Rights and Responsibilities

As a student you have the right to:

  • know what financial assistance is available to you, including all federal, state, and institutional financial aid programs.
  • know the deadlines for submitting applications for applicable financial aid programs and the process required.
  • know how your financial need is determined, including how cost of attendance budgets are developed.
  • know what resources are considered in the calculation of your financial need, and how much of your need as determined by WAU has been met.
  • an explanation of the types of aid contained in your financial aid award as well as how to retain eligibility for those funds (if applicable).
  • request a review of your current financial situation if you meet certain criteria based on changes since filing the current aid year FAFSA application.
  • know what portion of your aid package is grant or gift aid, and what portion must be repaid. In addition, you have the right to know interest rates, total amount to be repaid, procedures for repayment, when repayment begins, and how long you have to repay the loan.
  • know the criteria for continued financial aid eligibility, including guidelines for the determination of Satisfactory Academic Progress as defined by the Department of Education.
  • know the method and frequency of financial aid disbursements.

As a student you have the responsibility to:

  • be aware of your ability to pay any institutional charges based on your available financial aid and personal resources.
  • review and understand the terms and conditions of your financial aid award.
  • complete all requirements accurately, in a timely manner, and by the appropriate deadlines.
  • inform us if you intend to enroll less than full time for any given term so that your aid can be properly adjusted and disbursed.
  • inform us of any outside scholarships, subsidies, or additional resources that you receive.
  • fill out the FAFSA application completely and accurately. If selected for verification you will provide all requested documents in a timely manner, and ensure that all submitted materials are complete and accurate. Falsification of information on application forms for federal financial assistance is considered a criminal offense, and you may be subject to penalties under the U.S. Criminal Code.
  • read and understand all forms that you are asked to submit or sign, realizing that you are legally responsible for all agreements that you sign.
  • know and comply with all policies and procedures of Washington Adventist University.
  • manage your financial aid experience.

Evaluating Need

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

The following factors are used in determining a student’s eligibility for need-based assistance.

Determining the Cost of Attendance

The cost of attendance is determined by the University 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.

Calculating the Expected Family Contribution

WAU uses the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) as the main determinants in calculating the family contribution. The Office of Student Financial Services 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 is Determined

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.

Calculating a Financial Aid Award

Eligibility for government grants is determined by the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) calculation from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (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 award letter.

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

Verification Process

Verification is a process that the Department of Education requires of Financial Aid offices to review select data elements on the FAFSA.  The WAU Student Financial Services' Financial Advisors compares the FAFSA with the information provided in the required verification documents.  If a descrepancy is found, WAU updates the FAFSA and sends a corrected FAFSA to CPS for reprocessing.  Financial aid awards will be recaculated using the corrected EFC from the updated FAFSA and a new award 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 Services office.  WAU will send 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 of your federal and need-based aid until the verification process is completed.

Documents Needed for Verification

  •  IRS Tax Return Transcripts (parent and student, if applicable)
  •  Verification Worksheet (dependent or independent)
  •  Proof of High School Diploma (if selected)
  •  Proof of Education Intent and Identity
  •  Proof of Child Support Paid
  •  Proof of SNAP benefits received

Title IV Refund Policy

The Financial Aid Office is required by federal statute to recalculate federal financial aid eligibility for students who withdraw, drop out, are dismissed, or take a leave of absence prior to completing 60% of a payment period or term. The federal Title IV financial aid programs must be recalculated in these situations.

If a student leaves the institution prior to completing 60% of a payment period or term, the financial aid office recalculates eligibility for Title IV funds. Recalculation is based on the percentage of earned aid using the following Federal Return of Title IV funds formula:

Percentage of payment period or term completed = the number of days completed up to the withdrawal date divided by the total days in the payment period or term. (Any break of five days or more is not counted as part of the days in the term.) This percentage is also the percentage of earned aid.

Unofficial Withdrawals

If a student does not officially withdraw from all classes but fails to earn a passing grade in at least one course, federal aid regulations require that we assume the student has “unofficially withdrawn,” unless it can be documented that the student completed the enrollment period. Unofficial withdrawals require a Title IV refund calculation at the midpoint of the enrolment period. The reduction of federal aid will create a balance due to the university that must be repaid.

