Frequently Asked Questions Frequently asked questions and answers about general financial aid topics. en-us Wed, 18 Oct 2017 04:03:01 UTC Wed, 18 Oct 2017 04:03:01 UTC

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions and answers about general financial aid topics.faq, financial aid questions, scholarship questions, common questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding financial aid and scholarships.
Can't find the answer to your question? Contact our office to speak with a financial aid advisor. Our office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, and our phone lines are open from 8:00 am to 4:45 pm.

What is financial aid, how do I get it and how long does it take?

Financial aid provides assistance to help you pay the cost of higher education, including tuition, fees, books and room and board.  Financial aid can be made up of "gift aid" which does not have to be repaid, such as grants and scholarships; loan assistance where you borrow money to be repaid later; and work programs were you earn a regular paycheck to help with your ongoing costs. 

To be considered for financial aid (grants, loans and work study), start by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at  This is done on an annual basis.  The application opens each October for the following school year.  You must demonstrate financial need to qualify for grants, work assistance and some loans.  To be considered for scholarships, apply for EWU scholarships at, click Apply Now. 

From the time you submit your financial aid application you should plan six to eight weeks before you receive a financial aid offer.  For those who apply really early in the year, first financial aid notices for the new school year are sent around March 15 for new students and May 15 for returning students.

What is financial need and how is it determined?

Financial need is the difference between your cost of attendance and the amount you and your family are expected to contribute to your education based on the data submitted on your FAFSA.  Cost of Attendance - Expected Family Contribution (EFC) = Financial Need

Your financial need determines the maximum amount of need-based financial aid (grants, Perkins Loan, subsidized loan) you can receive. Even if you do not qualify for need based assistance, unsubsidized and PLUS loans will be available to help cover your educational costs.

What is the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)?

EFC is calculated by the income, assets and family data provided on your FAFSA.  EFC determines your eligibility for financial aid assistance.  The lower your EFC, the greater your need for assistance, especially grants.  Your EFC is the same regardless of the school you attend. 

Your EFC is not the amount of money your family will have to pay for your education, nor is it the amount of financial aid you will receive.  Regardless of your EFC, at a minimum you will be eligible for student loans.

What is Cost of Attendance (COA)?

COA estimates the cost of attending EWU for the regular school year, fall - spring terms.  COA includes direct costs like tuition/fees and books/supplies.  COA also includes a modest allowance for indirect costs including room/board, transportation and personal expenses. 

COA will vary based on your state of residency, whether or not you live with your parents, your student level (undergraduate or graduate) and the number of credits for which you are enrolled.  COA elements, except tuition, are based on state wide averages.  Tuition is the COA value which will vary the most from school to school.

Why is there a priority consideration date and what does it mean?

Many financial aid sources are limited, so funding is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to those eligible.  You may not be considered for all financial aid programs if you miss the EWU priority consideration date of February 1.  Regardless of when you apply for financial aid, if you meet the qualifications for Pell grant and student loans, you will still have access to these resources.

How much financial aid money am I going to get?

The amount of financial aid for which you are eligible will vary from student to student, based on all of the details referenced above.  Once you complete the FAFSA and submit any additional documents necessary, these amounts will be determined.  Each financial aid source has individual qualification requirements and maximum annual limits.

When comparing financial aid offers from various schools, be sure to calculate the "bottom line." Subtract each institution's financial aid offer from that institution's cost of attendance to determine the amount that you and your family will contribute.

How and when do I get my financial aid?

All financial aid for which you are eligible is evenly split over your terms of enrollment in the school year.  Semester students receive half their aid each term and quarter students receive one third of their aid each term.  EWU fees are assessed on a semester or quarter basis as well.

Aid is released beginning the week before classes start, each term, and first pays any charges due to EWU, including tuition/fees and on-campus room/board.  If you have more financial aid in the term than charges to EWU, a "refund" is generated and released the first day of classes via direct deposit or a check put out in the mail.

What if my financial aid is not available by the tuition due date?

All EWU charges are due to be paid in full by the 6th class day each term.  If unpaid by the due date, a $50 late fee is assessed to you for the term.  You will not be disenrolled from your courses.  When your financial aid becomes available, it will pay toward all EWU charges, including the late fee.  A short term (60 day) loan may also be available to help you purchase your books in advance of receipt of financial aid.  If for any reason you are not eligible and/or do not receive aid for the term, you are still responsible to pay your EWU charges.

