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Financial Aid: A High-level Overview
Financial Aid Terminology
FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It is the form that families complete to apply for federal grants, loans, and work-study funds to help pay for educational costs. The FAFSA provides an EFC, or Expected Family Contribution, which is an index number that colleges use to determine how much financial aid a student is eligible to receive. The EFC factors in your family’s taxed and untaxed income, and benefits (such as unemployment or Social Security) from two years prior and current assets. We always encourage students to complete the FAFSA, you never know what funding could be available to assist you!
Scholarships are gift aid that is generally based on merit or talent. Scholarships do not need to be repaid. Look for terms renewable and non-renewable. Renewable means they can get the award each year, as long as they remain eligible. Non-renewable scholarships are a one-and-done award.
Grants are gift aid that is based on need, determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Grants do not need to be repaid.
Loans are contractual agreements that will require the money to be repaid plus interest. Unsubsidized student loans accrue interest while they are in school, which costs the students more. Subsidized student loans do not accrue interest as long as they are in school at least half time and other requirements. Students should carefully review estimated payments, loan deferment options, and other variables to better understand the long-term implications. For more information on loan repayment, visit studentaid.gov.
Work Study is a federal program that allows a student to earn money to pay for college through part-time employment. The student’s wages are partially paid through the government. Students must check the Work Study box on the FAFSA if they are interested in this option. If eligible, the student may search for available work-study jobs to find employment or contact Career Services.
Disbursement is the process of financial aid awards being deposited to student billing accounts.
Refunds are any excess financial aid that is distributed to the student upon the satisfactory completion of all requirements.
Financial Aid Timeline
Students can begin filing their FAFSA October 1 prior to the start of the academic year. For example, students began filing the 2020–21 FAFSA (based on taxes filed from 2018) for the 2020 Fall Semester in October of 2019. This allows them to apply and complete any additional requirements prior to the student’s bill being due to the university, which is generally a few weeks prior to the start of each term. It also allows students to determine how much it will cost to attend Wright State. If a student doesn’t file a FAFSA before they begin classes, they can always do so if the need arises as long as the academic year isn’t over and they are still enrolled and continue to be enrolled in classes. For example, if a student thinks they will be able to pay out of pocket for Fall 2020, and then an unexpected expense comes along in October 2020, the student can still complete the 2020-2021 FAFSA to be considered for aid.
Once a student files a FAFSA, the Department of Education can require Wright State to collect additional documentation to determine the student’s eligibility for financial aid. The Office of Financial Aid begins notifying students mid-November, prior to the start of the academic year of any additional information needed. We do this by sending an email to the student’s Wright State email account, or for new students their Admissions Portal email. Students must check WINGS Express for a list of their outstanding requirements.
Once all outstanding requirements are complete, the Office of Financial Aid begins preparing award notices for students in February prior to the start of the academic year. This is because the Department of Education is required to release their Federal Pell and Campus Based Aid amounts by February 1.
We also have deadlines for our direct-from-high-school performance scholarships and the online competitive scholarship application through the foundation. There is also a FAFSA priority filing date to be considered for campus-based aid. These dates are listed on our important dates page.
Preparing for Fall Semester: Wright1 Card Deposit
Students can deposit excess loan monies on their Wright1 Card FA Flex account by going to WINGS Express and selecting the Student and Financial Aid tab, Wright1 Card and Meal Plan Services, Wright1 FA Flex Deposit Using Financial Aid. If this option is not available, deposits from financial aid can be made at RaiderConnect if your account qualifies.
First Day of the Semester
Financial aid disbursement takes place on the first day of the term. Disbursement is the process of your awarded financial aid being applied to your student account.
End of the First Week of Classes
Students with a credit balance (a negative sign before the Amount Due under Current Account Status, e.g., -$15.00) will have a refund issued if all eligibility criteria are met. The Office of the Bursar begins processing refunds two business days after financial aid is disbursed to the student account. Generally, refunds from excess financial aid are sent by direct deposit or a check is mailed to the student by the end of the second week of classes.
Dates and processes may vary due to extenuating circumstances, holidays, or other observances. Contact RaiderConnect or consult the following helpful links for current information:
PDF Brochures for the Web or Email? A Better Alternative
As our Wright State campus partners’ marketing budgets shrink, many are opting to communicate with prospective students and others through electronic means, often by email. While visually attractive emails are not impossible to build, there are some practical limitations to this channel.
Some clients attempt to overcome this issue by developing print brochures, then posting them online or emailing them. The logic is that the brochures are prettier; so, when the recipient prints them out, they will be holding something very impressive in their hands.
In a perfect world (and with perfect printers), yes. But there are some realities we discuss with campus partners. The first reality is that there are better options.
One of these better options includes placing your content on a new web page or renovating your current website. There are several advantages to doing this over designing a brochure to place on the web or email:
- Content can be updated quickly without needing to redesign the brochure (a much slower process). Details and other content can change pretty quickly these days.
- The reader can find the information they want more quickly on a web page than by downloading a brochure, printing a brochure, then hunting through that document for the information they need.
- Web pages can look nice! The Office of Marketing web team is exceptional at organizing content, photos, and graphics in a cohesive and visually pleasing way.
- Web page content is easier for search engines to find than PDF content
- PDFs are more challenging to read on mobile devices because they do not readily adapt to screen width.
- PDFs are not readily accessible to readers with visual impairments.
- PDF email attachments may never be opened due to the reader’s reluctance to download. Some email attachments can harbor computer viruses.
- PDF email attachments can trigger spam filters, so your email may never arrive in the reader’s inbox.
The Office of Marketing can help make your existing web pages look nice without building a problematic PDF document. Our quick facts page is one example. Please consider letting us help you communicate effectively and professionally.