Western Connecticut State University offers financial aid to help qualified students meet their educational expenses. The staff of the Financial Aid Office assists students in determining their eligibility for the various sources of available aid.
While not everyone will qualify for assistance, a student should never assume he/she is ineligible without first applying. A wide spectrum of variables affects the application process and many possible options exist that may pertain to a student’s particular circumstances.
The evaluation of one’s financial need is based on an analysis of several factors such as student and/or family income, family size, assets and liabilities, and the number of family members in school. In addition, WestConn’s total allocation of funds for an academic year is a factor that determines the amount of aid a student may receive. Meeting the application deadline and assessing the student’s financial need are important factors in the financial aid process. All financial aid recipients must apply annually for financial aid to qualify for assistance.
How To Apply:
First-Time Applicants & Transfer Students
A. Obtain a copy of the free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) from your guidance counselor, the Financial Aid Office, or online at www.fafsa.ed.gov, and complete it according to the instructions. The university’s code, 001380, is required. Mail the paper FAFSA to:
Federal Student Aid Programs
P.O. Box 7001
Mt. Vernon, IL 62864-0071
You may also apply online at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Please be sure to obtain a PIN (personal identification number) for yourself and your parent (if you are a dependent student).
A. The document resulting from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the Institutional Student Information Record or Student Aid Report (SAR). These forms must be received in the university’s data files with a valid index number and with WestConn’s name by March 30. The applicant should allow four weeks for the processing of the FAFSA; March 1 is the recommended filing date.
B. If selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education, you must submit the following information to the Financial Aid Office by April 30th to be considered an on-time applicant:
–– If you are applying as a dependent student, you must submit a signed copy of your parents’ previous year’s federal income tax return (form 1040A or 1040 and supporting schedules) to the Financial Aid Office.
–– All students must submit a signed copy of their own previous year’s federal income tax return (1040EZ or 1040 and supporting schedules) to the Financial Aid Office.
–– If a student or his/her parent did not file a tax return for the previous year, a non-filers certification form must be signed and returned to the Financial Aid Office.
–– A verification worksheet must be completed; please contact the Financial Aid Office for more information on this.
To reapply for financial aid at Westconn, the following conditions must be met:
1. You must be in good academic standing.
2. You must be a matriculated student registered at least half-time for the upcoming semester.
3. You must have maintained satisfactory academic progress; this requires that you pass at least 24 credits per full-time academic year.
4. You must have completed your financial aid file on time.*
*An on-time financial aid file consists of the Free Renewal Application completed and returned to the Federal Processor by March 1. Please indicate WestConn’s code, 001380, in the college release section. Also, WestConn must receive the valid Student Aid Report (SAR) by March 30. If your SAR is selected for verification, please refer to Section B, under “Important Deadlines.”
Financial aid awards are given on a first come/first served basis. Please submit your paperwork in by the required dates.
To reapply for financial aid at Westconn, the following conditions must be met:
*An on-time financial aid file consists of the Free Renewal Application completed and returned to the Federal Processor by March 15. Please indicate WestConn’s code, 001380, in the college release section. Also, you must complete and return a signed copy of your (and, if dependent, your parent’s) previous year’s federal income tax return to the Financial Aid Office at WestConn by Wednesday, April 15.
Financial aid awards are given on a first come/first served basis. Please submit your paperwork in by required dates.
What is a Renewal Application?
The renewal application is similar to the Student Aid Report. It contains most of the data you reported on your previous year’s federal aid application. Instead of filing a new Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you will only have to edit the information on the renewal application that has changed (i.e. income, grade level, etc.) and answer a few additional questions.
How do I Obtain a Renewal Application?
The renewal application can be obtained by applying online at www.fafsa.ed.gov and selecting “Fill out a Renewal FAFSA.” If you are unable to access your renewal application, you will be required to fill out a new FAFSA. Please allow four weeks for processing a paper FAFSA to meet the university’s March 30 deadline.
Note: Any aid awarded to a student is contingent upon WCSU receiving federal and/or state funds. Student awards may also be adjusted with the receipt of new financial information during the academic year. Financial aid is only awarded to matriculated students who are registered at least half-time (6 credit hours).
WestConn offers more than 100 scholarships and academic awards to undergraduate students. To obtain a copy of The Student Guide to Scholarships and Academic Awards, contact the Office of Financial Aid, (203) 837-8580, Old Main 105.
