Office of Student Financial Services


Western Connecticut State University offers financial aid to help qualified students meet their educational expenses. The staff of the Office of Student Financial Services 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
Download the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), available online at www.fafsa.ed.gov, and complete according to instructions. The university’s code, 001380, is required. Please be sure to obtain a PIN (personal identification number) for yourself and your parent (if you are a dependent student) prior to completing the online form. The PIN Web site is www.pin.ed.gov.

Important Deadlines
A. The document resulting from the 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 for 2008-2009 or March 15 for 2009-2010. The applicant should allow four weeks for processing 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 Office of Student Financial Services by April 30 for 2008-2009 or April 15 for 2009-2010 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 Office of Student Financial Services, Old Main 105.
–– 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 Office of Student Financial Services, Old Main 105.
–– 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 Office of Student Financial Services, Old Main 105.
–– A verification worksheet must be completed; please contact the Office of Student Financial Services for more information on this.

Returning Applicants
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 a completed FAFSA that is 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 SAR by March 30 for 2008 – 2009 or March 15 for 2009 - 2010. 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 by the required dates.

Scholarships

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, go to www.wcsu.edu/scholarships.

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 FAFSA as outlined (See “First-Time Applicants & Transfer Students”). Be 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.

GRANTS                                                                                                                                    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.

Educational Loans

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 types of loans available under the FFEL program, as well as loan limits.

Subsidized Student Loan

Eligibility
• Student must be a citizen or permanent resident.
• Must have a complete financial aid file in the Financial Aid Office.
• Loan is awarded on the basis of financial need.

Advantages
• Low interest rate.
• No interest accrues while in school and in grace period.
• Six-month grace period upon graduation or termination before repayment begins.

Cost/Rates: Annual fixed rate of 6 % for all loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2008.

Unsubsidized Student Loan

Note: This is an unsubsidized loan. Interest accrues while in school and in grace period.

Eligibility
The Supplemental Loan for Students program has been incorporated into the Unsubsidized Student Loan Program.

Who is eligible?
• Borrowers who do not qualify for Subsidized Stafford Loans and those who do qualify for Subsidized Stafford Loans but have not reached the established Stafford Loan limit.
• Students who have a complete financial aid file in the Office of Student Financial Services.

Advantages
• Low interest rate
• Non-need based loan
• Six-month grace period upon graduation or termination before principle repayment begins.

Cost/Rates: Annual fixed rate of 6.8 % for all loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2008.

Borrowing Limits for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Student Loans

Loan limits are determined by a student’s status or the number of completed credit hours s/he has:

First year student                               (0-29 credit hours completed)
Second year student                          (30-59 credit hours completed)
Other undergraduate                          (60+ credit hours completed)
Graduate and professional                 (undergraduate degree requirements completed)

Loan limits are as follows:
For DEPENDENT students
$ 5,500 First year                               ($3,500 of this amount may be subsidized)
$ 6,500 Second year                          ($4,500 of this amount may be subsidized)
$ 7,500 Other undergraduate             ($5,500 of this amount may be subsidized)
$ 20,500 Graduate and professional  ($8,500 of this amount may be subsidized)

For INDEPENDENT students:
$ 9,500 First year                               ($3,500 of this amount may be subsidized)
$ 10,500 Second year                        ($4,500 of this amount may be subsidized)
$ 12,500 Other undergraduate           ($5,500 of this amount may be subsidized)
$ 20,500 Graduate and professional  ($8,500 of this amount may be subsidized)

Aggregate Limits For FFEL Loans
• $31,000 as a dependent undergraduate student
• $57,500 as an independent undergraduate student ($23,000 of this amount may be in subsidized loans)
• $138,500 as a graduate or professional student ($65,500 of this amount may be in subsidized loans)

Plus Loan:

Eligibility

• Parents of dependent undergraduate students
• minimal credit check is required

Loan Limits
Cost of attendance per student minus other aid

Aggregate Limits
Cost of attendance per student minus other aid

Advantages
• Low interest rate
• Minimal credit check
• High balance loan program
• Repayment term: up to 10 years
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.

Loan Repayment
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.

Deferments
During deferment periods, payment of principal will be postponed. Deferments may be granted for:
• at least half-time study at a post-secondary institution;
• study in an approved graduate fellowship program or in a rehabilitation training program for the disabled;
• unemployment (up to three years) and;
• economic hardship (up to three years).

Bankruptcy
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/Veterans’ 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 and 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 or 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 with which a student begins a semester. For instance, if you register for nine credits, withdraw from a three-credit course and pass only six credits, you have not maintained
satisfactory academic progress. You must pass all nine-credits. 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.

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 Office of Student Financial Services 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, Office of Student Financial Services, Old Main 105, 181 White Street, Danbury CT 06810. E-mail us at wcsufinancialaid@wcsu.edu. Reach us on the web at www.wcsu.edu. As a WestConn student, you may now access your individual financial aid information via WestConn’s student information server, WestConnduit. Go to www.wcsu.edu and under Quick Links, choose WestConnduit. There you can view 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 to date.

Student Employment

Student employment is an integral part of university life for many students. Student labor benefits the university 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 Office of Student Financial Services.

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 Office of Student Financial Services.

Veterans

The Office of Student Financial Services assists veterans and National Guard in certifying educational benefits. Our office is located in Old Main 105 on the Midtown campus. The office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Any student who would like information about benefits earned through the armed services should report to Veterans Affairs/Office of Student Financial Services.

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.


To explore available benefit programs, please go to:
www.gibill.va.gov/GI_Bill_Info/benefits.htm.


Tuition Waivers

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 Office of Student Financial Services, Old Main 105, 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 (registered for 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.

To be eligible for this tuition waiver at Western Connecticut State University, a veteran must:
• Be honorably discharged or released under honorable
conditions from active service in the U.S. Armed Forces (U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard). National Guard members, activated under Title 10 of the United States Code, are also included.
• Have served at least 90 days active duty in time of war (see Periods of Service) except if separated from service earlier because of a federal Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) rated service connected disability; or the war, campaign or operation lasted less than 90 days and service was for the duration.
• Be accepted for admission at Western Connecticut State University.
• Reside in Connecticut at time of acceptance.

Periods of Service
Only those who served in the following manner may qualify:
• Active duty for at least 90 days during:
World War II –– December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946
Korean Conflict –– June 27, 1950 to January 31, 1955
Vietnam Era –– February 28, 1961 to July 1, 1975
Persian Gulf War –– August 2, 1990 until an ending date prescribed by presidential proclamation or by law (no end date at this time). All military war service
subsequent to August 2, 1990 is covered, including but not limited to, Enduring Freedom, Noble Eagle, Iraqi Freedom, Somalia and Bosnia.

• Engaged in combat or in a combat-support role in:
Lebanon – July 1, 1958 to November 1, 1958 or September 29, 1982 to March 30, 1984
Grenada – October 25, 1983 to December 15, 1983
Operation Earnest Will – February 1, 1987 to July 23, 1987 (escort of Kuwaiti oil tankers flying U.S. Flag in the Persian Gulf)
Panama – December 20, 1989 to January 31, 1990
Reservists must be mobilized in time of war for other than training purposes.

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 Office of Student Financial Services, Old Main 105, or call (203) 837-8840.


Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC)

Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) is currently not being offered at Western Connecticut State University. Students interested in pursuing an ROTC program should contact the ROTC office at Sacred Heart University at (203)-365-7564.


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