Title IV Refund Process

Funds are returned to the appropriate federal program based on the percentage of unearned aid using the following formula:

Aid to be returned = (100% of the aid that could be disbursed minus the percentage of earned aid) multiplied by the total amount of aid that could have been disbursed during the payment period or term.

If a student earned less aid than was disbursed, the institution would be required to return a portion of the funds and the student would be required to return a portion of the funds. Keep in mind that when Title IV funds are returned, the student borrower may owe a debit balance to the institution.

If a student earned more aid than was disbursed to him/her, the institution would owe the student a post-withdrawal disbursement which must be paid within 120 days of the student's withdrawal.

The institution must return the amount of Title IV funds for which it is responsible no later than 45 days after the date of the determination of the date of the student’s withdrawal.

Refunds are allocated in the following order:

  • Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  • Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  • Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loans (other than PLUS loans
  • Subsidized Direct Stafford Loans
  • Federal Perkins Loans
  • Federal Parent (PLUS) Loans
  • Direct PLUS Loans
  • Federal Pell Grants for which a Return of funds is required
  • Federal Supplemental Opportunity Grants for which a Return of funds is required
  • Other assistance under this Title for which a Return of funds is required (e.g., LEAP)



Terms and Definitions

Applying for and receiving financial aid will involve learning terms and definitions with which you may not be familiar. Below is a list of definitions that may help you through the process:


Cost of Attendance

Cost of attendance is the total cost of attending WAU for one year. The cost includes tuition, fees, room and board, books and supplies, and personal and transportation expenses. Your financial need is determined by subtracting your estimated family contribution (EFC) from the cost of attendance.

Estimated Award

An estimated award is based on the income estimates entered on the FAFSA. In order to confirm an estimated award, the Office of Student Financial Services reviews you and your parents’ tax returns and W-2s to determine if the estimates were correct. If your family’s actual income is different from your estimates, or if you made mistakes on the FAFSA, your need will differ and the estimated award will be revised.

Estimated Family Contribution

Your estimated family contribution (EFC) is the amount of money your family is estimated to be able to contribute to your college costs. The cost of attendance minus your EFC equals your financial need.

Federal Aid

Students who demonstrate need may qualify for one or more types of federal financial assistance through Washington Adventist University, including:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)
  • College Work-Study Program
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Federal Direct Stafford Loan

Financial Aid Award

Once your eligibility for need-based assistance has been determined, you will be considered for all of the types of aid for which you qualify. You may be offered a financial aid award. Your need-based package may include one or more components including: gift aid in the form of scholarships or grants and self-help aid in the form of education loans or work-study funds. Your academic record, the extent of your need and the timeliness with which you complete your financial aid forms and application are all factors that determine the kinds and amounts of aid in your particular package.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a federal form administered by the U.S. Department of Education. Information you submit on the form is used to determine your estimated family contribution (EFC) or the amount of money your family should be able to put towards your education. The FAFSA is the application form for all federal financial aid awards such as Pell Grants, loans and work-study.  Their website is www.fafsa.ed.gov.


Grants are a form of gift aid or money that does not need to be paid back. Grants can be awarded either through federal funds or University funds. Your eligibility for grants is determined by your financial need.

Institutional Aid

Students who demonstrate financial need may qualify for one or more types of need-based institutional aid through the University, including scholarships and grants.

Students who demonstrate academic excellence may qualify for merit-based institutional awards through the University. (Note: Merit awards are counted in our calculation of a family's financial need.)


Loans are the portion of your financial aid award that needs to be paid back. The University awards federal loans as part of the financial aid award; however you or your parents may be eligible for additional loans depending on creditworthiness.

Merit Aid

Merit aid is awarded solely on the basis of academic achievement. The Office of Admissions grants merit aid (or merit scholarships) during the application review process. Awards are based on high school achievement and  test scores. This aid is not dependent on financial need; however, receipt of merit awards will decrease your family’s financial need, not your estimated family contribution.

Need-Based Aid

Need-based aid is awarded on the basis of financial need as determined by information collected through the FAFSA. Need-based aid may include a combination of federal and institutional scholarships, grants, loans and work-study awards.

Room and Board

Room and board refers to the cost of housing and food on campus for one year. This cost may vary depending on your choice of room selection.


Scholarships are a form of gift aid or money that does not need to be paid back. Scholarships are awarded by WAU through University funds. Eligibility for these awards is determined by your academic achievement, financial need or a combination of both, depending on the award.