Translating the lingo

Let's translate that award letter into everyday language. Click a link for the translation.

Financial aid program
Total award
Total financial aid
Satisfactory academic progress
Cancel or reduce your awards

Your award letter

You completed the FAFSA and received your student aid report, or SAR. Next? You will receive your WMU award letter. If you're a new grad student, this letter will be mailed to your home. If you're a returning grad student, you will be notified through GoWMU and your WMU email.

How are awards determined?

Your award letter will tell you just how much aid you can expect to receive from WMU. Grad awards are comprised mostly of loans and are made based on several things, including the information you supplied on the FAFSA, your residency and your planned enrollment. As a grad student, you are no longer eligible for federal or state grants and scholarships. Get complete information on how graduate and undergraduate awards are determined here.

Cancel or reduce awards

You can cancel or reduce federal loans that have not disbursed to your WMU account. You may also cancel or reduce your federal loans after they have disbursed. However, if they have disbursed, the adjustment form must be received within 30 days of the date of disbursement. Canceling or reducing a disbursed loan may result in a balance due on your WMU account.

Special circumstances

Sometimes, your financial award may not cover all of your expenses. Or, your situation may have changed since filing your FAFSA. See complete details about when and how your aid can be adjusted on our page for special circumstances.


Not sure what your award letter actually says? Keep reading for the translation into everyday English.

Financial Aid Program
This is the first column of your award information. As a grad student, your awards will be mostly loans. Here are some common programs you'll find on your award letter as a grad student.

  • On your award letter: Federal Perkins Loan
    • Translated: federal perkins loan. This is a federal loan with limited funding. It is repaid to WMU. This loan has a fixed interest rate and is awarded to students with significant need. Get all the details on our loans page.
  • On your award letter: Federal Unsubsidized Loan
    • Translated: federal direct unsubsidized loan, or FDU. This federal loan is NOT need-based. It offers a low interest rate and minimal fees. Interest accrues with disbursement. See all the details on our loans page.

WMU breaks the school year into four terms. Financial aid is based on your estimated full-time enrollment. Most students enroll for fall and spring semesters. You may also enroll for classes during summer II and summer I. Both of these terms require an additional financial aid application. Your award letter shows your aid by semester.

Total award
This is the last column of your award information. It shows how much you have been awarded by each financial aid program.

Total financial aid
This is the bottom row of the table that shows your award package details. It shows you the total financial aid you have been awarded for each semester. The very last box shows your complete award amount. This amount may change if you have additional scholarships or outside resources to report.

Some students will be selected for verification. If you have been selected, we will contact you through your Western email. If selected for verification, you will be required to submit additional documentation. You need to turn in all requested documents as soon as possible to avoid any delay in processing your aid. Some financial aid awards are time sensitive, and could be reduced or revoked if you do not complete the verification process. For more information, visit our verification page.

Satisfactory academic progress (SAP)
To remain eligible for financial aid, you must make satisfactory academic progress at WMU. This means you must: pass 67 percent of all attempted hours; maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (3.00 for master's and doctoral students); not exceed a maximum of 183 attempted undergraduate hours, including transfer credit hours. For more details, view the satisfactory academic progress fact sheet.

Cancel or reduce your awards

You can change your award and cancel or reduce your loans by completing the student financial aid adjustment form.

Visit related WMU sites

There is a lot more to see! Visit some of our friends at WMU to learn about academics, campus life and how you can be successful.

Student Financial Aid
1903 W Michigan Ave
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5337 USA
269 387-6000