Financial Aid

FAQ - Application

Who is my financial aid advisor?
Students are not assigned a particular financial aid advisor during their time at WIU.  You may email, call, or stop by our office at any time to speak with a financial aid advisor. Phone:  (309) 298-2446,  Email:,  Location:  Sherman Hall 127
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Do I need to schedule an appointment to speak with an advisor?
You do not need to schedule an appointment. You may email, call, or stop by our office at any time to speak with a financial aid advisor. ( Phone:  (309) 298-2446,  Email:,   Location:  Sherman Hall 127)
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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 FAFSA must be filed each year in order to be eligible for finanical aid. Make sure to file as soon as possible after October 1st in order to receive the maximum amout of aid from federal, state, and institutional sources. Applicants are encouraged to obtain an FSA ID before beginning the FAFSA online.
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How often do I need to file the Free Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA)?
Applying for financial aid should be completed 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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What tax year will the FAFSA be based on?
The FAFSA always asks for income information from two years prior. Determine the academic year that the student will start college, and two years prior to that year will be the income year of focus.
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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. You'll submit one FAFSA with both parent and student information, though you can log on and complete your sections separately. Both need to provide the student's full legal name and Social Security number so that the FAFSA can connect your data and pull it into one application.
See  this article  by the Department of Education for more information on dependency status.
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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 to learn more about applying for aid as an independent student.
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If my parents are divorced, do both parents apply for financial aid?
Only include the parent that the student lived with the most over the previous 12 months. That parent is called the custodial parent. If the custodial parent is remarried, the current spouse's information will also need to be included. The noncustodial parent will not need to be listed on the FAFSA. 
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I have other siblings in college. Can I include them all in one application?
No, you'll need to complete a separate FAFSA for all children in college. However, after you complete your first FAFSA, you will be given the opportunity to copy the parent information into the FAFSA for the second child, so that in your second FAFSA, you'll only need to enter your second child's information (and won't need to type in parent information again). 
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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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What should I do when I receive my Student Aid Report (SAR)?
Review your SAR for mistakes or errors. If you find an error, you can submit a FAFSA correction.
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What is the best way to keep up to date on my financial aid status during breaks and over the summer?
The best way to stay up to date on your financial aid 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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How do I activate my WIU email and my STARS account?
You can activate your email account by going to

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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