State Scholarship Recipients
If you are a recipient of a state scholarship and are subject to deadline dates, it is suggested that you complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as outlined in the “First-Time Applicant” section, making sure to meet the necessary deadline dates. Note: When you complete the FAFSA or renewal application, you are applying for all federal, state and university grants and loans offered at WCSU.
Federal Pell Grants (Pell)
The Pell Grant was established as a basic access program for students who come from low and middle income families. To qualify for a Pell grant, the student must:
1. Be matriculated.
2. Be registered at least half-time.
3. Be enrolled, or accepted for enrollment, in an eligible program as an undergraduate student at the institution.
4. Meet one of the following citizen criteria:
a. Be a U.S. citizen.
b. Be a permanent resident of the U.S.; or
c. Provide evidence from the Immigration and Naturalization Service that he/she is in the United States for other than a temporary purpose, with the intention of becoming a citizen or permanent resident; or
d. Be a permanent resident of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands or the Northern Mariana Islands.
5. Maintain satisfactory academic progress according to the standards and practices of the institution.
6. Not owe a refund on a Pell Grant, supplement grant or state student incentive intended to meet the cost of attending the institution;
7. Not be in default on any National Defense/Direct Student Loan (also known as Perkins Loan), Stafford Student Loan, or Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) received to meet the cost of attending the institution, and;
8. Not engage in the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of a controlled substance during the period covered by this grant.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants are awarded to students pursuing a first baccalaureate degree. Awards range from $100 to $4,000 per academic year. The conditions to be met in order to qualify for a supplemental grant are the same as those listed under Federal Pell Grants above.
Connecticut Aid for Public University (CAPS)
A CAP award can be given to half- or full-time matriculated students. Recipients must be Connecticut residents. The grant cannot exceed financial need.
Connecticut State University Grant Aid (CSUG)
Public Act 76-181 authorizes the Board of Trustees for the State University to allocate funds to be given as grants to undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need and are enrolled as full or half-time matriculated students in a degree-granting program.
Federal Perkins Loan Program (PERK)
This program uses both federal and state funds. Annual loan limits are established at $4,000 for undergraduate students and $6,000 for graduate students. Aggregate borrowing limits are set at $20,000 for undergraduate students and $40,000 for graduate and professional students. Students must provide their driver’s license number at the time of application. The monthly minimum repayment is set at $40. There will be no repayment of principal or interest until nine months after the student graduates or formally leaves school.
Note: There are a variety of reasons why Perkins Loan payments may be deferred; i.e., economic hardship, military service, etc. For more complete information, please refer to your promissory note that is a part of your loan agreement.
Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFEL)
This program is one of the Department of Education’s major form of self-help aid. Loans are funded from a bank, credit union, or other lender that participates in the FFEL Program.
Listed below are the three types of loans available under the FFEL program, as well as their loan limits.
Subsidized Student Loan:
Cost/Rates: Annual fixed rate of 6.8% for all loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2006
Unsubsidized Student Loan:
Note: This is an unsubsidized loan. Interest accrues while in school and in grace period.
For DEPENDENT Students
$ 3,500 first year
$ 4,500 second year
$ 5,500 other undergraduate
$ 8,500 graduate and professional
For INDEPENDENT Students
$ 7,500 first year ($3,500 of this amount may be subsidized)
$ 8,500 second year ($4,500 of this amount may be subsidized)
$ 10,500 other undergraduate ($5,500 of this amount may be subsidized)
$ 18,500 graduate & professional ($8,500 of this amount may be subsidized)
Cost/Rates: Annual fixed rate of 6.8% for all loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2006.
Aggregate limits for FFEL Loans
Cost of attendance per student less other aid.
Cost of attendance per student less other aid.
Cost/Rates: Annual fixed rate of 8.5%
Fees: 3% origination fees
FFEL Consolidation Loans
These loans are designed to help student and parent borrowers simplify loan repayment by allowing the borrower to consolidate several types of federal student loans with various repayment schedules into one loan. FFEL consolidation loans are available from participating lenders such as banks, credit unions, and savings and loan associations.
Borrowers may choose from among a variety of repayment plans for FFEL loans:
• Standard plan - a fixed annual repayment amount (generally, $50 per month) paid over a fixed period of time, not to exceed 10 years.
• Graduated repayment plan - annual payment amounts at two or more levels paid over a fixed or extended period of time. Payments must be at least half but not more than one-and-one-half of what the payment would be if the loan were repaid under the standard repayment plan.
