Financial Aid

Welcome to Financial Aid

Thinking about joining WIU as a Leatherneck? Check out our information for prospective students!

link to WIU FA Brochure Discover What to Expect Presentation Frequently Asked Questions Submit a question

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FAQ - Costs & Billing

  • How much will my bill be?
  • Where’s my bill and how much do I still owe?
    • Your fall semester bill is first issued in early August, and your spring semester bill is first issued in early January - you will also receive subsequent monthly statements for any outstanding balance still owed. Bills will be available on STARS under B/R Billing Statement, and a notification will be sent to your WIU email when each bill is ready to view. Any remaining balance not paid by the bill’s due date will be assessed a 1% finance charge and rolled over to the next month’s bill. Failure to view a bill will not excuse finance charge assessments or payment of the account.

      You may view an itemized list of student account transactions on STARS under B/R Account Detail. Your B/R Account Detail will show what financial aid has already credited to your account, along with your current remaining balance. Subtract any expected fall financial aid (that has not already applied to your account) from your current balance to estimate what remaining portion of the balance you will be responsible for paying.

      Most financial aid, including loans, will credit to your student account just before the semester begins. If you have questions regarding your charges or remaining balance, contact the Billing & Receivables Office at (309) 298-1831.
  • Does the University offer any payment plans for tuition and room and board charges?
    • Yes, payment plans are available through the Billings and Receivables Office.
  • When can I expect a financial aid refund?
    • The earliest refunds are issued the Friday before the start of the semester - but remember, not everyone will receive a refund. Refunds will only be issued to students whose financial aid, once credited to their University account, is greater than their eligible charges. For more details, including how to receive your refund via Direct Deposit, visit the Billing & Receivables Frequently Asked Questions.
    • Short-term loans may be granted to students who have financial aid pending that would result in a refund to the student, but the refund will not be available in a timely manner. Short-Term Loan Program requests are made in the Scholarship Office, 308 Sherman Hall. The first short-term loan application date is the Thursday before the start of classes each semester.
  • Why do I still owe a balance on my University account after receiving a refund?
    • Federal regulations state that Title IV awards (federal student loans, Pell, Perkins, SEOG) to tuition, fees, room and board - not miscellaneous charges. Please contact Billing & Receivables to authorize the University to apply this aid to miscellaneous charges such as parking tickets, medical services, finance charges, etc., and up to $200 from the previous academic year.
  • Am I able to charge books?
    • Books cannot be charged to your student account, and refunds from financial aid are not always available or may be insufficient to pay for your books. Please be prepared to pay for your books from your own personal resources.
  • Is it possible to obtain a short-term loan for books?
    • It is possible under limited circumstances. The Scholarship Office has funds available for students whose refunds (aid greater than University charges) are not available when the semester begins. Please note that aid applications, subsequent information requests, etc. must be submitted a month before school begins - aid applications received after that date and during the start-up of each semester will be processed after the semester is underway.
  • I need more aid - what should I do?
    • If you have any remaining financial need after your aid has applied to your student account, here are a few options to consider:
      • Review the Billing & Receivables Payment Plans to determine if there is a payment plan that would work for you and your family.
      • Consider pursuing student employment opportunities to help cover your expenses.
      • Contact the Financial Aid Office to determine if you are eligible for any additional federal student loans.
      • Review and discuss the Federal Parent PLUS Loan information on our website with your parent(s). A student whose parent is unable to obtain a PLUS loan may be eligible for additional federal student loans.
      • Review the private alternative student loan information on our website. Students who are unable to obtain a private loan will not be eligible for additional federal student loans.
      • If your family's financial circumstances have changed since last year (loss of job or benefits, death of a parent, etc.), and that change was not accurately reflected on your FAFSA, contact our office to discuss your individual situation with a financial aid advisor.
  • Is it possible to use current federal and state financial aid to pay a previous semester's bill?
    • No. However, some private lenders allow funds from private alternative loans to be used for a previous term's bill. Remember that the terms and conditions for alternative loans are less favorable than those for federal student loans.

Presentation Request Form

Want someone from our office to come to your classroom, group, high school or or other meeting? We offer many presentations and games to teach various types of students about Financial Literacy.

Contact us here:

New STARS Layout

A recent update to STARS now allows you to access STARS on your mobile devices with greater ease, but it has resulted in some re-organization of screens you use. You can find our screen, Financial Aid Information, under the Financials heading.

How to Create Your FSA ID

Before you fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you must first set up your FSA ID - a username and password - which will be needed to electronically sign and submit the FAFSA.  This step will take a few minutes to complete and you can watch the following video on how to create your FSA ID to help save time. 

Please remember that any parent of a dependent student must create and use their own FSA ID in order to electronically sign the FAFSA. Both parent and student should create their own FSA ID and not have someone else complete this step for them.  For additional information please visit Parents can also watch FAFSA and FSA ID Tips for Parents to get more information.

IRS Data Retrieval Tool

The IRS Data Retrieval tool was suspended by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The Data Retrieval Tool will not be available for the 2017-18 FAFSA. Alternative means of completing verification can be utilized by requesting a tax return transcript for the 2017-18 year.

The IRS Data Retrieval tool is available for the 2018-19 FAFSA.

For instructions for requesting a tax return transcript please visit

IRS Data Retrieval Tool Update


Get Started

There's a lot to cover, so the best place to begin is our Getting Started section - here you can find checklists, timelines, helpful hints, and other tools created specifically for WIU students.

The first step is always completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which can be done online at If you're looking for a quick and easy review, check out the:

Of course, different types of students may need different information. Click below to determine if there are any specific instructions or requirements that may apply to you:

Undergraduate Students Transfer Students International Students Graduate Students

Stay in Touch

Are you looking for an easy way to stay up to date in the world of financial aid? Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! These are both great and convenient ways for WIU students and parents to receive regular reminders, updates, and current financial aid news directly from our office.