General Financial Assistance Questions
What is financial assistance?
Financial assistance could cover school expenses, including tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. Financial Assistance is composed of four major categories, including: work-study, loans and scholarships.
How do I apply?
A student should begin the financial assistance process by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at www.fafsa.gov. The FAFSA is the application form required for all federal, state and institutional aid.
When should I apply?
It is recommended that you apply early to increase the chances of receiving state and institutional aid. WNC encourages students to follow the timeline:
- For Fall, we recommend that you apply immediately after January 1, but not before this date (for 2016-2017).
- For Spring, we recommend that you apply before November so that your financial aid application is processed before you begin classes.
- Beginning with the 2017-2018 award year (Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Summer 2018) students are able to begin completing their FAFSA as early as October 1, 2016.
Do I have to reapply for financial aid every year?
Students must apply for financial aid every year.
I don't think I qualify, should I even apply?
Yes, the FAFSA is a free application and even if you are not eligible for need based programs there are other sources of aid such as unsubsidized Stafford and PLUS loans that are available regardless of need.
What is a Pell Grant?
Pell Grants are need based awards that are that are awarded to student meeting certain criteria as determined by the FAFSA.
How do I apply for a state and institutional awards? Work-Study?
The FAFSA serves as the primary application for all federal, state, and institutional awards. To be considered for any state or institutional grant awards, students must have a FAFSA on file. Students interested in work-study can indicate interest in work-study by checking the appropriate box on the FAFSA. Checking the box does not commit you to accepting work-study or guarantee an award.
General Processing Questions
How long should it take to process my FAFSA?
The entire process could take 45 days from start to finish, depending on a number of factors.
How long will I know if I was selected for verification?
Students selected for verification will receive a Missing Items email upon receipt of their FAFSA. Students can also check the “To Do” list in the MyWNC Student Center. It is recommended students check their “To Do” list periodically after submitting the FAFSA.
What is a Cost of Attendance or Budget?
Every financial assistance student will be assigned a Cost of Attendance (COA). COA are developed by institution as a basis for awarding aid. The COA identifies the maximum amount of aid a student could receive. COA are unique to students based on their residency status, enrollment levels, and if there is specific program costs. The COA takes into account average tuition expenses, books, room and board, personal miscellaneous expenses, and transportation. The COA is not designed to reflect a student’s actual cost as student lifestyles vary, the COA sets an average for students in the WNC service area. The COA is not the actual cost or amount that would need to be paid to WNC to secure enrollment.
I turned in my verification, why has it not come off my "To Do" list?
Your “To Do” list item will not come off the moment you turn in your documents. A To-Do list item comes off when a Financial Aid Advisor processes your documents.
I'm 18 years old and I live on my own, why do I have to add my parent's information to my FAFSA?
Federal philosophy is that it’s the family’s primary responsibility to assist with college expenses and the government’s secondary responsibility. We realize this does not always seem fair but it is how our federal financial aid system is set up.
What is Satisfactory Academic Progress?
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is the required standards that all financial aid students must achieve to continue receiving financial aid. To maintain SAP a student must maintain a 67% or higher cumulative completion rate, a 67% or higher semester completion rate, and maintain a minimum of a 2.0 cumulative GPA. Additionally if a student has attempted 90 credits or more, the student will have to fill out a Max Credit appeal.
How do I determine my award amount?
Students are notified of their awards via email in the form of an award letter. Award letters are also stored in the student’s MyWNC “Student Center” under the Communication Center. Additionally, students can view a real time award letter (Shopping Sheet) in their MyWNC under the View Financial Aid link.
Will Financial Assistance pay for my (insert class name) class?
Federal aid can pay for classes that are part of your declared degree/program. However, financial aid won’t pay for classes if you re-attempt a class for the 3rd time, if the class does not fit your degree that you are currently seeking, or if you have not completed all required checklist items and your file is not complete.
Do I qualify for Summer financial assistance?
Summer financial assistance depends on the student’s enrollment and disbursement data from the prior Fall and Spring semesters. If you were enrolled as a full time student for the Fall and Spring semester and received full time Pell Grant, then all Pell aid will have been exhausted. Please contact a financial aid advisor for additional eligibility for loans.
Do I have to fill out a Loan Request Form every semester?
No, Loan Request Forms need to be completed every academic year. Academic years consists of Fall, Spring and Summer semesters. Note: Summer loans, for continuing loans borrowers, require a Loan Revision Request Form.
What if mine or my parents financial situation has changed?
The Financial Assistance Office recognizes that your circumstances can change. If you or your family’s financial situation has changed, you are encouraged to contact the Financial Assistance Office.
Will I be dropped on the Tuition Due Date as I wait for financial assistance to process?
- Students who have been offered financial assistance, meaning you have received a Financial Aid Award Letter and you can view your financial aid award in your MyWNC, are protected from first enrollment cancellation.
- Students with disbursed financial assistance are protected from the second enrollment cancellation.
- Students with disbursed financial assistance are protected from the third enrollment cancellation.
- Students who still have outstanding checklist items or submitted paperwork after July 1 (Fall), December 1 (Spring), or May 1 (Summer) are encourage to set-up a payment plan or make payment.
When is disbursement?
WNC begins the disbursement process the week prior to the start of every semester. Disbursement/Refund jobs run regularly throughout the week prior to the start of classes and during the first 2 weeks of school. In general, beginning the 3rd week of school the disbursement/refund jobs run weekly throughout the semester.
How do I set-up direct deposit?
Set up your Direct Deposit online:
- Log in to your Student Center in MyWNC
- Scroll down to the “Finances” section.
- Click on “Enroll in Direct Deposit” (Link is on the left side).
- Click on “Add Account”.
- Enter your bank account information (including routing number).
- Once all information is entered and correct, click “Save”.
Why is my loan in 2 disbursements?
Federal regulation require that your loan is split into 2 disbursements. In general, loans will be divided equally between the Fall and Spring semester. One semester only loans will be divided into 2 disbursements, one at the beginning of the semester and the second one after the midpoint.