• Income sensitive repayment plan - varying annual repayment amounts based on the borrower’s adjusted gross income (and that of the borrower’s spouse, if a joint return is filed), paid over a period not to exceed 25 years.
Payments will vary in relation to the “appropriate portion” of the borrower’s (and spouse’s) annual income. The department will determine the appropriate portion.
Note: PLUS borrowers are not eligible for this plan.
A borrower who has defaulted may be required to repay the loan according to an income contingent repayment plan.
If the borrower does not select one of the three repayment plans, the department will choose a standard, extended or graduated repayment plan for the borrower.
The borrower may change the type of payment plan he or she originally chose under terms and conditions the department will establish.
On a case-by-case basis, the department may approve an alternative repayment plan if the borrower can demonstrate that one of the plans above cannot accommodate the borrower’s exceptional circumstances. The alternative plan may not exceed the cost of any of the four plans discussed above.
The borrower may accelerate his or her payments without penalty.
Borrower Defenses Against Repayment
The department will specify in regulations what acts or omissions of a school a borrower may assert as a defense against repaying a FFEL Loan. However, a borrower may not recover from the department an amount that exceeds what he or she has repaid on the loan.
During deferment periods, payment of principal will be postponed. Deferments may be granted for:
The limits that currently exist in Section 532(a)(6) of the Bankruptcy Code to prevent the discharge of FFELs in bankruptcy specify that student loans will not be discharged except in cases where the loans first became due more than seven years before the date the borrower and his or her dependents incurred hardship. These provisions apply to both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases.
Federal Tax Information
Any funds received from scholarships, benefits, fellowships, WestConn or any other sources, when combined, exceed the cost of tuition, fees, books, required equipment and supplies are considered taxable income. These include federal Pell Grants but not federal loans. The borrower is required to report taxable awards to the IRS as income and therefore should keep a detailed record of all expenditures. Housing and food are considered nonexempt, so money spent on these items is subject to income tax.
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Students receiving financial assistance under the federally supported Title IV Programs/Veteran’s Benefits must comply with the following set of standards to be eligible for such assistance. Academic Progress is measured on an academic year basis. Measurement is conducted at the close of the spring semester. An academic year runs from the beginning of the fall semester to the end of the spring semester.
A. Quality of academic performance:
Students must be matriculated and must maintain that quality of academic performance required to remain a matriculated undergraduate or graduate student in the university. A student is subject to dismissal from WestConn if his/her cumulative GPA is: less than 1.7 with up to 30 credits attempted; less than 2.0 thereafter. Students who are on academic probation, unless otherwise ineligible, will be able to receive financial aid if they meet the "speed of completion" standard of the Academic Progress Policy outlined below.
B. Speed of completion of the bachelor’s degree:
1. For full-time undergraduate students: Satisfactory Academic Progress is defined as the successful completion of a minimum of 24-credit hours of academic work per academic year for students who enroll for both fall and spring semesters, and 12-credit hours of academic work for those enrolled for only one semester. Non- credit developmental courses recommended by the student’s academic adviser do count, but failed courses, audited courses, withdrawals, incompletes, repetitions and courses transferred from another institution prior to your attendance at WestConn will not be counted toward the number of required credits.
2. Full-time undergraduate students will not be eligible for financial assistance for more than 12 semesters of full-time attendance or until certified for graduation by the university, whichever comes first (regardless of whether not students received financial aid for those 12 semesters).
3. For part-time undergraduate students: Satisfactory academic progress is defined as the successful completion of the number of credits that a student begins the semester with For instance, if you register for 9 credits, withdraw from a 3-credit course and pass only 6 credits, you have not maintained satisfactory academic progress. You must pass all 9 credits. Non- developmental courses recommended by the student’s academic adviser do count, but failed courses, audited courses withdrawals, incompletes, repetitions, and courses transferred from another institution prior to your attendance at WestConn will not be counted toward the number of required credits.
4. Part-time undergraduate students will not be eligible for assistance for more than 24 semesters of part-time attendance or until the student is certified for graduation by the university, whichever comes first.
C. Alternatives for Completion of Academic Progress
1. The undergraduate student who does not attain the above levels of satisfactory academic progress may complete the needed hours in winter intersession and summer sessions. The student needs to submit in writing to the Financial Aid Office that they have completed their credits.
2. Upon presentation of evidence of medical emergencies, the undergraduate student who has been denied financial assistance under the policy may appeal to the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeals Committee.
