FAFSA Application Tips
- Priority deadline is February 1
- Funds are limited and are awarded on a first come, first serve basis
- Apply for aid every year
- Complete the tax form information using actual figures
- Keep a copy of all documents
- Ask questions
- Request official copies of all prior tax-return transcripts
Receiving Financial Aid
You must be one of the following:
|U.S. citizen||U.S. national||U.S. permanent resident (I-151, I-551 or I-551C)|
If you’re not in one of these categories, you must have an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) showing one of the following designations to be eligible:
|Refugee||Asylum Granted||Indefinite Parole and/or Humanitarian Parole|
|Cuban-Haitian Entrant, Status Pending||Conditional Entrant|
Additional Information & Resources
Undergraduate (no previous bachelor's degree) students may apply for:
- Federal Pell Grant
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
- Direct Stafford Loan (Subsidized and Unsubsidized)
- Parent PLUS Loan
- Federal Work Study
- Webster University Grant
- Webster University Student Employment
- Missouri Student Grant State aid programs
Graduate/professional students, as well as undergraduates with a prior bachelor's degree, may apply for:
- Direct Stafford Loan
- Graduate PLUS
Often a student or parent will find that the information required on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid does not realistically reflect their circumstances or their ability to provide the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). When this happens, a student may choose to submit an appeal to the Financial Aid Office in St. Louis requesting their situation be reviewed by first sending an email
Appeals may be one of two types. In the first and most common type of appeal the student provides additional information that will assist in determining the student's eligibility for aid. The office should be notified in writing of changes in financial circumstances resulting from one or more of the following conditions:
- Divorce or separation.
- Death of a family member.
- Loss of employment or significant reduction in income or benefits.
- Other unusual expenses or circumstances.
The second type of appeal is called a dependency appeal. This appeal is for a student who feels that they should be considered independent from their parent(s) for student aid purposes, even though they do not meet any of the automatic independent criteria as outlined in the FAFSA. Dependency appeals may be submitted only if you are in danger of abuse, either physical or mental, from your parent(s), or you have been abandoned by them (supporting documentation is required).
A variety of documentation is required for a dependency appeal. Please contact your counselor for clarification on required documentation. Approval of a dependency appeal does NOT guarantee that status in future years. Dependency appeals must be re-certified EVERY YEAR. You should submit a complete dependency appeal with a completed FAFSA or Renewal Application directly to the Financial Aid Office in St. Louis. Your appeal may be reviewed by a committee of administrators. Additional documentation may be required to substantiate your appeal.
As you can see, there are various situations that might call for an appeal of either your Expected Family Contribution or dependency status. Our mission is to provide funds to the best of our ability to students who truly need financial assistance to attend college. Often, we cannot do that unless we are fully aware of unusual circumstances that may exist. If you have any questions about whether a particular situation might qualify, you should discuss it with your counselor.
Most mistakes are made because students and/or parents either don't follow or don't understand the application instructions. While few errors will cause you to have to start all over, most errors will significantly delay the processing of either your FAFSA at the federal level, your award at the college level, or both.Please read the instructions that accompany the application. Then, if you are not clear on a question, take the time to call either your school or the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED AID (1-800-433-3243).
Common Application Errors (Continued)
- Be sure your Social Security number is accurate and written clearly on the form. The processing center and University use this number to drive the application process; an error here can cause serious delays.
- If you have not completed your first bachelor's degree by July 1 then this question on the Free Application for Federal Student Aidshould be answered with a "no." Read this carefully.
- Mark your appropriate enrollment status. Full-time equals at least 12 credit hours in a semester or at least six credit hours in an eight-week term (at least nine credit hours in a semester or at least five credit hours in a nine-week term for graduate and professional students); three-quarters time equals at least nine to 11 credit hours in a semester; half-time equals at least six credit hours in a semester or at least three credit hours in an eight-week term (at least five credit hours in a semester or at least three credit hours in a nine-week term for graduate and professional students).
- You should enter any Veterans educational benefits that you will receive during the academic year. This includes reservists, national guardsmen, previous active duty, and dependents of Veterans. This information can affect your aid eligibility if not reported correctly.
- If you are a dependent student list the marital status of the parent that you live with. This means if your biological parents are divorced and you live with your mother who has remarried then her status is "married." Given this same scenario, when completing the income information both the mother's income and her husband's must be listed on the application.
- The number of people that you list as being part of your household should be people who are being supported by that household.
- All income information needs to be completed. If the income is not applicable to you place a zero in the appropriate space. A blank may cause a delay in processing.
- Do not leave any of these questions blank. A zero indicates none or not applicable. A blank indicates you skipped the question to check a figure and didn't come back to it. Many people who think they do not have to complete this section cause their aid to be delayed when we have to request it. If you complete the section but were not required to, the information will not be used in the calculation.
- We base your cost of attendance on your housing code. If you do not complete this question, we may assume a cost less than what you may be eligible to receive.
- Webster University's Title IV Code is 002521.
- If you wish your counselor to be able to discuss your financial aid with your parent or spouse, then we must have a written release to that effect signed by you for that award year noted on the Webster University application. There are no exceptions.
- Last, but certainly not least, please be sure you electronically "sign" your FAFSA. If you are a dependent student, or if your parents' information was required, then at least one parent must also "sign.”
Frequently Asked Questions
The priority deadline to have your application complete for maximum consideration is February 1st of each year for the following academic year.
There is a special condition form that can be completed to update us with your current situation through the appeal process.
Dependency status is determined by the thirteen dependency questions on the FAFSA. If you do not meet any of those but feel that you should be considered an independent student, you may click here for additional appeal information.
FERPA prohibits us from discussing any of your specific financial matters with anyone without your written permission. Please complete the Release of Information section of the Webster University Financial Aid Application with all appropriate names. An email notification will be sent to your Webster email when your financial aid offer letter is ready to be reviewed.
The majority of the scholarships available are either based on your admissions application, your major’s department or from an outside source.
You should not submit tax forms unless we specifically ask for them.
This means our University must verify the information on any SAR selected for verification by the U.S. Department of Education. You should submit the verification worksheet, federal tax return transcript and any additional documentation to our office.
Due to the large number of applications that we receive, it may take 1-2 weeks from the time your file is complete to the time it is awarded. If you haven't heard anything from us after that time, you should check in with us to make sure that we have everything we need.
Useful documents include your tax returns from two years prior, as well as your parents' return if dependent, or your spouse's if applicable.
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