FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the difference between a grant, a scholarship, and a loan?

A. A grant is a gift. It does not have to be repaid and it is based on the students financial need. A scholarship is an achievement award which is usually based on academic grades, abilities, skills, test scores, class rank, etc. Loans are funds borrowed by the student and/or parent. In most cases, loans must be repaid with an interest charge and a specified repayment period.

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Q. Is there a maximum income level that will make me ineligible for financial aid?

A. No. Income level does not automatically disqualify you for financial aid. Other variables, such as the number in the family and the number attending college, are taken into consideration.

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Q. What are the factors that determine need?

A. Most people have the misconception that income is the only factor in determining need. However, other variables are considered such as: family size, number of family members in college, age of older parent, savings, investments, and various allowances to income and assets.

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Q. What are my chances of receiving financial aid?

A. The only way to determine your eligibility for financial aid is to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.gov. The likelihood of receiving some form of financial assistance is probably better than most students and their families anticipate.

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Q. In order to receive financial aid do I have to apply every year?

A. Yes. In order to receive consideration for all programs you must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year. The FAFSA becomes available October 1 for the following school year. If necessary, you may estimate your taxes to complete the form.

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Q. What is the deadline to apply for financial aid?

A. To receive maximum consideration for aid, students apply using the FAFSA, which must be received by the processor, prior to March 1st of each year. High school seniors applying for WVU scholarships must apply before February 1 .

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Q. I missed the March 1 application deadline. Can I still apply for financial aid?

A. Yes, students may still apply for a Direct Loan or a Pell Grant. There is no specific deadline for these two federal programs. Anyone who completes a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before March 1st of the enrollment year will be considered for these two types of aid. You must be enrolled at the time funds are disbursed.

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Q. What forms do I need to apply?

A. Initially, you need only to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The government prefers the electronic version be sent to them. You can log onto the Federal Processing Center’s web site at FAFSA on the Web at http://www.fafsa.gov, to file the electronic version of the FAFSA.

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Q. What is WVU’s Title IV federal school code?

A. Our federal school code is: 003827.

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Q. Will I be required to submit additional forms to WVU other than the FAFSA?

A. Possibly, if you are selected for review in a process called verification we will contact you about what additional forms are necessary. It is not necessary to contact our office.

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Q. What does it cost to attend WVU?

A. Please see our Cost of Attendance page.

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Q. If I received a scholarship from West Virginia University, may I also receive need-based financial assistance?

A. Yes. Receipt of a scholarship does not preclude receipt of need-based financial assistance. However, scholarship assistance must be considered as a resource in determining eligibility for need-based aid. If a student had an initial need of $8,000, and receives a $1,000 scholarship, the scholarship amount would be subtracted from the $8,000, and the difference of $7,000 would be considered the students remaining need.

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Q. Should I pay for a Scholarship Search Service?

A. We do not recommend the use of these companies. Many are misleading or even fraudulent. Don’t be fooled by the money back guarantee promised by many of these companies. It is virtually impossible to get your money back. FinAid!: The Financial Aid Information Page at http://www.finaid.org provides information regarding Scholarship Scam Alerts. The services provided by these companies can be accomplished on your own by researching scholarship publications at the library, or by using a number of free scholarship searches available on the Internet such as www.college-scholarships.com.

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Q. How do I apply for WVU Scholarships?

A. You apply by completing the WVU Application for Undergraduate Admission on-line or you may download a copy to print and complete.

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Q. What happens after my Freshman year? Will my aid stay the same?

A. The Financial Aid Office at WVU is committed to meeting as much of our students’ need as possible throughout their undergraduate years. However, an individual student’s need may change from year to year. Educational costs may increase, and changes in family size, number in college, and gross income can increase or decrease parental contribution from year to year. If a family’s circumstances remain the same, the parents calculated contribution should be relatively consistent.

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Q. Will my aid change if I move off campus?

A. Possibly. Please contact our office to determine how your aid may be affected.

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Q. If I am awarded financial assistance for both fall and spring semesters of the academic year, but do not enroll in the fall semester, will my aid change?

