Financial Aid

Financial Aid Handbook & Policies

Financial Aid Award Letter

As soon as the Financial Aid Office has determined your financial aid awards, we will send you an award notification by email informing you that your award letter is available for review on STARS. STARS is a secure site where you access your student information. If you are unable to access your award letter, you may contact our office to request a paper notification be mailed to you.

Note: New students will receive a postcard announcement, in addition to receiving an email notification. All further notifications throughout the year will be to your WIU email account.

Check your WIU email frequently for updates and requests. Activate your email account by going to If you are a new student at Western, you should have received a mailing containing a card indicating your WIU ID number, your ECOM username and instructions for activating your WIU email account. The mailer also has instructions for accessing your STARS account. The first time you access STARS, your PIN will be your MONTH and DAY of birth (mmdd).

The aid awarded on your award letter was determined from information reported on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The amounts indicated are calculated based upon your federal Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and the cost of attending WIU. The EFC (calculated by the federal processor using a formula approved by Congress), largely determines eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant, the Monetary Award Program (MAP) from the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) and subsidized Federal Direct Stafford Loan. If you are eligible and funds were available, you were also considered for Federal Work-Study, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) and the Federal Perkins Loan programs.

The Award Letter is based on the following considerations (unless otherwise stated):

  • Full-time enrollment status (minimum 12 hours for undergraduate and 9 hours for graduate students).
  • Tuition and fees (according to your matriculation date).
  • Awards may be adjusted if your enrollment is less than full-time OR if you receive any aid not included on your award letter.
  • MAP awards are based on 15 hours of enrollment. MAP may be adjusted if enrollment is less than 15 semester hours after the 10th day of classes.
  • Federal Direct Stafford Loans require a minimum of six hours of enrollment.

Federal Work-Study, FSEOG and Perkins Loan are offered first to students who file early and have the greatest financial need (especially FSEOG). Funds for these programs are limited. Notice will be sent only if you are eligible and funds are available.

Sometimes calculated financial need is greater than financial aid available from state and federal funds - please refer to the section on Additional Resources.

The information on your award letter can be used to estimate what you may pay for a semester. First, exclude Federal Work-Study (if applicable). Then, subtract the Total Aid Awarded Fall or Spring Term from the Estimated Expenses listed on the award letter. The result is approximately what you must pay for a semester.

Federal regulations require WIU to consider all resources when awarding financial aid. You must notify the Financial Aid Office immediately if you have or will receive any other resources (i.e., private scholarships, etc.) not included in the Aid Awarded section of your award letter. Adjustments to your financial aid may be necessary. We must assume you will continue receiving private scholarship or grant money you received last year. Please check with your scholarship provider if you have any questions. Please notify us if you will not be attending WIU.