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AWARDING INFORMATION


A financial aid award, or awards package, is a comprehensive offer of resources to help a student pay for college. Award packages vary widely per student but may include grants, scholarships, loans, work-study, or any combination of these elements. Most WKU students receive annual Fall/Spring awards for traditional enrollment during the academic year. Term-specific awards are also available to eligible students enrolled in Winter, Spring, and/or Summer terms.

Find information about applying for and receiving federal financial assistance for students enrolled in both Fall and Spring terms. To learn more about awarding requirements and procedures for other terms, use the tabs above.

Students desiring federal aid (such as grants, loans, and work-study) for both Fall and Spring terms should meet the following criteria: 

  • be officially admitted to a degree-seeking program at Western Kentucky University,
  • have a valid FAFSA on file with WKU for the year in which they are seeking assistance,
  • and have no outstanding financial aid requirements.

First-time freshmen who meet this criteria can expect to receive an official award notification in April. Award notifications are sent via TopperMail (or to the email address listed on the student’s FAFSA until a TopperMail account is assigned).

Returning students who meet that criteria can expect to receive an official award notification via TopperMail after their grades have posted for the previous semester.

No. The FAFSA is the only application needed for federal student loans. However, in addition to accepting the loan offer on TopNet, first-time student loan borrowers must complete Entrance Counseling and E-Sign a Master Promissory Note at the StudentLoans.gov website before WKU can process loan funds. 

The university Bursar’s Office handles student billing and accepts payments. Please click here for more information.

The WKU Department of Student Financial Assistance adheres to federal, state, and institutional guidelines for administering aid. Your official award notification lists the total annual aid for which you qualify. In most cases, half of the aid will be applied to Fall term and the other half applied to Spring term. 

No. Student workers are placed on payroll and receive compensation for hours worked during a specified pay period. Full payment of your university bill is typically due before the semester begins, not incrementally over the term. Student employees may elect to save all or part of their paychecks to help with future education costs, but work-study income is not applied directly toward a student’s balance. 

No. An EFC number of 0* may mean you qualify for the maximum federal and/or state grant(s). It* may also make you eligible for a subsidized student loan, which reduces the amount of interest that would otherwise accrue when you borrow money.

However, costs vary per school and may include any combination of tuition and fees, housing, meals, books, or other charges. Should your university costs exceed your total aid package, you are responsible for the outstanding balance due, which should be paid by the billing due date.

*Per federal guidelines, an EFC of 0 does not guarantee grants or subsidized loan eligibility. A number of other factors help determine eligibility for student aid programs. For example, students pursuing graduate-level degrees do not qualify for grants or subsidized loans.

Each aid package is unique to the individual student and may include federal and/or state grants, student loans, and federal work-study. Many students also qualify for academic, athletic, or third-party scholarships to offset the cost of education. Should your eligibility for aid fall short of paying your university bill in full, you can consider a variety of other resources.

Our financial aid counselors are happy to assess your financial aid package and guide you toward potential funding sources. If you have any questions, please contact us.

For federal financial aid purposes (i.e., grants, loans), any courses taken during the Winter Term will be combined with Spring registration to determine your federal financial aid eligibility. Federal financial aid will not be awarded for Winter term; instead it will be combined with your Spring award and disbursed according to the Spring disbursement schedule. 

To be eligible for federal aid, you must have a valid FAFSA on file. The WKU Department of Student Financial Assistance will automatically review your federal eligibility based on the combined Winter and Spring registration. Enrollment in both Winter & Spring term courses will initiate this review.  

Your federal financial aid eligibility is based upon the combined Winter and Spring registration.  The Department of Student Financial Assistance will adjust your Cost of Attendance (COA) for Spring based upon Winter term registration.  Any courses taken during this term will be combined with Spring registration to determine federal financial aid eligibility.  For example: if a student is registered for 3 hours in the Winter term and 9 hours in the Spring term, his/her Spring eligibility will be based on 12 hours of enrollment.  

You will be billed separately for the Winter Term and will be responsible for paying your Winter balance by the due date listed on your Winter bill.  Winter Term enrollment is combined with Spring enrollment to determine federal financial aid eligibility; however, for billing purposes, Winter and Spring are separate terms.  

