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

You Can Use Financial Aid for:

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

To receive consideration for any federal student aid program, you must first file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). When you fill out the FAFSA, you are applying for aid for a specific year; therefore, you will need to renew your FAFSA application each award year.

Western Governors University's Federal School Code on the FAFSA: 033394

Most WGU students qualify for at least one type of federal aid. To be eligible for federal student aid (grants, loans, and work-study funds), you have to meet certain requirements. Click here for the basic eligibility criteria.

WGU participates in the following federal grant and loan programs:

Federal Pell Grant

The Pell Grant does not have to be repaid and may be awarded to students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree. It is available to those with the greatest need, which is calculated based upon income, number of dependents, and other factors reported on the FAFSA. Students may receive the Federal Pell Grant for no more than 12 terms (roughly six years). Click here for more detailed information on eligibility for Federal Pell Grants.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) does not have to be repaid and may be awarded to students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree. This grant is available for undergraduates with exceptional financial need. Limited funding has been given to WGU for this program; therefore, not all eligible students will receive this grant. Click here for more detailed information on eligibility for FSEOG.

Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant

The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant provides grants of up to $4000 per year to students who agree to teach for at least four years within the first eight years of their graduation in a high-need field, in a school serving low-income students. Note: If you accept a TEACH Grant and choose not to work in a government-approved school, all TEACH Grant funds you received will be converted to a Direct Unsubsidized Loan that must be repaid with interest charged from the date of each TEACH Grant disbursement. Click here for more detailed information on eligibility for the TEACH Grant.

TEACH Grant Eligible Programs

Federal Work-Study Program

The Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program provides part-time employment while students are enrolled in an institution to help pay for education expenses.

Some students may qualify for a work-study position within one of our campuses provided they meet the general eligibility criteria. FWS is a need-based program that allows students to earn money to help offset the costs of attending WGU. Limited funding has been given to WGU for this program; therefore, not all eligible students will receive an award. Priority will be given to students who indicate “yes” to the FAFSA question about Work Study. This program encourages community service work and work related to the student’s course of study.

FWS employment is governed by employment conditions, including the rate of pay that is appropriate and reasonable according to the type of work performed, the geographic region, the employee’s proficiency, and any applicable federal, state, or local law, including state or locally established minimum wage rates. Click here for more information on FWS.

Federal Direct Loan Program (DL)

The Federal Direct Loan Program (DL) is the largest federal student loan program, through which eligible students and parents borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education to help cover the cost of higher education. Students are only allowed to borrow the annual limit up to the Cost of Attendance based on their current grade level. There are lifetime loan limits also set by the Department of Education. This may limit your borrowing eligibility. WGU students may be eligible to receive the following Direct Loan programs:

A Direct Subsidized Loan is given to eligible undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need. The interest is paid by the U.S. Department of Education while you are enrolled in school at least half time or during deferment periods.

Note: If you received a Direct Subsidized Loan that was first disbursed between July 1, 2012 and July 1, 2014, you will be responsible for paying interest that accrued during your grace period.

If you did not have an outstanding balance of principal or interest on a Direct Loan or FFEL Program Loan on July 1, 2013 or after, you are considered a first-time borrower and your eligibility for Direct Subsidized Loans is limited to a period not to exceed 150 percent of the length of your educational program. Under certain conditions, if you exceed the 150 percent limit, you may lose the interest subsidy on your existing Direct Subsidized loans.

A Direct Unsubsidized Loan is made to eligible undergraduate, graduate, and professional students and is not based on financial need. Therefore, they 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.

Students who receive a Direct Subsidized and/or Direct Unsubsidized Loans are subject to the terms and conditions disclosed on the Federal Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN), the Direct Loan Disclosure Statement, and the Borrower's Rights and Responsibilities Statement.

Click here for more information on eligibility and application for the Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan Program.

Direct PLUS Loans are loans made to graduate or professional students and parents of dependent undergraduate students to help pay for education expenses. The borrower (student or parent, in case of Parents PLUS loan) is responsible for interest during all periods.

Direct PLUS Loan for Graduate and Professional Degree Students

Graduate students can borrow an amount up to the cost of attendance (COA) minus other estimated financial assistance. The terms and conditions applicable to parent PLUS loans also applies to graduate PLUS loans.

Applicants are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and are given an opportunity to request the maximum eligibility under the Direct Unsubsidized Loan Program before applying for a graduate Direct PLUS loan. The graduate PLUS loan will be placed into deferment while a graduate student is enrolled and for an additional six months after the date the student ceases to be enrolled on at least half-time basis.

Students who receive a graduate PLUS Loan are subject to the terms and conditions disclosed on the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Application and Master Promissory Note (MPN), the Direct Loan Disclosure Statement, and the Borrower’s Rights and Responsibilities Statement.

Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)

If you are a dependent undergraduate student, your parents may apply for a PLUS loan to assist with your educational expenses. The application process includes completion and submission of a PLUS Loan application by your parents and completion and submission of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the family. The application process is completed through the Federal Direct Loan Program. This loan is based on credit worthiness as determined by the U.S. Department of Education.

