation scholarships and academic awards to undergraduate and graduate students. For information about the scholarship selection process, please go to www.wcsu.edu/scholarships.
State scholarship recipients
If you are a recipient of a state scholarship and are subject to deadline dates, it is suggested that you complete a FAFSA as outlined (See “First-Time Applicants and Transfer Students”). Be sure to meet the necessary deadline dates.
Note: When you complete the FAFSA, you are applying for all federal, state, university grants and loans offered at Western.
Federal Pell Grants (PELL)
The Pell Grant was established as a basic access program for students who come from low- and middle-income families. To qualify for a Pell Grant, the student must:
1. Be matriculated.
2. Be registered at least half-time.
3. Be enrolled, or accepted for enrollment, in an eligible program as an undergraduate student at the institution.
4. Meet one of the following citizen criteria:
a. Be a U.S. citizen;
b. Be a permanent resident of the United States;
c. Provide evidence from the Immigration and Naturalization Service that he/she is in the United States for other than a temporary purpose, with the intention of becoming a citizen or permanent resident; or
d. Be a permanent resident of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands or the Northern Mariana Islands.
5. Maintain satisfactory academic progress according to the standards and practices of the institution. (http://www.wcsu.edu/finaid/policies/progress.asp )
6. Not owe a refund on a Pell Grant, supplement grant or state student incentive intended to meet the cost of attending the institution.
7. Not be in default on any National Defense/Direct Student Loan (also known as Perkins Loan), Stafford Student Loan, or Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) received to meet the cost of attending the institution.
8. Not engage in the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of a controlled substance during the period covered by this grant.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants are awarded to students pursuing a first baccalaureate degree. Awards range from $100 to $4,000 per academic year. The conditions to be met in order to qualify for a supplemental grant are the same as those listed under federal Pell Grants above.
Roberta B. Willis Scholarship (GOVS)
A GOVS award can be given to full-time matriculated students. Recipients must be Connecticut residents. The grant cannot exceed financial need.
Connecticut State University Grant Aid (CSUG)
Public Act 76-181 authorizes the Board of Regents for the State Universities to allocate funds to be given as grants to undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need and are enrolled as full or half-time matriculated students in a degree-granting program.
Federal Perkins Loan Program (PERK)
This program uses both federal and state funds. Annual loan limits are established at $5,500 for undergraduate students and $8,000 for graduate students. Aggregate borrowing limits are set at $27,500 for undergraduate students and $60,000 for graduate and professional students.
Students must provide their driver’s license number at the time of application. The monthly minimum repayment is set at $40.
There will be no repayment of principal or interest until nine months after the student graduates or formally leaves school.
(Note: There are a variety of reasons why Perkins Loan payments may be deferred, such as, economic hardship, military service, etc. For more complete information, please refer to the promissory note that is a part of your loan agreement.)
Federal Direct Loans
Direct Loans are low-interest loans for students and parents to help pay for the cost of a student’s education after high school.
The lender is the U.S. Department of Education rather than a bank or other financial institution.
Direct Subsidized Loans
Direct Subsidized Loans are for undergraduate students with demonstrated financial need, as determined by federal regulations. No interest is charged while a student is in school at least half-time, during the grace period, and during deferment periods. For more information on Direct Subsidized Loans including current interest rates, please visithttp://studentaid.ed.gov
Direct Unsubsidized Loans
Direct Unsubsidized Loans are not based on financial need; interest is charged during all periods, even during the time a student is in school and during grace and deferment periods. For more information on Direct Unsubsidized Loans including current interest rates, please visit http://studentaid.ed.gov
Borrowing Limits for Direct Subsidized
and Direct Unsubsidized Student Loans
Loan limits are determined by a student’s status or the number of completed credit hours:
First-year student (0-29 credit hours completed)
Second-year student (30-59 credit hours completed)
Other undergraduate (60+ credit hours completed)
Graduate and professional (undergraduate degree requirements completed)
Loan limits are as follows:
For DEPENDENT students
$ 5,500: First year ($3,500 of this amount may be subsidized)
$ 6,500: Second year ($4,500 of this amount may be subsidized)
$ 7,500: Other undergraduate ($5,500 of this amount may be subsidized)
$ 20,500: Graduate and professional
For INDEPENDENT students:
$ 9,500: First year ($3,500 of this amount may be subsidized)
$ 10,500: Second year ($4,500 of this amount may be subsidized)
$ 12,500: Other undergraduate ($5,500 of this amount may be subsidized)
$ 20,500: Graduate and professional
Aggregate Limits for Federal Direct Loans
$31,000 as a dependent undergraduate student
$57,500 as an independent undergraduate student ($23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans)
$138,500 as a graduate or professional student ($65,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans)
Direct PLUS Loan
The Direct PLUS Loans are unsubsidized loans for the parents of dependent students and for graduate/professional students. PLUS loans help pay for education expenses up to the cost of attendance minus all other financial assistance. Interest is charged during all periods. For more information on Direct PLUS Loans including current interest rates, please visit http://studentaid.ed.gov.