Any courses taken during the Winter Term will be combined with Spring registration to determine federal financial aid eligibility. 

If you’ve already been awarded a full-time package based upon your grade level and dependency status, adding Winter registration will not increase your Pell or Direct Loan eligibility.  However, there may be other financing options such as an alternative loan or Parent PLUS Loan. 

Pell eligibility is based on the combined Winter and Spring registration.  If you are already awarded a full-time Spring Pell grant, adding Winter registration will not increase your Pell award. 

CAP grant eligibility is based upon the combined Winter and Spring registration.  If you are already awarded a full-time spring CAP grant, adding Winter registration will not increase your CAP award.  

Because your loan eligibility is based upon your combined registration of the Winter and Spring terms, your loans will disburse after the Spring 100% drop/add period, provided that all financial aid requirements have been met. 

We will not automatically increase your PLUS Loan if you add Winter registration.  Your current Spring aid, including any PLUS Loans you are receiving, will apply toward Spring charges.  If your parent (or you, if you are a graduate student) would like to increase the PLUS Loan, you can email fa.applications@wku.edu, and information will be sent regarding the next steps to increase the PLUS Loan. 

It is highly recommended that you contact the Department of Student Financial Assistance prior to the end of the Fall semester to determine if there is aid eligibility. 

You must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) prior to receiving aid for any term.  There is no review after the Winter term; therefore, your winter grades will not change your federal financial aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) status for Spring semester.  SAP will be reviewed at the end of the Spring semester. 

Financial aid awards are based on combined Winter and Spring credit hours. If your registration falls below full-time (12 credit hours-combined Winter and Spring registration) before the Spring 100% drop/add period, your financial aid award will be adjusted.  

Students who begin their academic studies during the Spring semester or who transfer to Western Kentucky University from another school for the Spring semester may apply for financial aid. The same types of financial aid are available to students for Spring Only attendance as during both Fall/Spring attendance periods, but financial aid will be awarded for only the Spring semester, as opposed to a full academic year.

If your parent has not applied for the PLUS Loan, read our PLUS Loan page for more information. Graduate students who have reached $20,500 can apply for a Graduate PLUS Loan. $20,500 is typically the maximum amount that graduate students might be able to borrow in Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans per academic year.

A Spring Only student is a student who will begin attending WKU or is transferring to WKU for the Spring semester of the current academic year.  

The same types of aid are available to students for Spring Only as during the Fall/Spring semesters, however, financial aid will only be awarded for the Spring, as opposed to the full academic year.     

In order to apply for federal financial assistance, you must:

  • Have a valid FAFSA for the current academic year on file with WKU.  You may complete a FAFSA by going to www.fafsa.ed.gov. Or, you can add WKU to your current FAFSA by going to www.fafsa.ed.gov, logging into your account, and then choosing "Make FAFSA Corrections." 
  • Be in compliance with WKU’s Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.
  • Have no outstanding financial aid requirements. In order to determine this, you must log in to your TopNet account, select the Financial Aid tab, and then click Eligibility.
  • Be enrolled at least half-time (6 hours for undergraduates and 4.5 hours for graduate students) in a degree-seeking program in order to be eligible for federal loans.

Once you are enrolled, you will be contacted via email regarding aid eligibility. In order to determine your loan eligibility, you will need to complete the Spring Loan Preference Application.  Once you are enrolled at least half-time, a link will be emailed to you. 

If you are transferring from another university, where you attended in the Fall semester, please contact that institution to cancel pending Spring aid.  We cannot determine eligibility until pending aid has been canceled.

Our office typically starts awarding for the Spring term in November.  Once we have received your Spring Loan Preference Application, please allow 14 business days to be awarded.

Aid will be disbursed at WKU after the 100% drop/add period.  If you have a residual balance at that time, funds should be released in early February.  

Summer is part of the academic year that includes the previous Fall/Spring semesters. If you wish to apply for aid for the Summer semester, you will need to have a current FASFA on file.

