Student Financial Aid determines your offer from the information that you and your family supplied to the federal processor on the FAFSA.
Priority is given to:
- Early applicants.
- The lowest to highest family incomes.
- Academic merit.
All programs are offered based on eligibility and the availability of funds.
To determine the types and amounts of offers for which you may be eligible, WMU considers residency status and dependency status.
Any Western Michigan University undergraduate student who has been admitted as a degree seeking student and began enrollment effective with the Summer I 2017 session or later, will have their residency status determined at the time of admission and it will remain the same throughout the student’s enrollment at Western Michigan University. For questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, call (269) 387-2366 or visit the Accounts Receivable website.
Your dependency status for financial aid purposes is determined by how you answered questions in Step 3 of the FAFSA. If you answered "yes" to one or more of the questions, you are considered independent. If you answered "no" to all of the questions, you are considered dependent. Your dependency status determines the maximum federal direct loan limits for which you are eligible and whether or not you are eligible for a Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan. If you have answered "no" to all the questions in Step 3 and you have extenuating circumstances which prohibit you from obtaining parental data requested on the FAFSA, you can complete a dependency override appeal and submit it to Student Financial Aid.
If your dependency status is changed from independent to dependent based upon corrections made to your FAFSA in Step 3 by you or a school, your FAFSA may be considered rejected until parental information is provided. If you were offered prior to the correction, your offers may be adjusted after parental information is received.
Class level and admission status
Your class level and admission status determines the maximum federal direct loan limits for which you are eligible and your eligibility for grants and scholarships, Federal Work-study, etc.
Undergraduate degree or no prior degree
Your class level as an undergraduate student admitted into a degree granting program with no prior degree is determined by the number of credit hours you have completed.
- Freshman: 0 to 25 credit hours.
- Sophomore: 26 to 55 credit hours.
- Junior: 56 to 87 credit hours.
- Senior: 88+ credit hours.
Second bachelor's degree or permanent teacher certification
If you have a bachelor's degree and you have been admitted into a different undergraduate degree granting program or you are taking courses to obtain your permanent teacher certification, then you are considered at the junior or senior level for federal direct loan limits and your dependency status is dependent upon how you answer the questions in Step 3 of the FAFSA. You are no longer eligible for federal and state grants or scholarships.
If you have completed a bachelor's degree and you are admitted into a master's, specialist or doctoral graduate degree program, you are considered a graduate student for maximum federal direct loan limits and you are considered independent. You are no longer eligible for federal or state grants and scholarships.
If you are not admitted into a degree-granting program at WMU then you are not eligible for federal or state financial aid. You are considered not admitted into a degree-granting program for financial aid purposes for the following situations:
- Guest (admitted at another educational institution and taking one or more courses at WMU).
- Degree status of: NDA, GNA or GCP (no degree awarded or a graduate certificate program). Please note that if your degree status is professional certification whereby you are completing hours for state permanent teacher certification, you are eligible for federal direct loans at the undergraduate level.
- Taking additional courses after graduation and not admitted into a different degree-granting program with a different major, although WMU allows registration for additional courses after you have graduated for up to one year without being admitted into a different degree-granting program, you are no longer eligible for financial aid.
- Adding a minor after obtaining your undergraduate degree.
The semesters for which you are enrolled and your enrollment status (full-time versus less than-full-time) affect the aid programs for which you are eligible and your estimated cost of attendance. WMU assumes full-time enrollment for Fall and Spring when estimating financial aid offers.
Your offer amounts may be affected if you are enrolled less than full-time, less than half-time, enrolled in Summer I or Summer II, graduating in August or December or you are an undergraduate student becoming a graduate student.
