It's not that complicated.... really!


If your student wants financial aid, they need to start the process each year by filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid online (FAFSA). They can apply starting January 1 for the upcoming academic year. There is no cut-off date, but many programs have a priority date of March 1, and some funds are limited, so encourage your student to apply early. Most students do qualify for some type of financial aid – don't buy into the myth that your family won't receive any help.

Print this hand-out pdf about financial aid basics especially for prospective and new students and their families.

Apply for a FSA ID

If you haven't already, you and your student need to apply online for a FSA ID. Your FSA ID serves as your electronic signature. Your FSA ID will be available at the time of application so you can use it immediately to electronically sign your FAFSA. You will use your FSA ID to sign other financial aid documents, check the status of your FAFSA, make corrections and check your loan history.

What your student needs for the FAFSA

  • Your student's name and social security number exactly as it appears on their social security number card
  • Your social security number
  • WMU’s federal school code – 002330. List "Western Michigan University, West Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo MI" on the FAFSA as one of your student's college choices
  • Federal tax return from the previous year

New! FAFSA filers can now complete their tax information automatically using the IRS Data Retrieval option. It takes approximately 1-2 weeks for the IRS to make the data available if you filed an electronic return (6-8 weeks if you mailed a paper return). When prompted, follow the links to retrieve your tax information from the IRS and transfer it to your FAFSA -- this makes filling out your FAFSA easier and eliminates time-consuming errors. Get all the data retrieval and tax transcript details online.

How the FAFSA works

The FAFSA gathers information about you and your student's incomes, assets, and other related information to determine your expected family contribution (EFC). Once you’ve filed, you can check the status of your application with the federal processor online or by calling the US Department of Education Student Aid Information Center, 1-800-433-3243 (TTY users call 1-800-730-8913).

The federal processor creates a Student Aid Report (SAR), based on the information you provided, and sends it to the schools your student listed on the FAFSA. Once WMU receives your student's SAR, we take the estimated cost of attendance minus your EFC. This determines your student's unmet need. We then apply financial aid toward your need.

FAFSA corrections

Sometimes, you may need to make changes to your FAFSA after it has been turned in. Do this online using FAFSA on the Web. You (and if student information is being changed) will need to use your FSA ID. If you, your student, WMU, another school, or the Department of Education submits FAFSA corrections after your student has been awarded financial aid, this may cause a change in your expected family contribution and awards may be adjusted or canceled. In addition to submitting corrections based upon verification, WMU may also submit corrections if we determine that the student indicated:

  1. He or she has a prior degree in error
  2. He or she will be a graduate student in error
  3. He or she is married and the date they became married is after their original FAFSA date
  4. He or she does not meet the definition of an independent student

WMU may also request additional documentation from you or your student to verify the information submitted on the FAFSA.

Have questions? See the answers in our FAQ.

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