Financial Aid FAQ

Top Questions

Do I have to apply for financial aid every year?

If you wish to be reviewed for need-based financial aid programs, such as grants, and/or take advantage of federal loan programs, you must complete a FAFSA every year.

What happens to my financial aid in future years?

We are committed to awarding aid at approximately the same level unless there has been a significant change to the family's financial situation as reflected on the FAFSA. Merit awards can be renewed for a maximum of eight semesters as long as students maintain their GPA requirement.

What should I do if my parent loses his/her job and can't afford to help me pay for college?

Please contact a member of the financial aid office to discuss the level of lost income. If significant, a Special Circumstances Form will be sent to the family in order to re-evaluate the financial aid package.

What is the College's policy regarding the receipt of outside scholarships?

Students should notify the Office of Financial Aid regarding any outside aid awarded. In most cases, College policy toward outside scholarships is to use those funds to reduce or eliminate remaining financial need. If the total outside aid creates an over-award, adjustments are made first to self-help aid (loans and work study). Adjustments to W&J funds occur only if no other option can resolve the over-award. If an award revision occurs, then an updated financial aid award letter will be sent to students.

What does it mean if I am selected for verification?

The federal government requires that we verify a number of students' FAFSA's by comparing the results with the data reported on their family's income tax returns. If selected, you will be asked to provide our office with your Federal Tax Return Transcripts, W-2's, and a completed Financial Aid Verification Form (Dependent (PDF) or Independent (PDF)). Discrepancies in the data reported could result in a change to the financial aid package.

What happens if I decide to change my housing status?

The W&J housing policy requires the primary residence of commuters to be located within fifteen miles of campus, and students must apply for permission to change housing status through the Office of Residence Life. A change from on campus to off campus will not result in a change to financial aid. A change from resident to commuter (living at home with parents or guardians) may result in a change to the student's financial aid.

What options are available for paying the balance remaining after financial aid is deducted?

The remaining balance can be paid with a personal payment by check or credit card, payments can be arranged through the College's tuition payment plan, or loans with the student and or parent as the borrower. A combination of the above listed methods may also be used if that's more convenient.

What are my options if my financial aid is in excess of what I owe the college?

If a student's account develops a credit balance, that amount may be refunded to the student directly or may be credited to costs incurred during the subsequent semester. All credit balances are refunded to students at the end of each spring term.

Loan Options

Can my parents get a loan for my college costs and how much can they borrow?

Parents can borrow a Direct PLUS Loan (a federal loan for parents of a dependent student) or a private loan for parents (offered through some lending institutions). Both loans can be borrowed up to the total cost of attendance minus the total of the student’s other financial aid.

When do we have to pay back federal and private loans?

Student loans go into repayment six months after graduation or the last date of attendance. Parent PLUS loans begin repayment sixty days after the final disbursement for the year or parents can choose to defer repayment. Payments can be deferred until six months after the date the student ceases to be enrolled at least part time. Accruing interest can be paid monthly or quarterly or be capitalized quarterly. The grace period for private lenders varies by lender.

What action is required to secure a Direct Loan?

The student must complete and sign a Master Promissory Note, which will be used for all of the student's Direct Loans while enrolled at Washington & Jefferson College. An online entrance counseling session must be completed as well before money can be disbursed from the lender.

How do I apply for a private educational loan?

We encourage families to shop around for the loan product which best meets their needs. This includes reviewing private loans and/or a Direct PLUS Loan. Private loans are credit based, so if the loan is to be borrowed by the student, they will most likely require a cosigner. Some lenders also offer private loans that a parent, or other interested party, can apply for in their own name on behalf of a student. Once a loan product is chosen, students need to submit an application and if credit is approved, W&J will be contacted for certification. Most private loans are applied for directly on the lender’s website.

Work Study

Can I get a job on campus?

Students who demonstrate need may be eligible for a federal work study job. Students who don't demonstrate need may still be able to work on campus in a College work study job. Check with the Office of Financial Aid.

How do I find a job on campus?

Preference in the hiring process is given to students who are offered Federal Work Study in their financial aid package. These students will receive a Work Authorization Form through their W&J email. This form is proof of their employment eligibility to hiring supervisors. Campus jobs are posted on Handshake.  Sign in using your W&J e-mail (xxxx@washjeff.edu). Instructions for finding a job are on the student employment section of the website. The work authorization form must be presented to the hiring supervisor once a job is found.

How do students receive their work study wages?

Student workers are paid semi-monthly in a paycheck from the College based on the number of hours worked.