Apply for Financial Aid

Ready to get started on financial aid? Whether you’re an undergraduate or graduate student, be sure to start the process each year by filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online. Most Western students qualify for some type of financial aid, so it’s always a good idea to complete a FAFSA application.

The federal application for the 2024-25 academic year is now open and has been updated. For first-year domestic students, the FAFSA is always a new experience, and this year—it's new for everyone, including us. The changes are meant to make filling out the form faster and simpler, but you'll want to be patient when filling out the form during this soft launch period, which began Dec. 31, 2023. You can learn more about the changes and how to fill out the form below.

Timeline

  • Our office will receive FAFSA data mid-March.
  • We will send financial aid offer letters by early April.

We recommend that you check your WMU email regularly as we may need to request additional information from you. Check this webpage for new updates from Student Financial Aid and the Department of Education.

  • New this year: 2024-25 FAFSA information

    The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) received an update for the 2024-25 school year due to the FAFSA Simplification Act. Federal Student Aid has released a new timeline that will impact when students will receive college award packages.

    Currently, we anticipate receiving FAFSA data by mid-March, which means we won’t be able to send out financial aid offer letters until early April. We understand that this delay may affect your final decisions for the upcoming school year, and we apologize for any inconvenience it may cause.

    While you wait for your financial aid offer letter, here are some steps you can take:

    If you have not begun the FAFSA, start now

    1. Create an FSA ID for yourself and any contributors. 
    2. File the FAFSA at studentaid.gov using WMU's school code: 002330. Despite the delay, filing early can mean receiving an offer letter sooner.
    3. If you encounter any challenges with the FAFSA form, you can use the live chat features or email customerservice@studentaid.gov for assistance. Providing screenshots of any issues can be helpful.

    Next steps

    1. Plan a visit to Western Michigan University! Our Future Bronco Days events are designed specifically for first-year students. Visiting campus can provide valuable insight to aid in your final decision.
    2. Estimate potential aid using the FSA Student Aid Estimator. Compare this to actual WMU costs as you consider your options. This tool provides an estimate of how much federal student aid you may be eligible to receive for the 2024-25 academic year. 
    3. Apply for scholarships: We encourage you to apply early, as some scholarship priority deadlines are approaching, such as March 1.
    4. Be sure to check your WMU email often! Financial aid updates and notifications will be sent via your WMU email. 

    FAFSA challenges

    • The 2024-25 FAFSA has posed challenges for many students and families. Here are some Pro Tips when filing the FAFSA. 
    • The federal government created a 2024-25 FAFSA Issue Alerts webpage to provide updates about known issues. 

    What are the 2024-25 FAFSA changes?

    The new FAFSA® will:

    • Determine your financial aid for summer II 2024, fall 2024, spring 2025 and summer I 2025. 
    • Be more streamlined with fewer questions. 
    • Be updated with new information and terms.  
    • Offer increased eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant.  
    • Be streamlined with fewer questions and automatically pull your tax info from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 

    New terminology and info 

    • Contributor is a new term and refers to anyone providing info on the FAFSA®, including the student, the student’s spouse, a biological or adopted parent or a stepparent.  
      -  Contributors are required to provide information on the FAFSA® form.  
      -  Students will need the contributor’s name, date of birth, Social Security Number (SSN), and email address to invite them to complete the required portion of the FAFSA®.  |
      -  Contributors will need their own FSA ID.
      -  Contributors must provide consent and approval to have their federal tax information directly transferred from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to the FAFSA®.
      -  If all contributors do not provide consent and approval, the student will not be eligible for federal financial aid. 
    • Student Aid Index (SAI) calculates how much need-based financial aid a student is eligible to receive. The lower the SAI, the greater the financial need. SAI can be a negative number as low as -$1,500. It replaces Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from previous forms.
    • FAFSA Submission Summary is what you will receive once you have completed and submitted the FAFSA® and will replace the Student Aid Report (SAR).
    • Direct Data Exchange (DDX) previously known as IRS Data Retrieval Tool is a tool that imports tax data directly from the IRS to your FAFSA.
    • More students will now be eligible for the Pell Grant.
    • Small family-owned businesses and farms are now counted as assets.
    • Families will no longer benefit from having multiple students in college.
    • The parent who completes the FAFSA® is changing for divorced or separated parents. The FAFSA® will now be completed by the parent who provided more financial support in the past year rather than the one the student lived with the most.

