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Student Financial Aid Apply for Aid
Getting Started Applying for Financial Aid

How to get state & federal aid

1. Complete the FAFSA

The single most important step you can take is to fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at fafsa.gov. In order to keep receiving aid, you will need to do this every year.

WSU will use the FAFSA to determine how much institutional, state, and federal funding we can offer to you.

Almost everyone who files the FAFSA is eligible for student loans. Depending on your financial situation, you could also be eligible for grants, work-study jobs, and scholarships—aid you don’t have to pay back.

Undocumented students cannot file the FAFSA, but aid is still available; see eligibility requirements below and explore your options here.

Complete the FAFSA

2. Apply for scholarships

Even if your grades aren’t perfect, apply.

While academic performance is important, it isn’t the only thing that matters. Academic interests, talent, financial need, community service, leadership, career goals—any of these could qualify you for awards from WSU and from other sources.

The WSU General Scholarship Application allows you to be considered for more than 700 WSU scholarship programs.

Scholarships are available not only from WSU, but also from private donors and foundations. There are thousands of opportunities waiting for you to find them.

Search Additional Scholarships

3. Estimate aid in advance

Use our financial aid and cost calculators to plan your finances in advance and evaluate your options. (Please note that these tools provide only an estimate, not a guarantee.)

Depending on your financial situation, you could be offered several different types of financial aid. Explore your aid options here.

Financial aid estimator

Priority deadlines

To maximize your aid chances, make sure you meet all applicable deadlines.

FAFSA and WASFA applications open October 1st.

November 30th

  • Current students priority FAFSA & WASFA deadline
  • WSU spring admission application priority date

December 1st

  • Additional documentation deadline for spring only admit students
  • Financial aid award estimates sent to new & former students returning

January 31st

  • WSU General Scholarship Application deadline
  • WSU fall Admission Application priority date
  • New student & former student returning priority FAFSA & WASFA deadline

February 15th

  • Current student requested documents deadline

March 15th

  • New student & former student returning requested documents deadline

See all dates and deadlines

After you apply

After you complete the FAFSA and apply for admission, our office will send you a letter (usually in March or April) detailing how much financial aid you’re eligible to receive.

You may also be asked to send additional information to verify your eligibility. Be sure to return all requested information to the Student Financial Services office on your campus by the priority date.

Which financial aid application?

Use this handy chart to determine which financial aid application you should use.

Residency StatusYour application for financial aid
United States Citizen FAFSA
Permanent residence with registration card I-551FAFSA
Non-citizen with an I-94 entry / exit record showing one of the following:
  • Refugee
  • Asylum Granted
  • On Parole for One Year
  • Cuban-Haitian
FAFSA
Undocumented student qualifying under HB-1079 or DACAWASFA

Note: Residency status pertains only to the student; the parent’s status does not affect a student’s eligibility to apply for aid.

Am I a New or Former Coug?

You are considered a new or former Coug if:

  1. You have never attended WSU before
    • You have been admitted for the spring, summer, or fall term
    • You have no prior enrollment on any WSU campus
  2. You have had a career change
    • Example: undergraduate to graduate or undergratuate to professional
    • This does not include a change in major or minor
  3. You are a former WSU student returning after being absent
    • Example: You attended WSU, took a year off, and are returning in the same career and same program

**If you meet the above criteria, you will be asked to meet our priority deadlines for new/former students in order to receive priority, need-based financial aid.

Am I a Current Coug?

You are a considered a current Coug if:

  • You will be enrolled at any WSU campus, for any amount of credit hours, for the fall term of that academic year

**If you meet the above criteria, you will be asked to meet our priority deadlines for current students in order to receive priority, need-based financial aid.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility requirements

In order to receive federal student aid, you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Graduate from high school (or earn a high-school equivalent certification)
  • Be accepted for enrollment in college courses working toward an associate, bachelor, or graduate degree.
  • Be a citizen, or eligible non-citizen, of the United States.
  • Have a valid Social Security Number.
  • Certify that you intend to use financial aid for educational purposes, that you are not in default on a federal student loan, and that you do not owe money on a federal grant.
  • Register with the Selective Service (if required).

Undocumented students who meet certain criteria may be eligible for state and university-based aid.

Please note that certain programs like the Administrator Credential Program are ineligible for financial aid due to the inherent structure of the program. Private loans are available for certificate programs.

Contact Us

The financial aid process may seem complicated, but it’s actually pretty easy to get started—and we’re here to help you every step of the way.

You’re welcome to contact us if you have questions at any point.

Contact us

Washington State University