Whether you are a new or continuing student you need to make sure you know how you will pay for your education each academic year. Financial Aid may be an important part of paying for your education so it's important that you familiarize yourself with the Financial Aid process.
Types of Financial Aid
Federal financial aid is primarily need-based and is awarded according to standards and guidelines set by the federal government and the availability of funds. Federal financial aid can be classified as three types of aid – grants, loans and work-study.
Federal Work-Study (FWS) provides part-time jobs for undergraduate students with financial need. The income earned is intended to help pay education expenses.
Grants are a type of aid that does not require repayment.
Federal Pell Grants are federally funded and awarded to undergraduate students seeking their first undergraduate degree and have exceptional financial need. Pell Grant amounts are directly related to the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC), determined by the federal government, and may change each academic year. Pell Grants are available to full and part-time students enrolled in at least one credit hour.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG) are federally funded and awarded to low-income undergraduate students. Priority is given to students who are also Pell eligible. Similar to Pell, FSEOG amounts are directly related to a student’s expected family contribution (EFC), but because funding is limited, amounts are determined by the Office of Financial Aid.
The Federal Work-Study program provides funding for part-time jobs for students with financial need. Typically, students are allowed to work approximately 20 hours per week.
University of North Carolina Need-Based Grant
UNC Need-Based Grants are awarded to eligible students attending one of the 16 campuses of the UNC system. Eligibility is based on a state performed calculation of need using income data gathered from the FAFSA. Funding is limited.
North Carolina Education Lottery Scholarship
NC Education Lottery Scholarship was created by the 2005 General Assembly to provide assistance to need North Carolina resident students attending eligible colleges and universities located within the state of North Carolina.
State Appropriated Grant (SAG) and Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG)
State Appropriated Grants and Tuition Assistance Grants are awarded to students that complete the FAFSA by the priority deadline and demonstrate financial need. Award amounts are determined based on funding availability which is extremely limited.
Loans are a type of aid that does require repayment and is either subsidized or unsubsidized.
The Direct Loan Program has low interest loans that undergraduates, graduates and parents of dependent students may obtain from the Department of Education. This program includes the Federal Direct Subsidized Loan, the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan and the Federal PLUS Loan. These loan programs were created by Congress to help all eligible students and parents, with and without financial need, pay for the student's educational expenses.
The Federal Direct Subsidized Loan is awarded to students with demonstrated need. Financial need is determined by subtracting the Estimated Family Contribution (EFC), provided from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), from the cost of attendance (COA). If financial need is not fully met through other forms of aid e.g. grants and scholarships, students are eligible for Subsidized Loan funds up to the remaining amount of their financial need or up to the loan limits based on their grade level, whichever amount is lower. The Federal Government will pay interest on a Subsidized Loan while students are in school and during their six-month grace period.
The Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is awarded to students without demonstrated need and the borrower pays the interest while in school and during the grace period; however, the interest payments may be deferred until the end of the grace period. Students may receive a combination of both loans depending on their eligibility of need versus no-need and their dependency status. Some independent students are eligible to borrow additional Federal Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan funds despite their demonstrated need.
|Classification||Maximum Loan Amount|
Loan Limits effective July 1, 2008
Independent students and students whose parents were denied for a PLUS loan are eligible for additional funding through the Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan program.
The table below shows the fixed interest rate on subsidized loans set by federal statute and based on the date the loan is made.
|Loan Type||Borrower Type||First Disbursement Date||Fixed Interest Rate|
|Graduate or Professional||7/1/06 -6/30/12||
Direct Unsubsidized Loans
|Undergraduate||7/1/15 - 6/30/16||4.29%|
|7/1/14 - 6/30/15||
|7/1/13 - 6/30/14||
|7/1/15 - 6/30/16||
|7/1/14 - 6/30/15||
|7/1/13 - 6/30/14||
|All||7/1/06 - 6/30/13||
This federally funded, low-interest need-based loan is awarded based on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and applications received by the priority deadline. Funds are limited.
The Federal PLUS Loan allows parents of a dependent undergraduate student to borrow at a low fixed rate to help meet the student's cost of attendance not covered by other financial aid. Interest rates and repayment provisions on PLUS loans are usually better than other alternative loans available for educational expenses. Completion of the FAFSA is required.
Parents are also required to pass a credit check when they are applying for the PLUS Loan. If a parent's application for a PLUS Loan is denied based on the borrower's credit history, the student may become eligible for an additional unsubsidized student loan. Freshmen and sophomore students can borrow up to $4000 in a Federal Direct loan, while juniors and seniors could borrow up to $5000.
Federal Graduate PLUS Loan
The Federal Graduate PLUS Loan allows Graduate and Professional students to borrow at a low fixed interest rate after the subsidized and unsubsidized loan eligibility has been exhausted. The Graduate PLUS Loan can be used to pay for the total cost of attendance minus any financial aid you've already been awarded. The Graduate PLUS Loan is largely dependent on the borrower's credit rating and history.
Federal Direct PLUS loans have a fixed interest rate of 7.9%. Interest is charged from the date of disbursement until the loan is paid in full.
Federal loans e.g. Direct loans, Perkins loans, and PLUS loans, are generally the best options and should be a student’s first consideration. The maximum interest rates and fees on these loans are set by federal law, so the terms and conditions for these loans are clearly defined and may not change over time.
Alternative loans are considered a "last resort" for students who have exhausted all other financial aid options. Alternative loans cannot exceed the cost of attendance for a student.
Students will need to apply directly with the lender of their choice. Most students will be required to have someone co-sign the loan application. Interest rates for loans are determined by the lender and are based on the student and co-signers credit worthiness. Questions about alternative loans should be directed to the chosen lender or contact the Office of Financial Aid.