D. Title IV Programs are:
1. Federal Pell Grant (PELL)
2. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
3. Federal College Work Study Program (FWSP)
4. Federal Perkins Loan Program (PERK)
5. Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) (Includes William D. Ford Federal Direct Student Loans):
a. Subsidized Student Loans (FFSL)
b. Unsubsidized Stafford Loans (FFUL)
c. Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS Loan)
For More Information About Financial Aid...
Contact us at Western Connecticut State University, 181 White Street, Danbury CT 06810. Or E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, reach us on the web at www.wcsu.edu. As a WestConn student, you may now access your own individual financial aid information via WestConn’s student information server. This will show the status of each financial aid award, the amount awarded and disbursed, as well as the status of your financial aid file and any correspondence.
Student employment is an integral part of university life for many students. Student labor benefits the school in almost every academic and administrative department on campus. Student employment may be related to a student’s major and/or interests and work schedules can be designed around a student’s academic schedule.
WestConn employs approximately 400 students during the academic year. The types of jobs available are as diverse as the students themselves. A complete list of job descriptions is available in the Financial Aid Office.
Students are paid bi-weekly, and the hourly rate is contingent on the difficulty of position and the experience of the student. The first paycheck is delayed for two weeks, as required by the state.
There are two major funding sources for the student labor force at Western Connecticut State University;
• the Federal College Work Study Program
• the institutional payroll
The Federal College Work Study Program is a federally funded program based on financial need. Because the program is financially need-based, work experience is not the qualifying factor. In order to work under the Federal College Work Study Program, a student must meet the conditions listed under the Pell Grant section.
WestConn’s institutional payroll is not based on a student’s financial need. Students are employed based on the needs of each department, availability of funds, and the student’s experience in specific areas.
All federal and state funds are subject to federal and state regulations as mandated.
Off-Campus Employment Opportunities
Western Connecticut State University offers a variety of off-campus employment opportunities for students who have demonstrated financial need and who might like to work in a non-profit organization, such as the United Way or, in the Danbury Public School System. These jobs allow students the many benefits of community involvement while earning money and continuing their education. For more information on these positions, contact WestConn’s Financial Aid Office.
The Office of Veterans’ Affairs is part of WestConn’s Financial Aid Office, located on the first floor of the Old Main Administration Building on the WCSU Midtown campus. The office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. Any student who would like information about benefits earned through the armed services should report to Veterans Affairs/Financial Aid Office.
The Connecticut Department of Higher Education has approved WCSU’s educational programs for the training of veterans. Veterans may take advantage of their benefits under chapters 30, 32, 35 and 106.
Additionally, wives, widows and children of veterans seeking approval for educational benefits should apply to Veterans Affairs.
Active Duty Education Assistance Program-Chapter 30
This program is for those veterans who first entered active duty beginning July 1, 1985 to the present:
A. To receive Chapter 30 benefits, you also must have served at least:
1. Two years of honorable continuous active duty if your first obligated period of service was less than three years or if you are now on active duty, or;
2. Three years of honorable continuous active duty if your initial obligated period of service was three years or more, or;
3. Two years of honorable continuous active duty followed by four years of continuous active duty in the selected reserve with satisfactory participation in training, or;
4. If you were discharged or released for a service-connected disability, hardship or convenience of the government, you may still be eligible even if you did not serve the minimum lengths of time described above.
1. If you entered on active duty for the first time on or after July 1, 1985, your military pay must have been reduced by $100 each month for the first 12 months of your active duty service.
2. You must have received a high school diploma or its equivalent before completing the required services.
V.E.A.P. (Post-Vietnam Era Veterans’ Educational Assistance Program)–Chapter 32
You may be eligible for the program if you meet the following conditions:
1. You entered active military service after December 31, 1976.
2 You contributed money to V.E.A.P. while on active duty.
3. You served for a continuous period of 181 days or more. If you had less than 181 days of service, you may be eligible if you were discharged from active duty because of a service-connected disability.
4. If you were an enlistee who enlisted for the first time after September 7, 1980, or if you were an officer or enlistee who entered on active duty after October 16, 1981, you must have completed either 24 continuous months of active duty or the full period for which you were called or ordered to active duty, whichever is less. This requirement does not apply if you:
a. were discharged or released from active duty under an early-out discharge (10 U.S.C. 1171), hardship discharge (10 U.S.C. 1173), or for disability incurred in or aggravated in line of duty; or,
b. have a compensable service-connected disability;
c. entered on active duty after October 16, 1981, and had previously continous period of active duty of at least 24 months or had been discharged or released from that period of service under an early-out discharge (10 U.S.C 1171).
