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Paying for College with Federal Financial Aid

Steps to Apply for Financial Aid

Financial aid can make the already affordable tuition at WGU even easier on your pocketbook. In fact, if you use financial aid responsibly, you should be able to finish your degree without worrying about large education debts.

The financial aid application process is detailed in the steps below.

1. Complete the FAFSA online.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to determine your student aid eligibility based on your personal and family situation. If you are a first-time user, you will be required to create an FSA ID. It allows users to access personal information on federal student aid websites as well as to sign a FAFSA. Visit the website to complete the FAFSA form.

Once WGU receives the FAFSA application (3–5 business days), you can complete the following financial aid application steps through the WGU Student Portal in the Financial Services section.

Code: 033394

When you complete the FAFSA, be sure to list WGU’s school code.

2. Complete entrance counseling.

If you plan to use federal student loans, access to complete entrance counseling. This step is required to ensure you understand your borrower rights and responsibilities.

3. Complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN).

If you plan to use federal student loans, you will need to electronically complete and sign the MPN—a legal document that creates a contract between you and the lender to repay the loans. You will find the MPN at

4. Complete any other financial aid documentation as required.

You may be required to complete or supply additional documentation before your financial aid can be awarded. Any required documents will be listed in the Financial Services section of your WGU Student Portal.

5. Complete the financial aid process.

After completing the FAFSA, you will receive your personal My Financial Aid Plan on the Financial Aid page in your student portal. After reviewing your Financial Aid Plan, you will be prompted to accept a recommended loan amount or request a custom loan amount not to exceed the maximum loan eligibility. An offer letter displaying your requested, or otherwise eligible, loan and grant amounts will be sent to your WGU email address. At that time, the financial aid process is complete and no further action is necessary.

Financial Aid Deadline

For new students, the deadline for completing the financial aid process is the 22nd of the month prior to your intended program start date. This deadline also includes submission and approval of any additional required documents by the Financial Aid Office. Failure to complete the process or submit the required documents will result in a delay of funding and may affect your start date.

Begin the WGU financial aid application now.

Common Questions about Financial Aid

As a WGU student, you can use financial aid to pay for tuition, fees, books, other school-related supplies, technology needed for online study, and personal living expenses. The "technology needed" can include a new computer, internet service fees, and software.

Your financial aid cannot be used to pay your application fee.

Most WGU students qualify for at least one type of federal aid. To be eligible for aid, you must be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen with a valid Social Security Number who possesses a high school diploma, GED, or its equivalent. You must be enrolled or enrolling in an eligible WGU degree program as a full-time student. If you are a male, you must also be registered with the Selective Service. In addition, you must not be in default on a previous student loan or owe an overpayment on a grant.

The amount of financial aid you are eligible to receive will be based on:

  • Your FAFSA results.
  • The amount of financial aid available.
  • Distribution formulas based on university, state, and federal guidelines.

The determination of your eligibility for federal student aid (FSA) is based on a number of factors including the federal direct annual and aggregate loan limits, enrollment status, cost of attendance (COA), expected family contribution (EFC), and other estimated financial assistance (EFA). You are only allowed to borrow the annual limit up to the Cost of Attendance (minus other estimated financial assistance) based on your current grade level and dependency status at WGU. There are aggregate and lifetime eligibility limits set by the Department of Education.

Need-based aid (e.g., Federal Pell, Direct Subsidized Loan) is awarded based on your income. Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is the number that is used to determine your eligibility for a need-based aid. This number results from the financial information you provide in your FAFSA.

The following formula is used to calculate your financial need: 

Financial Need = Cost of Attendance – Expected Family Contribution

Please see Maximum Loan Eligibility and Cost of Attendance for more information.

Speak to an Enrollment Counselor who can answer most of your basic financial aid 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:


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November 1