Financial Aid

FAQ - Application

  1. Who is my financial aid advisor?
  2. Do I need to schedule an appointment to speak with an advisor?
  3. When can I apply for financial aid?
  4. How often do I need to file the Free Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA)?
  5. Why is financial aid based on my parents information?
  6. What are the criteria to be considered an independent student?
  7. What is a Student Aid Report (SAR)?
  8. What should I do when I receive my Student Aid Report (SAR)?
  9. What is the best way to keep up to date on my financial aid status during breaks and over the summer?
  10. How do I activate my WIU email and my STARS account?
1. Who is my financial aid advisor?
Students are not assigned a particular financial aid advisor during their time at WIU. See our directory for an up-to-date listing of our advisors.
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2. Do I need to schedule an appointment to speak with an advisor?
Note:   during the COVID-19 emergency, we will not be available for walk-in appointments, however, you can schedule a phone or videoconference appointment with an advisor by picking out a slot  via Calendly .
You may also email or call at any time (Financial-Aid@wiu.edu, (309) 298-2446) to speak with a financial aid advisor.
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3. When can I apply for financial aid?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can be filed beginning October 1 for the upcoming academic year. The application process is an annual activity beginning anytime after October 1 for the following academic year (fall, spring and summer). Applicants are encouraged to obtain an FSA ID before beginning the FAFSA online.
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4. How often do I need to file the Free Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA)?
Applying for financial aid is an annual process and should been done every year while you are attending college. Applicants are encouraged to file as soon as possible after October 1st in order to be eligible for the maximum federal and state aid programs.
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5. Why is financial aid based on my parents information?
The Department of Education requires that a parent, with rare exception, has the primary responsibility of providing for educational expenses until the student reaches 24 years of age.
See  this article  by the Department of Education for more information on dependency status.
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6. What are the criteria to be considered an independent student?
Independent status is determined by meeting one of the following criteria, as determined and set by the Department of Education:
- Be 24 years of age or older
- Be married
- Have dependents who live with you and receive more than half of their support from you
- Be an orphan or ward of the court
- Be a veteran
- Be a graduate student
See this article by the Department of Education for more information on dependency status.
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7. What is a Student Aid Report (SAR)?
The Student Aid Report (SAR) is a summary of the information you entered on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The information is used by the school to analyze, verify, and package financial aid.
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8. What should I do when I receive my Student Aid Report (SAR)?
Review the information for mistakes or errors. If you find an error, you can submit a FAFSA correction.
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9. What is the best way to keep up to date on my financial aid status during breaks and over the summer?
The best way is to check your WIU email and STARS account regularly. The Financial Aid Office will send email notices to your WIU account and update your financial aid status on STARS when information is needed or changes are made.
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10. How do I activate my WIU email and my STARS account?
Email:
You can activate your email account by going to wiu.edu/activate.

STARS:
The first time you access STARS, your password will be your month, day and full year of birth (mmddyyyy). For example, if you were born on January 5, 1980 then your PIN will be 01051980. You will then be required to change your password.. DO NOT GIVE YOUR PASSWORD TO ANYONE!
For STARS sign-on assistance you may contact the Student Assistance and Parent Service Center (Union), 309-298-2092.
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