5.You were discharged or released from service under conditions other than dishonorable.
Survivors and Dependent Educational Assistance Program–Chapter 35
Eligibility requirements: basic eligibility for Chapter 35 Education Benefits may be established for the following categories of students:
Periods of Eligibility:
Child: generally, to attend school or take a job training under the Chapter 35 Program, a son or daughter must be between 18 and 26 years of age. In certain circumstances, it is possible to begin before age 18 and to continue after age 26.
Spouse or Surviving Spouse: educational benefit must be used within 10 years from the date eligibility is determined or from the date of death of spouse from whom eligibility is derived. In certain circumstances, this period may be extended if the spouse or surviving spouse was prevented from using some portion of his or her educational benefits because of a physical or mental disability. See Chapter 35, Title 38, Code of Federal Regulations.
Montgomery G.I. Bill
Selected Reserve Educational Assistance Program for National Guard or Reserve Units–Chapter 106
To apply, National Guard members or reservists must obtain DD form 2384 (Selected Reserve Educational Assistance Program: Notice of Basic Eligibility) from their National Guard or reserve unit. They will need to submit it with your application.
If you served on active duty during a time of war or conflict, and are admitted as an IN-STATE resident, you may be eligible for a waiver of tuition.
A tuition waiver relieves the benefactors from the responsibility for payment of tuition. The tuition waiver does not apply to other costs and fees, such as student activity fees, insurance fees, and laboratory fees. There are two main categories of tuition waivers:
National Guard Tuition Waiver
National Guard members, who have received a certificate of eligibility from the adjutant general, and have been admitted to the university as full-time students and who have registered for classes, can submit the certificate to the Veterans’ Affairs Office, first floor, Old Main, for a waiver of tuition.
Connecticut State Tuition Waiver
Public Act 78-175 and Public Act 74-266 authorized the Board of Trustees of the Connecticut State University System to waive the payment of tuition for veterans, or a dependent child * of a person classified as a prisoner of war or missing in action. The board also declares that qualified summer and part-time students (less than 12 credits) are entitled to a waiver of 50 percent of tuition cost.
* Dependent children: Must be a dependent child of a person whom the armed forces declared to be missing in action or to have been a prisoner of war while serving in the armed forces after January 1, 1960.
The following eligibility qualifications must be met for the tuition waiver:
1. Must have served in the armed forces on active duty continuously for 90 days between January 1, 1964 and July 1, 1975, or during a time of war.
-World War II: Dec. 7, 1941 to Dec. 31, 1946
-Korean hostilities: June 27, 1950 to Jan. 31, 1955
-Vietnam: Dec. 22, 1961 to July 1, 1975
-Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm: Aug. 2, 1990 to June 30, 1994
-Those engaged in combat or in a combat support role in:
• Peace-keeping mission in Lebanon: Sept. 29,1982 to March 30, 1984
• Grenada Invasion: Oct. 25, 1983 to Dec. 15, 1983
• Operation Earnest Will (Escort of Kuwaiti Oil Tankers): Feb. 1, 1987 to July 23, 1987
• Panama Invasion: Dec. 20, 1989 to Jan. 31, 1990
• Served 90 consecutive days of active duty service since August 2, 1990
2. Must have been released from active duty under honorable conditions.
3. Must be a resident of Connecticut at the time s/he is accepted by the university.
4. Must be matriculated.
Note: Eligibility to receive veterans’ affairs education benefits is not a determining factor in granting a tuition waiver. Time served in the military reserve or National Guard is NOT considered active duty.
Documents Required for Veterans’ Educational Benefits
1. WCSU Veteran’s Registration Form
2. Veteran’s Affairs Application for Benefits (either a 22-1990 for veterans, or a 22-5490 for dependents) and one or more of the following, as required:
a. Montgomery G.I. Bill (Chapter 30) candidates: Form DD-214.
b. Montgomery G.I. Bill (Chapter 106) candidates: Form DD-22384.
c. Transfer students must complete a VA form 22- 1995 (Change of Place or Program Form)
If you have any questions about veteran or selected reserve educational programs, contact the Veterans’ Affairs Office, Old Main 105 at (203) 837-8580.