Financial Aid

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2014-15 Financial Aid Checklist

Fall 2013

  1. To get started, create an expandable college folder where you can store all of your printed information, applications, and forms for future reference. Aren’t sure if you’ll need it? Save it!
  2. Begin reviewing University scholarship opportunities available through the WIU Scholarship Office and WIU academic departments.
  3. Begin researching private scholarship opportunities. Use reputable online scholarship searches like FastWeb, CollegeIllinois!, and Scholarship Experts.
  4. If you’re a new student, apply for your federal PIN number to use when you complete your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) online.
  5. Prepare to file your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) by reviewing our FAFSA Completion HELP guide.

January 2014

  1. File the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aidto be considered for federal and state financial aid (it’s a good idea to do this every year, even if you don’t expect aid).
    • File as soon as possible after January 1st – you may use estimated income information and then make corrections once your 2013 federal taxes are filed.
    • Priority consideration is given to students who complete their FAFSA by February 1 – this helps to maximize a student’s eligibility for certain campus and state funds, which are typically limited.
    • Include WIU as a school you would like to have receive your FAFSA (school code 001780).
    • If you would like your parent, spouse, etc. to have access to your financial aid information, set up a Parent/Guest Account on STARS or submit a one-time Release of Information form.
  2. Review your Student Aid Report (SAR) for any mistakes or errors that need correcting.
  3. Regularly check your WIU email and STARS/Financial Aid Information for any notifications or requests from our office.
    • If you haven’t already, activate your WIU email and STARS once you are accepted to the University.
    • You may grant online access to your STARS records to a maximum of 5 guests by selecting Parent and Guest Account Management from STARS.

Spring 2014

  1. IF SELECTED for Verification, submit the requested worksheet and additional requirements as instructed.
    • You will receive an email notification if you have been selected for Verification – a STARS/Financial Aid Information message will also be posted.
    • Please do not send a Verification Worksheet, tax returns, etc. unless the information is requested.
    • Our goal is to review your information within 2-4 weeks after all requirements have been submitted. The volume of files and time of year will affect time needed for review – check our website for updates.
  2. Continue to regularly check your WIU email and STARS/Financial Aid Information for reminders, requests, and notices from the Financial Aid Office.
  3. Review your Financial Aid Award Letter on STARS/Financial Aid Information.
    • You will be notified by email that your award letter has been completed and is available online.
    • Estimate your expenses using the WIU Cost Estimator.
    • You may reduce or cancel your loans using STARS.
  4. Start saving for upfront costs and personal expenses
    • Make the most of a summer job – save your earnings to purchase your textbooks!
  5. Notify our office of any additional aid you will receive that was not listed on your award letter.
  6. Complete Entrance Counseling if this is your first time borrowing Federal Direct Student Loans.
  7. Complete a Master Promissory Note if this is your first Federal Direct Student Loan, or if this is your first time borrowing student loan funds while attending WIU.

Now That You’re Enrolled…

  1. After registering for classes, calculate your expected 2014-15 charges using the WIU Cost Estimator.
    • The first bill of each semester is generally available on STARS the first week of August/January.
    • Student loans cannot be disbursed until immediately prior to the start of classes and will not appear on the August/January bills. Monitor your University account on STARS by selecting B/R Account Detail.
    • Complete the Direct Deposit Authorization on STARS to receive any refund due to you.
    • Remember that funds are to be used only for educationally-related expenses such as books and supplies, room and board or rent and utilities, transportation to class, etc.
  2. Additional loan eligibility may be available if needed. See Parent PLUS loan and private alternative loan information in the Loans section of our website
  3. Prepare to pay for your books by cash, check, or credit card.
    • Books cannot be charged to your University account.
  4. Read the Financial Aid Reminders available on our website.
  5. Read the Financial Aid Handbook & Policy Information available on our website.
  6. Review your federal student loan history .
    • Track your federal student loan debt every year – remember, borrow only what you need!
    • Remember that private student loan information is not available through this federal database, so you will have to keep track of your private loan information yourself.
  7. Get ready to do it all again! Financial aid is an annual process, so there will be new scholarship applications every fall and a new FAFSA to complete every January.
  8. Students who are graduating and/or not returning next year should:

Also review our Frequently Asked Questions and check out WIU Financial Aid on Facebook!