Enrolled less than full-time
If you will be enrolled less than full-time in any semester, your offers may be reduced or cancelled depending upon your actual enrollment at the time of disbursement and the eligibility criteria for each of the aid programs. To be considered full-time for Fall and Spring semesters, a graduate student must be enrolled in 6 credit hours as determined at the time of census. Half-time enrollment is at least 3 credit hours. During Summer sessions, full-time enrollment is at least 3 credit hours and half-time is at least 2 credit hours. The Registrar’s Office has complete information on enrollment.
Enrolled less than half-time
If you will be enrolled less than half-time, your eligibility will be reduced. In addition, if you have received Federal Direct Subsidized Loan or Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, your loan(s) may go into repayment.
Enrolled in summer I or summer II
- If you are planning to enroll in Summer I or Summer II, you must complete a summer financial aid application - available each Spring semester on our Forms webpage.
- Offers for Summer I and Summer II may be limited to your remaining eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans, Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan, Federal Work-study and other grants.
- Due to federal regulations, if you are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant and have not used all of your eligibility prior to Summer I, we must offer what you may be eligible for in Summer I based upon your enrollment and remaining eligibility. If you are eligible for a Federal Pell Grant and enroll in Summer II, we have to award a Federal Pell Grant to you for Summer II based upon your enrollment and eligibility and may have to reduce the amount offered to you for a subsequent semester.
- You may not be eligible for additional federal direct loans in Summer I if you used your maximum amount in prior semesters. If you are offered loans for Summer II, it may reduce your eligibility for subsequent semesters.
- If you need additional funds for Summer I or Summer II, you may be eligible for a private alternative loan with the maximum amount based upon what we estimate your Summer I or Summer II costs are, minus any other aid offered to you.
Undergraduate becoming a graduate student
If you are planning to graduate from WMU and become a graduate student, you will need to notify the financial aid office in order to receive financial aid at the graduate level. You will no longer be eligible for federal, state and WMU grants. However, your annual loan limits will increase.
Estimated cost of attendance
The estimated cost of attendance is used solely for financial aid offers and includes tuition, fees, room, board, books, supplies, personal expenses, travel and loan fees and is estimated based upon averages for each category. These numbers are not reflective of actual or projected costs. Actual tuition, fees and University housing costs are published each year, generally after July 1, and are subject to approval by the WMU Board of Trustees approval. Factors considered are residency status, class level and admission status, planned enrollment and housing options of on-campus, off-campus or living with parents.
Financial aid may be offered up to the cost of attendance. If you receive offers, including outside scholarships, that exceed the COA, your offers may be adjusted or canceled.
Your estimated cost may be increased to allow for additional school related expenses, such as:
- Child care.
- Additional fees and costs for specific courses.
- Purchasing a computer.
Expected family contribution
The information you indicated on the FAFSA, and federal methodology, determine your EFC and the types of aid programs for which you are eligible. If a change occurs to your EFC after you have been offered financial aid, your offers may be adjusted or revoked. Your EFC may change due to verification, FAFSA corrections or an adjustment of family contribution appeal.
You must report your additional resources to Student Financial Aid. The receipt of some resources may affect your eligibility for funding. If the federal, state or WMU aid has already been paid to your account when the notification of other resources is received, the paid aid may be reduced or canceled before the other resources are applied. Other resources include the following:
- Americorp benefits used to pay for educational expenses.
- Michigan Education Trust.
- Reimbursement or payment of educational costs by a third party such as an employer or some other agency.
- Residence hall staff "free room and board" benefit or stipends.
- Stipends from assistantships and fellowships.
Program eligibility requirements
WMU must monitor the program eligibility requirements for all financial aid offered to students. Your offers may need to be adjusted or canceled if we receive notification of any change in your residency status, dependency status, class level and admission status, planned enrollment, estimated cost of attendance, expected family contribution or other resources.
Also, if you are not maintaining your eligibility, your offers may be canceled.
If you are receiving other resources, be sure you keep and understand any written information you have received regarding the eligibility criteria for those other resources. If you have not received any information, or you have lost it, contact the appropriate department, agency or donor and request a copy of the eligibility requirements.