Frequently Asked Questions
Financial aid is money to help pay the cost of a college education. This includes things like tuition, fees, books but also aid to help with housing, meals and transportation. Financial aid is made up of multiple sources:
- Aid you don’t pay back: grants, tuition waivers and scholarships
- Aid you pay back: low interest loans
- Aid you earn as you go: employment programs with a regular paycheck
Each year, the FAFSA or WASFA open on October 1 for the next school year. (example October 1, 2021 for the 2022-23 school year). Apply as soon after October 1 as possible.
From the time you submit your financial aid application, 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 April 1 for new students and June 1 for returning students.
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 your FAFSA.
Cost of Attendance – Expected Family Contribution (EFC) = Financial Need
Your financial need determines the maximum amount of need-based financial aid (grants, waivers, 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.
COA is NOT a bill! COA is the estimated cost to attend EWU for one school year (fall – spring). COA includes costs you see on your bill, like tuition and fees. COA also includes an allowance, based on state averages, for books, housing, meals, 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 you take.
EFC is not a bill! And, your EFC is the same regardless of the school you attend. EFC is a calculation based on the income, assets and family data provided on your FAFSA. EFC determines your eligibility for different financial aid sources. The lower your EFC, the greater your need for assistance, especially grants. Regardless of your EFC, at a minimum you will be eligible for student loans.
Some financial aid sources are limited, so funding is awarded on a first-come basis to those eligible. You may not be considered for all financial aid programs if you miss the EWU priority consideration deadline. Regardless of when you apply for financial aid, if you meet the qualifications for federal Pell grant, Washington state aid, and/or federal student loans, you will still have access to these resources.
The amount of financial aid you are offered varies from student to student. Once you complete the FAFSA/WASFA and submit any additional required documents, your financial aid award 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 school’s financial aid offer from their cost of attendance to determine the bottom line amount you and your family will be responsible to pay.
Aid you accept is evenly split over the school year (fall – spring). Semester students receive half their aid each term and quarter students receive one third of their aid each term. EWU charges 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.
***NOTE: This does not apply to accelerated graduate program students, taking six week courses.***
All EWU charges are due to be paid in full by the 6th class day each term. If unpaid by the due date, a $75 late fee is assessed to you for the term. You will not be dis-enrolled 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 be available to help you purchase 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.
The federal government will deduct a loan fee from each loan disbursement. This means the money you receive will be less than the amount you actually borrow. You’re responsible for repaying the entire amount you borrowed and not just the amount you received.
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.
Some courses offer an e-book and charge for the book as part of your EWU bill (with tuition, etc.). In these instances, your available financial aid may also pay your book costs.
Work study is an amount you may earn by working. 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 receive a financial aid credit on your bill by 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 offer, completing your loan promissory note and/or accepting your scholarship and uploading a donor thank you letter.
- 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 student portal a few weeks prior to the start of the term to ensure all requirements are complete and you have no holds.
To check your financial aid status at any time, log in to your student portal at inside.ewu.edu and Financial Aid Status under Financial Aid & Scholarships. Your award detail, accepting your aid, checking on holds and many other financial aid related items 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, and more are also communicated via your Eagles email account. Be sure to check it regularly!
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 or loan entrance counseling at studentaid.gov. 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 up to four weeks to receive loan funds, so plan accordingly.
By federal law, 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 the student’s college education. In extreme unusual circumstances, such as abuse or addiction, 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.
If you are seeking financial aid for summer term, contact the financial aid office for details and a short application. Summer financial aid is based on your remaining annual eligibility from the school year. In general, summer financial aid is often limited to loans only. But, if you qualify for Federal Pell Grant or Washington state aid, you may have these grant aid options.
Satisfactory academic progress means successfully completing enough credits to progress toward the goal of completing your degree program in a reasonable timeframe. Federal regulations require that all students make satisfactory academic progress to receive aid. Review EWU’s Satisfactory Academic Progress policy for more details.
If you are in a study abroad program approved for credit at EWU, you may receive financial aid through EWU. Contact the School of Global Learning for more details.
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 an F grade for all classes. As a financial aid recipient, if you do not earn any credits in the term and/or receive an F 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.
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 Student Accommodations and Support Services at 509.359.6871.
Education Tax Credits
The United States Congress has created a number of tax credits, tax deductions, and savings vehicles for higher education expenses. Details about these tax benefits are provided below:
Tax Benefit Guides
The IRS brochure “Students and Parents – Why Form 1098-T is Important to You” provide details for students and families about tax credits and deductions to help lower the cost of higher education.
Important Tax Information
There are also favorable tax benefits associated with flexible IRAs and employer-provided tuition benefits. EWU staff members are not authorized to give tax advice; however, further information on all of these programs can be obtained from the following sources:
The GET Program
FAFSA on the Web
- US Department of Education
- US Disability Services
- US Internal Revenue Service at 800.829.1040
- US Selective Service at 847.688.6888
- US Social Security Administration at 800.772.1213
- Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC)
General Financial Aid Information
- Award Comparison Tool
- College Navigator
- Federal Aid Information at 800.433.3243
- Federal Student Aid Publications Available for Download
- General Financial Aid Information
- NASFAA’s Parent and Student Financial Aid Resource Center
- Preparing for College
- Student Lobbying
- Report Financial Aid Fraud at 800.647.8733
International Student Aid Information
Loans and Financial Management
- General Information about Direct Loans
- Loan History
- Financial Planning
- Student Loan Ombudsman at 877.557.2575
- Identity Theft Prevention