Effective February 14, 2010 all private loan borrowers are required to submit a self-certification form to their lender prior to the school receiving a request to certify the loan. This is a new federal requirement under Regulation Z-§226.48 (f). For additional information visit the Federal Government FDIC regulations.
For a list of private lenders and a comparison of the loan terms offered, visit FinAid.
In addition to the aid described above, aid may be available for students studying abroad or students enrolled at WSSU but taking classes at another institution, transient student.
Aid for Special Groups
Students may be eligible to receive aid while studying abroad. You may apply financial aid (including loans, grants, and scholarships) towards the cost of any study abroad program for the fall or spring semester, whether or not it is sponsored by WSSU. Typically during the summer, the only type of aid available will be in the form of loans. Financial aid eligibility is determined using the TOTAL cost of studying abroad (including air fare and personal expenses), based on official program budgets provided by the International Programs Office or by the sponsoring institution (if the program is not a WSSU program). Students should complete the FAFSA for the academic year in which they plan to study abroad, and to do so in a timely fashion. Additionally, summer applications are required for students who are planning to study abroad during the summer, whether it’s a WSSU program or another sponsoring institution.
Expectations for receiving aid while studying abroad:
- Read and understand all information contained in the WSSU Experience Abroad Application. You should also share all information with your parents if you are a dependent student.
- Before submitting the WSSU Experience Abroad Application, you must receive study abroad approval from the appropriate person(s), typically your academic advisor.
- You must provide the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid a copy of your transcript/grade report from the visiting school as soon as grade information becomes available.
- Failure to submit an unofficial transcript from your study abroad program will result in a delay in disbursement of financial aid for subsequent semesters.
- You must notify the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid if you withdraw or reduce your course load while studying abroad. Changes to your enrollment status may require repayment of a portion or all of the funds already disbursed to you.
- The courses you complete as part of your study abroad experience must be approved for academic credit toward your degree program.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
I am interested in participating in a study abroad program to include summer, fall and/ or spring?
- Visit the International Programs Office website and follow the step by step guide (obtain approval from International Programs Office)
- Submit a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) if you think you might apply for a study abroad program. The FAFSA must be submitted by March 1st, visit Federal Student Aid FAFSA site to view and complete the FAFSA.
- Get approval from an academic advisor(s) to ensure the desired program experience is required for degree completion
- Submit all required forms to the International Programs Office and if during the summer; be sure to complete summer school application in addition to the required forms
Am I eligible to receive financial aid if I am approved to attend a study abroad program?
- This answer may vary by student
- Additional funding for financial aid usually consists of student loans not used during the academic year
I was approved to attend a study abroad program for this summer, I was wondering if there is any way I can still apply for financial aid for the summer session?
- New Students must complete a FAFSA for that academic year. For continuing students, the FAFSA on file for that academic year will be used to determine your summer eligibility
- Summer financial aid consists primarily of loans! In the event that you have not used all of your federal loan eligibility, you may use the remaining amount (up to cost) for the summer
- In order to receive federal aid for the summer, you must be enrolled in at least 6 hours
- All classes must be aligned with your degree course requirements to be approved for federal aid
What if I have used all of my federal loan eligibility throughout the fall /spring semesters, how will I pay for my study abroad experience?
- Each study abroad program has a different budget cost. In the event your loan eligibility is less than what is required, you are responsible for the difference. However, if you have exhausted your loan eligibility you may apply for an alternative/ private loans (visit the FinAid website).
- If you are a dependent student and have used all of your federal eligibility, your parent can apply for a parent PLUS loan on your behalf. Parents should visit StudentLoans.gov to apply
- You may also apply for a private loan with the lender of your choice. Some lenders that are commonly used by WSSU students are Sallie Mae, PNC Bank, Wells Fargo and Discover.
I am interested in studying abroad but would like to be considered for scholarships?
- Please contact the International Programs Office for more information related to study abroad scholarships.
My study abroad program will begin in May before summer school begins, how will I receive my financial aid?
- Summer financial aid will not disburse to your accounts until after the first week of classes
- You are responsible for all fees and monetary needs while studying abroad until your aid disburses to your account
What if my study abroad program is only 3 hours, will I still receive financial aid?
- You must be enrolled in at least 6 hours to be eligible for federal loans
Can I study abroad more than once?
- Yes, you can study abroad more than one semester
- As long as the classes taken are required for your WSSU degree and will all transfer back to satisfy your degree requirements
Money is due now. What should I do?
- You will be responsible for out of pocket expenses until your aid is processed.
To learn more about aid for students studying abroad, visit Studying Abroad
Transient students are Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) degree-seeking students that are not enrolled for the term at WSSU, but are enrolled in 6 or more credit hours at another institution. WSSU is considered to be the home institution and the other institution is the host institution.
Federal regulations prohibit students from receiving aid at more than one institution during the same academic term. Therefore, all requests for financial aid during terms of transient study must be filed with WSSU, not the host institution.
In order for transient students to receive financial aid, students must:
- Obtain permission in writing from WSSU’s Office of the Registrar.
- Register and pay out of pocket for all courses at the host institution.
- Submit a course schedule and billing statement from the host institution to WSSU’s financial aid office.
After the steps above have been completed, WSSU's financial aid office will send a consortium agreement form to the host school to be completed. The host school will return the completed form to WSSU’s Office of Financial Aid.
WSSU’s financial aid office will then award financial aid for the transient term based on the total number of hours that the student is enrolled at the host institution.
The student must adhere to the financial aid Award Terms and Conditions.
It is the student's responsibility to ensure that the Office of the Registrar at WSSU receives a final copy of the academic transcript from the host school at the completion of the term (deadline on the transient study/financial aid request form). If transcripts are not received as stated, financial aid may be canceled for the term, and future requests will be denied.