The yearly limit is equal to the cost of attendance (COA) minus any other financial aid received. Interest is charged on the loan from the date first disbursement is made until the loan is paid in full. The parent borrower has the option to begin repayment either within 60 days from the date the loan is fully disbursed or may request to defer repayment while the dependent student is enrolled at an eligible institution and for an additional six months after the date the student ceases to be enrolled on at least half-time basis. Interest will accrue on the loan during the deferment. Generally, the same deferment or forbearance provisions that apply to Subsidized/Unsubsidized loans also apply to PLUS loans.

Students whose parents receive a PLUS loan are subject to the terms and conditions disclosed on the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Application and Master Promissory Note (MPN), the Direct Loan Disclosure Statement, and the Borrower’s Rights and Responsibilities Statement. Click here for more information on eligibility and application for the Federal Direct PLUS Loan.

Loan Limits

The amounts borrowed depend on a student’s grade level and dependency status at the University. Students are only allowed to borrow the annual limit up to the Cost of Attendance based on their current grade level. There are lifetime loan limits also set by the Department of Education. This may limit your borrowing eligibility.

The following table indicates Federal Direct loan limits based on status of dependent undergraduate, independent undergraduate or graduate student.

Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Annual Loan Limits

YearDependent Undergraduate StudentIndependent Undergraduate StudentGraduate/Professional Student
1st Year$5,500 – No more than $3,500 of this amount can be subsidized loan$9,500 – No more than $3,500 of this amount can be subsidized loan$20,500 Unsubsidized
2nd year$6,500 – No more than $4,500 of this amount can be subsidized loan$10,500 – No more than $4,500 of this amount can be subsidized loan$20,500 Unsubsidized
3rd and 4th Year$7,500 – No more than $5,500 of this amount can be subsidized loan$12,500 – No more than $5,500 of this amount can be subsidized loan$20,500 Unsubsidized

A student whose parent cannot obtain a parent loan for an undergraduate student (PLUS) loan is allowed to borrow additional unsubsidized Direct Loan amounts. Student dependency status will be determined based on answers to questions on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Aggregate Loan Limits

 SubsidizedTotal Subsidized and Unsubsidized
Dependent Undergraduate students (excluding those whose parents cannot borrow Direct PLUS)$23,000$31,000
Independent Undergraduate students and Dependent Undergraduate students whose parents cannot borrow Direct PLUS$23,000$57,500
Graduate and Professional Students$65,500 * $138,500 *

*Aggregate loan limits for graduate and professional students include loans received for undergraduate study. The $65,500 subsidized aggregate loan limit shown here for graduate and professional students includes subsidized loans received for loan periods beginning before July 1, 2012, and prior subsidized loans received for undergraduate study.

Origination Fees

Federal Direct Loans are charged origination fees, which are deducted from the loan proceeds by the U.S. Department of Education (ED).

Interest Rates for Loans

The interest rates for Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and PLUS Loans are calculated each year based on the 10-year Treasury Bill rate plus an add-on for which the first disbursement is made on or after July 1 through the following June 30.

See the latest interest rates for Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and PLUS loans.

See the historical interest rates for Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and PLUS loans.

State Grants Available for WGU Students

In addition to federal grants and loans, you may be eligible for financial aid from your state. See the current list of states and their respective websites below for information regarding the state grants WGU students may be eligible to receive, how to apply, and other requirements.

Indianahttp://www.ssaci.in.gov
Pennsylvaniahttp://www.pheaa.org/funding-opportunities/other-educational-aid/
Tennesseehttp://www.state.tn.us/thec/
Vermonthttp://services.vsac.org/wps/wcm/connect/vsac/VSAC
Washingtonhttp://www.wsac.wa.gov/

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.

Institutional Scholarships

Through the generosity of numerous corporations and foundations, plus special federal government appropriations, WGU maintains a robust program of scholarships made available to qualified students. For the list of WGU General Scholarships and how to apply for a specific scholarship, see the Scholarships page.

Private Student Loans

Private loans are generally more costly than federal loans and may be available to both students and parents who need assistance beyond their federal and state financial aid eligibility. The university does not endorse a particular lender and encourages that a private loan only be considered after all federal and state financial aid options have been exhausted. Private loans are made through private lenders and are subject to higher fees, interest rate, credit review, and other individual terms and conditions. These loans are not subsidized or guaranteed by the federal government. Click here for more information on the difference between federal and private loans.

Loan Terms

After you have completed the Master Promissory Note (MPN), an award letter is sent from the university and a disclosure statement from Direct Lending informing you of the types and amount of student loans awarded for the loan period. Direct Lending will mail a disclosure statement and notification of anticipated disbursement dates. When funds are received, the university confirms eligibility and current registration. Any changes and/or breaks in attendance or failure to start as scheduled may prevent federal student aid funds from being disbursed.

The federal student loans are processed for an academic year, which is two six-month terms with a minimum of 12 competency units per term for undergraduates and 8 competency units per term for graduate students. The university will disburse federal student aid loans in at least two installments. The first half disbursed at the beginning of the loan period and the second half disbursed at the midpoint of the loan period. In order to meet eligibility standards for second and subsequent loan disbursements the student must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements and be enrolled in the second six month term.

These loans must be repaid and they cannot be canceled because you did not complete your education or did not get the job you expected. You may use the Federal Student Aid office Repayment Estimator to see the estimated monthly and total payments including the repayment plan options for which you may be eligible. The U.S. Department of Education uses several loan servicers to handle services on federal student loans.

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. They 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 not 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.

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.

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


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 finaid@wgu.edu or by calling 877-435-7948.

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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