Why is the loan amount on my bill less than what my financial aid notice indicates?

The federal government will deduct a loan origination fee and a default fee from each disbursement; therefore, the funds you receive will be slightly less than that on your financial aid notice.

How do I purchase my textbooks? Do I have a credit at the bookstore?

If you have remaining aid for the term, after your EWU charges have been paid, you may utilize these funds to purchase books.  Financial aid funds are not available in advance of the start of the term and are not issued directly to the bookstore.

My work-study award is not reflected on my bill; what's wrong?

Work study is an amount you may earn through work each term.  You do not receive these funds at the start of the term.  Rather, you will receive a paycheck for hours worked twice per month, the 10th and 25th, to assist you with costs you incur throughout the term.

It's after the first day of the term and my financial aid is still not reflected on my bill; what's wrong?

To receive your financial aid on the first day of the term, you must meet the following conditions at least one week in advance of the term start.  From the time your aid is released and pays your EWU charges, it is an additional three business days before funds are available in your bank account or you receive a refund check by mail.  For timely receipt of your financial aid:

  • Be enrolled full-time. Wait listed courses do not count toward your total enrollment. Repeated courses may also impact your eligibility.
  • Meet satisfactory academic progress (SAP) requirements.
  • Have all holds cleared.
  • Have all required documents and contracts signed and returned, including accepting your financial aid award and completing your loan promissory note at
  • Ensure your loan/scholarship funds have been received from the lender/donor.

The most common reasons for a delay in your financial aid is not being enrolled full time or missing required information, like your student loan promissory note.  Check your portal a few weeks prior to the start of the term to ensure nothing is missing and you have no holds.

What happens to my financial aid if I withdraw from school?

If you are registered for classes and need to leave EWU, you should formally withdraw through the Records and Registration Office. Students who do not formally withdraw may receive grades of "0.0" for all classes. As a financial aid recipient, if you do not earn any credits in the term and/or receive a 0.0 in all classes, you may be required to repay all or a portion of the financial aid you received for the term. Refer to the Return of Title IV Funds policy for details.

In addition, you will be put on financial aid suspension and be required to complete an appeal process to receive financial aid in a future term.

How do I check my financial aid status?

To check your financial aid status at any time, log in to your portal at and select the appropriate link under Financial Aid & Scholarships.  Your award detail, accepting your aid, checking on holds and many other financial aid related tasks are available.  If needed, you may also electronically submit missing documents through your portal.

Details about your financial aid status, missing items, award availability, holds, etc. is also communicated via your Eagles email account.  Be sure to regularly check it!

I didn’t originally accept a student loan, but need loan aid after all; can I still get a loan?

Yes, you can obtain a student loan as long as you are enrolled in the term for which you want loan aid and have a complete FAFSA on file.  Contact our office for your next steps to obtain the loan, which may include completing a promissory note at  The amount of loan money you may borrow per school year is limited based on the number of college credits you have completed and your dependent/independent status.  It can take two to four weeks to receive loan funds, so plan accordingly.

My parents won’t pay for my education; how do I apply for financial aid without them?

There is an expectation from the federal government that unmarried students under the age of 24 and without children of their own, are financially "dependent" on their parents, regardless of their parents willingness or ability to pay for their higher education.  In extreme unusual circumstances, such as abuse, you may apply for independent status.  But, in most cases, parent information will be required.  Parents are not required to borrow a parent PLUS loan or assume any financial liability for your education by completing the FAFSA.

How do I get financial aid for summer term?

If you are seeking financial aid for summer term, contact the financial aid office for details and a short application.  For most students, your maximum grant and loan aid has already been used over the regular school year.  Summer term financial aid is limited to any unused funds from the regular school year and parent/private loans.

What is Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)?

Satisfactory academic progress means that you are completing enough credits progress toward the goal of completing your degree program.  Federal regulations require that all students make satisfactory academic progress to receive aid. Please review EWU's Satisfactory Academic Progress policy for more details.

Can I receive financial aid for my study abroad program?

If you are in a study abroad program that is approved for credit at EWU, you may receive financial aid through EWU for that program. Contact the Office of Global Initiatives for more details.

What if I have special access needs? How can financial aid help me?

Eastern Washington University strives to satisfy all requests for special access needs for persons with disabilities. Requests for special access may be made by calling the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office at 509.359.2314 or the Disability Support Services Office at 509.359.6871.

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