Evaluating Need

Evaluating Need

Financing a WAU education is a critical aspect in determining your ability to attend our University. At WAU, we are committed to assisting families with making the most of their financial aid dollars. Student Financial Aid treats families equitably while maintaining flexibility in recognizing unusual situations. Each financial aid application is given a personal review by experienced staff in the Office of Student Financial Aid. In addition to submitting the required documentation, you are welcome to include any information you believe will help understand your family’s financial circumstances.

The following factors are used in determining your eligibility for need-based assistance:

  • Cost of Attendance

The cost of attendance is determined by WAU and is an estimate of the educational and miscellaneous expenses a student will occur during the nine-month academic year. An educational expense budget is calculated for each financial aid applicant. These expenses include direct costs such as tuition, fees, room, and board, as well as indirect costs, which are standard allowances for books, supplies, personal expenses, and transportation.

  • Expected Family Contribution

WAU uses the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as the primary determinant in calculating the family contribution. The Office of Student Financial Aid evaluates each student’s application using federal and institutional methodologies to assess the family’s financial resources. During the review, attention is given to individual family circumstances. Based on this information, a determination is made as to what the family could expect to contribute toward the student’s annual educational expenses following the appropriate federal and University policies.

  • Financial Need

Demonstrated financial need of each student is the difference between the cost of attendance and the calculated family contribution. The calculated need determines the student’s eligibility for financial assistance.

  • Financial Aid Award Calculation

Eligibility for government grants is determined by the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) calculation from the FAFSA. Campus-based federal funds are awarded on a first-come-first-serve basis until the funds have been depleted. Additional need-based institutional aid is awarded if a need still exists after all gift aid has been awarded. The student is sent notification of the aid offer in the form of an offer letter.

The financial aid offer may include one or a combination of the following assistance: grants or scholarships from federal or institutional funds, and federal loans.

  • Verification

Verification is a process the Department of Education requires of Financial Aid offices to review select data elements on the FAFSA. The WAU Financial Advisors compare the FAFSA with the information provided in the required verification documents. If a discrepancy is found, WAU updates the FAFSA and sends a corrected FAFSA to the Central Processing System (CPS) for reprocessing. Financial aid awards will be recalculated using the corrected EFC from the updated FAFSA. A new offer letter will be sent to the student with the adjusted financial aid awards.

Any student selected for verification is required to submit the appropriate documentation to WAU’s Student Financial Aid office. Student Financial Aid will send a written communication to the student listing the data elements and documents needed to complete the verification process.

If you are selected for verification, you cannot receive any federal and need-based aid until the verification process is completed.

  • IRS Tax Return Transcripts (parent and student, if applicable)
  • W-2s for each person who worked, including the student
  • Verification Worksheet (dependent or independent)
  • Proof of High School Diploma (if selected)
  • Proof of Education Intent and Identity (if selected)
  • Additional items as determined by the Student Financial Aid Office



For more information about financial aid at WAU, email finaid@wau.edu, or call 301.891.4005 or 1-800-835-4212 to speak to a Financial Aid Advisor.

Student Financial Aid

Washington Adventist University
7600 Flower Avenue, Suite 351
Takoma Park, MD 20912
Email: finaid@wau.edu
Phone: 301-891-4005
Toll-Free: 800-835-4212
General Fax: 301-560-5364