A. Yes, aid will be canceled for students choosing not to enroll in the fall semester. Students enrolling in the spring will be considered for assistance on a funds available basis.

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Q. I have a credit on my bill. When can I have the money?

A. If it is prior to the first day of classes, the Office of Student Accounts will process any refunds according to the option chosen by the student (they can mail a refund check to your local address, or you can elect to utilize the eRefund process – information is available at the Office of Student Accounts website at http://studentaccounts.wvu.edu).

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Q. Do I need a separate form to apply for a Direct Loan?

A. No. You need only file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

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Q. How long will it take after I complete my Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) and Entrance Counseling for me to receive the money?

A. If all necessary paperwork is complete, any refund due will be processed by the Office of Student Accounts according the student’s choice for refund (paper check by mail or eRefund). Visit the Office of Student Accounts website at http://studentaccounts.wvu.edu for details.

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Q. How can I apply for work study?

A. Students must file a FAFSA before March 1 (February 15 is the priority date), and have financial need to receive Work Study. However, other jobs may still be available on campus through non need based employment at libraries, Mountainlair, Copy Centers, and the Career Services Center, to name a few. Students can visit the Office of Student Employment website at http://studentemployment.hr.wvu.edu for assistance.

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Q. Do I need to submit tax returns?

A. Only if our office sends a letter requesting that a federal tax return transcript be submitted as part of the verification process.

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Q. What does it take to be considered an independent student?

A. When you apply for federal student aid, your answers to questions on the FAFSA determine whether you are considered a dependent or independent student. To be considered an independent student, you must answer ‘Yes’ to at least one of the questions listed in that part of the FAFSA. You can view those questions at the FAFSA website at http://www.fafsa.gov.

Also, the Financial Aid Office can override a student’s dependent status but to do so requires some very unusual family situations. These situations require documented evidence from third-party witnesses (police reports, clergy, counselors, etc.).

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Q. If my parents are separated or divorced, whose income is reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?

A. The parent you live with should complete the FAFSA. If the parent you live with has remarried, the income of that parent and their new spouse (step-parent) must be used.

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Q. What is the interest rate on my loans?

A. For Federal Direct loans such as the Subsidized, Unsubsidized, Parent PLUS and Grad PLUS Loans as well as the Federal Perkins Loans, the interest rate information can be found at http://studentaid.ed.gov/types/loans/interest-rates.

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Q. Why does the loan amount on my award letter differ from the amount on my bill?

A. The amount on your bill reflects the amount you are eligible for per semester minus loan origination fees deducted prior to disbursement. You may want to refer to your promissory note for a detailed explanation.

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Q. Is the money I receive from financial assistance programs taxable?

A. Any scholarships, benefits, fellowships, or grants (gift aid) received from WVU or any other source that, when combined exceed the cost of tuition, fees, books, and required equipment and supplies, are considered taxable income. Loans are not included. Since you are required to report taxable awards to the I.R.S. as income, you should keep a detailed record of all expenditures for tuition, fees, books, and required equipment and supplies. Housing and food are considered non-exempt, so money spent on these items is subject to income tax. For more detailed information, consult a personal tax advisor. Work study earnings are taxable and must be reported on tax returns.

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Q. What should I do if my family’s financial circumstances change after I apply for financial aid?

A. If a family’s financial circumstances have changed due to death of a parent, divorce, separation, or loss of employment, contact the Mountaineer Hub at (304) 293-1WVU.

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Q. Will the financial aid offered at one school transfer to another school?

A. No. Financial aid does not transfer from school to school. Students planning to transfer to another school should contact the Financial Aid Office at both schools to find out what is required.

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Q. Is there any aid available if I decide to attend summer school?

A. For summer sessions, students may only receive remaining federal aid eligibility not used during Fall & Spring terms (Federal Pell Grant and/or Direct Loans for students). Funding may or may not be available for a full- or part-time job through the Federal Work Study program. The majority of students attending Summer term, will need to seek a private loan or have a parent qualify for the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan. Graduate or Professional students can seek a Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan.

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