Always apply for financial aid first!

Some families think they won't qualify for help. Don't let this myth keep you from applying for aid! Even if you only qualify for student loans, these government loans have better interest rates and repayment terms than private loans. You won't know what you may qualify for until you apply!

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


If you want financial aid, start the process each year by filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid online (FAFSA). You 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 apply early. Most students qualify for some type of financial aid – be sure to get your FAFSA in so you don’t get left out!

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

Apply for a FSA ID

If you haven't already, you 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 you need for the FAFSA

  • Your name and social security number exactly as it appears on your social security number card.
  • A parent's social security number.
  • WMU’s federal school code – 002330. List "Western Michigan University, West Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo MI" as one of your 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 details online.

How the FAFSA works

The FAFSA gathers information about you and your parent’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 Federal Student Aid Information Center, 1-800-433-3243 (TTY users call 1-800-730-8913).

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

FAFSA corrections

Sometimes, you need to make changes to the FAFSA after it's been submitted. Do this online using FAFSA on the Web link off site. You (and if parent information is being changed, your parent) will need to use your FSA ID.

If you, your parents, WMU, another school, or the Department of Education submits FAFSA corrections after you have been awarded financial aid, this may cause a change in your expected family contribution and your awards may be adjusted or canceled. In addition to submitting corrections based upon verification, WMU may also submit corrections if we determine the following:

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

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

Have questions? See the answers in our FAQ.

Updated: 05/26/2015 9:40 AM

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Student Financial Aid
1903 W Michigan Ave
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5337 USA
269 387-6000 finaid-info@wmich.edu