Direct Consolidation Loans
Eligible federal student loans can be combined into one Direct Consolidation Loan. These loans are designed to help student and parent borrowers simplify loan repayment by allowing the borrower to consolidate several types of federal student loans with various repayment schedules into one loan. For more information on Direct Consolidation Loans, please visit https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/consolidationPaper.action .
Generally, you will have 10 to 25 years to repay your loan, depending on which repayment plan you choose. The Direct Loan Servicing Center will notify you of the date your first payment is due.
If you do not choose a repayment plan, you will be placed on the Standard Repayment Plan, with fixed monthly payments for up to 10 years. Most Direct Loan borrowers choose to stay with the Standard Repayment Plan, but there are other options for borrowers who may need more time to repay or who need to make lower payments at the beginning of the repayment period. For more information on the different repayment plans, please visithttp://studentaid.ed.gov.
Borrower Defenses Against Repayment
The department will specify in regulations what acts or omissions of a school a borrower may assert as a defense against repaying a student loan. However, a borrower may not recover from the department an amount that exceeds what he/she has repaid on the loan.
During deferment periods, payment of principal will be postponed. Deferments may be granted for:
at least half-time study at a post-secondary institution;
study in an approved graduate fellowship program or in a rehabilitation training program for the disabled;
unemployment (up to three years) or;
economic hardship (up to three years).
The limits that exist in Section 532(a)(6) of the Bankruptcy Code to prevent the discharge of student loans in bankruptcy specify that student loans will not be discharged except in cases where the loans first became due more than seven years before the date the borrower and his or her dependents incurred hardship. These provisions apply to both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases.
Federal Tax Information
Any funds received from scholarships, benefits, fellowships, Western or any other sources that, when combined, exceed the cost of tuition, fees, books, required equipment and supplies are considered taxable income. These include federal Pell Grants but not federal loans. The borrower is required to report taxable awards to the IRS as income and therefore should keep a detailed record of all expenditures. Housing and food are considered nonexempt, so money spent on these items is subject to income tax.
What is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?
Students receiving financial assistance under the federally supported Title IV Programs must comply with the following set of standards to be eligible for such assistance. Such standards are referred to as Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP), and are measured on a per-term basis. SAP is an assessment of your cumulative academic record at Western Connecticut State University. This policy is separate and apart from other academic policies at the university.
There are three components measured and weighed in determining SAP to ensure successful completion of a degree within a timeframe consistent with federal regulations.
Students applying for financial aid must maintain status as a matriculated graduate or undergraduate. Matriculated students will be evaluated for Satisfactory Academic Progress based upon qualitative and quantitative standards, as well as a Maximum Timeframe standard.
Students who enroll in the Fresh Start program will only have the credits retained and new GPA as calculated by Fresh Start, included in the determination of their SAP status for the re-entry term.
Financial Aid Programs Affected by Satisfactory Academic Progress
SAP is required for all Title IV funds, state, university and some alternative loan programs including, but not exclusive to the following:
Federal Pell Grant
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
Federal Work-Study Program
Federal Perkins Loan Program
Federal Direct Loan Program
Subsidized Student Loans
Unsubsidized Student Loans
Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan
Alternative/Private Loan Programs
-Contact individual lenders to find effects of SAP on borrowing
Roberta B. Willis Scholarship
Connecticut State University Grant
State scholarship and grant programs