     

  • Weekly updates: FAFSA filing issues

    Updated: Feb. 22, 2024

    Resolution for 2024-25 FAFSA Contributors without Social Security Numbers

    The Department of Education (DOE) announced that it would resolve a FAFSA issue that is preventing submission when a contributor does not have a SSN in the first half of March. We are suggesting that applicants wait until a permanent solution is resolved, unless the situation is urgent. The DOE instructs applicants whose parents do not have a SSN to check their FAFSA status in the first half of March when the processing of FAFSA forms will begin, at which time students will need to make corrections to their form and have their contributors provide their consent and signature. 

    Forgoing parent FAFSA information and applying for a Direct Unsubsidized Loan only

    The FAFSA application explains that if your parents don't support you and refuse to provide their information on the application, you may submit your FAFSA form without their information. However, you won't be able to get any federal student aid other than a Direct Unsubsidized Loan. Please note: Our office will determine students' eligibility for a Direct Unsubsidized Loan only, and that it is not guaranteed. 

    Delay in reviewing completed FAFSA information and making corrections

    At this time, most students are unable to view completed FAFSA information and may see a message that indicates their FAFSA is "in process" or "under review." Federal Student Aid has indicated that FAFSA information may not be available to review or edit—by students or schools—until sometime in March. Additionally, schools will not receive or be able to access FAFSA information and results until March. At the time schools receive FAFSA data, students should be able to fully review their FAFSA information and make corrections if needed.

Pride points

  • 98% of students with financial need receive aid (full time, undergraduate)

    2022-23 Common Data Set

    Explore the data

  • 50+ endowed scholarships available from generous WMU donors

  • 60% of students receive grant money directly from the school, which is above the national average for public schools

First things first: Apply for an FSA ID

We encourage all students and their families to complete the FAFSA. The application provides us information used for determining not only grants but also loan and scholarship amounts.

If you haven't already, you need to apply online for an 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.

Your FSA ID allows you to sign other financial aid documents, check the status of your FAFSA, make corrections and check your loan history.

FAFSA checklist: What you need in order to file

  • Your FSA ID.
  • Your name and Social Security number exactly as they appear on your Social Security card.
  • WMU’s FAFSA code: 002330. List Western Michigan University, West Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI as one of your college choices.
  • Federal income tax return from the previous year.
  • Driver's license (if you have one).
  • Bank statement.

The IRS Direct Data Exchange allows FAFSA filers to have tax data directly imported from the IRS to the FAFSA. You will be able to report tax information from two years ago (i.e., if you apply for the 2024-25 FAFSA, you can use 2022 tax information). 

 

How the FAFSA works

The FAFSA gathers information about your income, assets and other related information to determine your student aid index, a new term introduced for the 2024-25 FAFSA. Once you’ve filed, you can check the status of your application with the federal processor online or by calling the U.S. Department of Education Student Aid Information Center at (800) 433-3243. TTY users call (800) 730-8913.

The federal processor creates your FAFSA Submission Summary (FSS)—new for the 2024-25 FAFSA—based on the information you provided and sends it to the schools you listed on the application. Once WMU receives your FSS, the estimated cost of attendance minus your expected family contribution or student aid index determines your unmet need. We then apply the financial aid programs you qualify for toward your need.

 

FAFSA corrections

Sometimes, you need to make corrections to your FAFSA after it has been turned in. To make changes, visit studentaid.gov and use your FSA ID to log in.

If you, WMU, another school or the Department of Education submits FAFSA corrections after you have been offered financial aid, your offers may be adjusted or canceled. In addition to submitting corrections based upon verification, WMU may also submit corrections if:

  • You indicated you have a prior degree in error.
  • You indicated you will be a graduate student in error.
  • You indicated you are married, and the date you became married is after your original FAFSA date.
  • You do not meet the definition of an independent student.

WMU may also request additional documentation from you to verify the information you supplied on the FAFSA.

 

Are you an international student seeking financial aid info?

While most U.S. federal financial aid only applies to U.S. citizens and permanent residents, funding sources are available for undergraduate and graduate international students in the form of scholarships and assistantships.

Learn how to obtain funding as an international student  

 

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