We are 3 months out from the beginning of the Fall semester! That means we are closer to moving into residence halls, tuition payment, and financial aid disbursements. Student Financial Services is committed helping you prepare, reduce stress, and ensure a great year ahead so let’s discuss the next steps and frequently asked questions on your financial aid journey.
What does a student need to do once they have received their financial aid award?
The first month of classes finds many students visiting our office because they need to figure out why their loans are not disbursing and why they still have a balance due on their account.
The process can be different for each student depending on what type of financial aid award they have received. Any grants or waivers that a student may be awarded will be automatically accepted. These two types of awards do not have to be paid back once the student has completed their degree.
If a student has been awarded a Direct Loan, Perkins Loan, or Parent PLUS Loan, the student and parent have a few steps they need to complete to make sure the loan money arrives in a timely fashion to their student account.
Parents will need to complete WSU’s PLUS Loan application if they are interested in applying for the Parent PLUS Loan. For instructions on how to complete this process please click here.
Students must complete their Entrance Counseling and Master Promissory note (MPN) with the department of education at Studentloans.gov, if they are accepting loans as part of their financial aid award. We also encourage students to sign up for Direct Deposit, set-up Third Party access (so their parents can talk to us), and consider authorizing financial aid to apply for all charges.
For further instructions on how to do all of these things, students should visit the Helpful Videos page of the SFS website to learn more.
Types of Loans
Federal Direct Loans are borrowed by the student and can be subsidized or unsubsidized. The amount a student can borrow each year is determined by their grade level, dependency status, and total amount borrowed to date.
We recommend this blog post by the U.S. Department of Education. It gives a great overview of subsidized and unsubsidized loans and provides some great resources to learn more.
The Perkins loan is an institutional loan where the max awarded varies year by year. The Department of Education is phasing out this loan program and limited students will receive this type of loan based on their eligibility. If receiving a Perkins loan the student will receive instructions from Heartland ESCI on how to complete their Master Promissory Note via email.
Parent PLUS Loan is an optional loan that the parents of an undergraduate student can use to help pay for college. WSU has its own application for this loan which is located on myWSU. Please be aware WSU does not use the U.S. Department of Education’s Parent PLUS loan application. This loan is not pre-approved or guaranteed funds. If a parent chooses to apply for this loan, approval is based on the parent’s credit history (a credit check will be done). This credit check is based exclusively on adverse credit history and not on the parent’s household size or income. Instructions for WSU’s application process can be found on our website.
The Third Party Access your student has set up for you provides the needed access to complete the application. Since parents are responsible for repayment of the loan, the student is not able to accept the loan, or complete the application through the student myWSU account.
If you fill out the PLUS loan application, both the parent and the student will be sent a confirmation email with further instructions. The PLUS loan application is then forwarded to the Department of Education for a credit decision. You will be notified by email of approval, generally, within a week by the Department of Education. Student Financial Services will also notify parents and students of credit decisions regarding the Parent PLUS application via email.
If you are denied the Parent PLUS loan you will be provided additional information regarding options and next steps in your notification email from WSU.
How Much Do I Borrow? Do I Have Other Options?
WSU offers aid up to the estimated cost of attendance for students to attend WSU for fall and spring term. This means the Parent PLUS loan can be a fairly substantial loan amount. Remember, though, that cost of attendance includes such things as books, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses which you may be able to cover out of pocket without increasing your debt load.
If you want to explore other payment options besides the Parent PLUS loan, you are welcome to comparison shop with private education lenders either through your bank, or through the private lender search. Be sure to review origination fees (the administrative cost of creating the loan) and interest rates, along with repayment requirements, and make the best decision for your family.
It’s still not too late to apply for scholarships!
Apply, Apply, Apply! During the summer leading up to the Fall semester is a great time for students to spend working on scholarship applications. The more time spent on applying for scholarships the better chances of receiving one! There are still tons of scholarship opportunities for students to take advantage of for the upcoming school year. We encourage students to utilize our Scholarship Search Engine to view a variety of different scholarship opportunities.
We Are Here to Help!
Preparing to send your student to college can be a daunting task, and our articles may not provide all the information you seek. Don’t worry! You are not alone, and we are here to support your family through this unfamiliar process.
For assistance with your question or concern, you can contact SFS Mon- Fri from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. PST by calling 509-335-9711 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If students or parents are visiting the Pullman campus this summer, they can also schedule an appointment to meet with a Financial Aid advisor Mon- Fri from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. by visiting financialaid.wsu.edu.