We all know that investing in a college degree will pay for itself many times over; however, paying for college can be challenge for students and their families. Fortunately, there are ways to pay for college. Students need to be aware of what to do and organized. The two most important steps need to be done soon.

Complete the 2016-2017 FAFSA or WASFA!

The 16-17 FAFSA becomes available January 1 for the upcoming academic year. Although the FAFSA can be filled out anytime during the year, students need to submit it by February 15 to receive the best chance at receiving free federal, state, and WSU grant monies as well as low interest rate student loans.

The 16-17 WASFA* becomes available January 2 and must be completed by February 15 to be eligible for financial aid. If this deadline is not met, students will not qualify for financial assistance.

*HB-1079 and qualifying DACA students only.

What is super important to know is that the FAFSA and WASFA can be submitted even if the parent and/or student have not done their taxes! Yes—it’s true. Here are some others important tips:

  • Both the student and the parent need to complete the FAFSA/WASFA together. It takes time to fill it out and plan.
  • Allow a few days of “cushion” when submitting in case you have technical issues.
  • Complete the FAFSA/WASFA with estimated financial numbers and select “Will File” radio button to submit. This ensures the FAFSA/WASFA is submitted by the February 15 deadline.
  • After final tax figures are known and taxes have been sent to the IRS, go back to FAFSA and correct any numbers needed. Then, resubmit by selecting “Complete” radio button. WASFA applicants will be contacted if any further information is needed by our WASFA processor.

There are lots of great reasons to file the FAFSA/WASFA as early as possible. Even if students do not think they will need or qualify for financial aid, we still encourage families to complete the FAFSA/WASFA*. Be aware that Financial Aid offered to FAFSA applicants in the form of loans does not have to be accepted or used if it’s not needed. But, why not submit the FAFSA and see what comes?! It is better to have choices when trying to figure out how to pay that college bill.

Apply for Scholarships now—here’s how! The submission deadline for the WSU General Scholarship Application is January 31 for the 2016-2017 academic year. This single application enters students into a pool of over 700 institutional and departmental scholarships. Go to scholarships.wsu.edu to fill out this application. Again, plan ahead! Students should not wait until the last minute to apply or to complete the scholarship application. Remember, this application is for WSU current or incoming students with any background!

We’re here to Help, Always

Student Financial Services (SFS) is the WSU office on campus that handles and processes scholarships and financial aid for the university. Both WSU and Student Financial Services are committed to helping students and their families find workable and realistic solutions to the challenge of funding a college education. Feel free to reach out to us if you need guidance and/or assistance by contacting us at 509-335-9711, finaid@wsu.edu, or by visiting your local WSU campus. Don’t forget to check our website at financialaid.wsu.edu and follow us on Facebook (WSU Student Financial Services), Twitter (@WSUFinancialAid) and Instagram (WSUFinancialAid) for financial aid related information and key announcements.