Financial Aid

Understanding Your Award Letter

The purpose of an award letter is to notify students of their financial aid eligibility at WIU for a specific academic year. Once your FAFSA application has been reviewed by our office, your financial aid eligibility will be determined and an award letter will be made available to you on STARS.

You will receive a notification at your WIU email account when your award letter is available. When you log on to STARS, select "Financial Aid Information" from the STARS drop-down menu. Then choose the academic year you wish to view. Finally, select "View Award Letter".

NOTE: If the State of Illinois MAP Grant is not included on your award letter, you are not eligible for the grant at Western Illinois University. Please see the Handbook & Policies for additional information.

Keep in mind that your awards may be adjusted later if:

  • Your enrollment changes (e.g. less than full-time, less than 15 credit hours/semester for MAP funding, or less than six credit hours/semester for federal loan eligibility).
  • You receive aid not included on a previous award letter.
  • Funding allocations change, particularly in regards to state and federal resources.

Your award letter contains important instructions and information you need to know - make sure to review your award letter in full and contact our office with any questions.

View our presentation on "Understanding Your Award Letter" as a PowerPoint or PDF

In addition, returning students should regularly track their federal student loan history online using's Loan Management tool. Log in with your FSA ID by clicking on "View My Account" to see your personal student loan history. Use the information provided  to help monitor your outstanding debt and calculate your future repayment amounts.

Still confused about your award letter? Check out this podcast from the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) about the types of aid you may receive, what aid you might have to pay back, and what to do if you need more financial aid that what you were offered.

Read the full transcript.