Summer is part of the academic year that encompasses the previous Fall/Spring semesters.  For example, if you wish to apply for aid for the Summer 2017, you will need to have a 2016-2017 FAFSA on file.

Only Pell Grant and Federal Direct (aka Stafford) and PLUS Loans are available for the Summer term. SEOG and Perkins are not available nor are state programs such as CAP and KEES.  

Students may receive up to the equivalent of 3 full-time Pell Grant awards within an academic year (Fall, Spring, Summer).

There is a 6 hour minimum enrollment requirement in the Summer term for any student who already received 100% of his/her award. For example, if a student was registered full-time Fall and full-time Spring, he/she must be enrolled in at least 6 hours to receive any additional Pell Grant funds in the Summer term. Students can be awarded from the half-time award for 6 hours, up to the full-time award for 12 or more hours.

Students who were part-time Fall and Spring, are not held to the 6 hour minimum enrollment requirement for the Summer term. 

All students must continue to meet all SAP to retain eligibility. 

The chart below lists yearly loan amounts based on grade level.  If you did not utilize the full amount during the Fall/Spring semester, you could have loan eligibility for Summer (reaching your aggregate loan limit will prevent you from receiving your yearly amount).

Year in School

Dependent Student (had to use parent’s information on the FAFSA)

Independent Student OR Dependent Student with a denied Parent PLUS

Undergraduate

 

 

Freshman

$5500

$9500

Sophomore (or Jr/Sr pursuing an associate’s degree)

$6500

$10500

Junior/Senior (pursuing a bachelor’s degree)

$7500

$12500

Graduate

 

 

Graduate student (pursuing a master’s degree or doctorate)

 

$20500

Graduate student (pursuing a certificate)

 

$12500

Dependent undergraduate students may have the option of a Parent PLUS Loan.  If your parent already has a PLUS Loan approval on file, after obtaining permission from your parent, you will need to contact our office to receive the link to the Summer Loan Preference Application. If your parent has not applied for the PLUS Loan, please visit our Loans page for additional information.   

Graduate students who have borrowed the $20,500 yearly maximum may apply for a Graduate PLUS Loan or increase an existing Graduate PLUS Loan. Click here to learn more information about the approval process.     

If you only have PLUS eligibility, contact our office to receive the link to the Summer Loan Preference Application.  Before you contact our office, please be sure that your parent or you, if you are a graduate student, has gone through the approval process at the StudentLoans.gov website. 

Finally, an alternative loan may be an option. This is a loan from a private lender and can be used with or without federal student aid. Click here to learn more about alternative loans. Interest rates vary by credit score and lender. You may also need a co-signer.  

In order to apply for federal financial assistance, you must:

  • Have a valid FAFSA for the current academic year on file with WKU.  You may complete a FAFSA by going to www.fafsa.ed.gov. Or, you can add WKU to your current FAFSA by going to www.fafsa.ed.gov, logging into your account, and then choosing "Make FAFSA Corrections." 
  • Be in compliance with WKU’s Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.
  • Have no outstanding financial aid requirements. In order to determine this, you must log in to your TopNet account, select the Financial Aid tab, and then click Eligibility.
  • Be enrolled at least half-time (6 hours for undergraduates and 4.5 hours for graduate students) in a degree-seeking program in order to be eligible for federal loans.

Once you are enrolled, you will be contacted via email regarding aid eligibility.  In order to determine your loan eligibility, you will need to complete the Summer Loan Preference Application.  Once you are enrolled at least half-time, a link will be emailed to you.   

If you have been awarded, please contact the Department of Student Financial Assistance before you make any changes to your schedule.  Any changes could affect your financial aid.
Our office typically starts awarding for the Summer term in early April.  The award process begins after you are enrolled in your courses.  Once we have received your Summer Loan Preference Application, please allow 14 business days to be awarded.
 

WKU should receive payment from federal student aid programs the first week of June. Residual funds will be released the following week. Unfortunately, we cannot release residuals any earlier than that.  

If you are on an approved SAP Appeal or on SAP Warning for the Spring term, we will need to check your grades before the awarding process can begin.  

Some of the links on this page may require additional software to view.

 Last Modified 2/20/18