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WGU is approved by the U.S. Department of Education to offer federal financial aid programs. Because of our more affordable tuition, WGU students are able to graduate without large amounts of student debt to repay. Federal financial aid may cover most, if not all, of your direct education expenses.

Most WGU students qualify for at least one type of federal aid. Generally, to be eligible for federal financial aid, you must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, enroll in a degree-seeking program, and make satisfactory academic progress. Other specific eligibility criteria may apply. To receive consideration for any federal financial aid program and to determine eligibility, you must first file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Western Governors University's FAFSA Code:033394

You Can Use Financial Aid for:

  • Tuition and Fees, including electronic learning materials
  • Textbooks
  • Technology
  • Other educational expenses

Federal Grants

  • Pell Grants do not have to be repaid. These need-based grants are awarded only to students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree. They are available to those with the greatest need, which is calculated based upon income, number of dependents, and other factors that are reported on the federal FAFSA form.
  • Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG) do not have to be repaid. These need-based grants are awarded only to students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree. This award is available for undergraduates with exceptional financial need as demonstrated by the results from filing the federal FAFSA form. Limited funding has been given to WGU for awards; therefore, not all eligible students will receive this grant.
  • The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant was created in association with the College Cost Reduction and Access Act to help students earning education degrees. Students who qualify for the TEACH Grant must agree to work for four years in a low-income, high-need school after graduation. The TEACH Grant provides up to $4,000 per year.

Note: If you accept a TEACH Grant and choose not to work in a government-approved school, the balance of grant money received will be turned into a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan that must be repaid.

Interest Rate for Loans:

The interest rate you are charged for both Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans is variable and adjusted once a year,
on July 1.

Click here to see the latest rates for Subsidized, Unsubsidized and PLUS loans.

Note: You will be responsible for repaying your loans even if you withdraw from WGU. Click here to learn more about your financial obligations.

Student Loans are Available to Most Students

WGU students may qualify for student loans:

  • Federal Direct Loans (Subsidized) — These loans are based on financial need. The interest is paid by the federal government while you are enrolled in school at least half time or during deferment periods.
  • Federal Direct Loans (Unsubsidized) — These loans are not based on financial need, and therefore are available to most WGU students. You are responsible for the interest from the day you borrow the money until you pay off the loan.

Annual loan limits vary based on your program and grade level.

Click here for information about loan limits.

Federal Work-Study Program

Some students may qualify for a work-study position within one of our campuses. Work-study is a need-based work program that allows students to earn money to help offset the costs of attending WGU. Limited funding has been given to WGU for awards; therefore, not all eligible students will receive an award. Priority for these limited awards will be given to students who indicate “yes” to the FAFSA question about Work Study.

Responsible Borrowing

WGU participates in a U.S. Department of Education study to limit borrowing for certain WGU students.

As part of this study, WGU has agreed to enroll students in a Responsible Borrowing Initiative (“RBI”) program. Based on criteria established by WGU and approved by the U.S. Department of Education, students entering WGU with more than $30,000 debt from prior student loans are assigned to participate in the program. Our goal is not to deter students from attending WGU, but to ensure that every student receives the financial resources needed to graduate without incurring unnecessary additional student debt. This program is not optional and students who meet the criteria will be included in the program. As participants, students will be restricted to specific annual loan limits during their entire enrollment at WGU.

RBI Program Criteria:

The RBI program will include students who are new to WGU starting January 1, 2012 or after, and have an outstanding principal balance on prior student loans of:

  • $30,000 or higher for undergraduate programs of study will have annual student loan limitations to borrow not more than $6,500 per academic year
  • $40,000 or higher for graduate programs of study will have annual student loan limitations to borrow no more than $7,500 per academic year

Maximum aid amounts are contingent on federal aggregate limits, grade level, cost of attendance, and other aid resources. The WGU RBI program sets limits on student loans only and does not limit grants or scholarships if the student is otherwise eligible.

State Grants Available for WGU Students

In addition to federal loans, you may be eligible for financial aid from your state. States offer student loans based on the money available in their annual budget, which can affect interest rates and loan amounts. Contact your state’s department of postsecondary education for more details.

See below for our current list of states in which WGU may be eligible for grant program funding:

Rhode Island

State grant programs typically have strict application deadlines for funding eligibility. In many cases, completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step for state grant applications.

Unequal Direct Loan Disbursements

The Department of Education normally requires that Direct Loans be disbursed in at least two substantially equal disbursements during a loan period. WGU has been selected to participate in a Department of Education experimental sites initiative. Beginning with the 2014-2015 aid year, this initiative will waive the equal disbursement requirement and allow unequal disbursements of Direct Loan proceeds under certain conditions.

Students are selected to participate in this experiment on an “opt in” basis. In all cases, there can be no more than a 75/25 split between disbursements. Award and disbursement amounts for students in the experiment are still contingent on federal aggregate limits, grade level, cost of attendance and other aid resources.

Still have questions? The WGU Financial Aid Office can answer more specific questions about your personal situation once you have completed the WGU Financial Aid Application. The Financial Aid Office can be reached by email at or by calling 1-877-435-7948 ext. 3104.

Note: Your financial aid cannot be used to pay your application fee. Full-time enrollment is required for all financial aid programs. Failure to progress at the full-time rate and in accordance with your Degree Plan may result in loss of eligibility for additional aid and for loan deferment.

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