Frequently Asked Questions
is financial aid?
Financial aid is funding for your college education that comes from
sources outside of your family. Gift aid and self-help aid are two categories
of financial aid. Gift aid comes in the form of grants and scholarships
and does not have to be repaid. Self-help comes in the form of loans
and employment. Financial aid at DWU is awarded to students based on
financial need. A student may have a combination of grants, loans, scholarships
and employment for a financial aid award.
- Where can I get information about federal
student financial aid?
Call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-4-FED-AID
(1-800-433-3243) or 1-800-730-8913 (if hearing impaired) and ask for
a free copy of "The Student Guide: Financial Aid from the US Department
of Education." This toll free hotline is run by the U.S. Department
of Education and can answer questions about federal and state student
aid programs and applications. You can also access more information
on the Department of Education’s Web site at College.gov.
- What is the FAFSA?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form used
to determine eligibility for federal and state student grants, work-study
and loans. The information on the FAFSA is used to determine the Estimated
Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is used by the school to determine
the student's financial aid award.
can I get a paper copy of the FAFSA?
Contact DWU Financial Aid Office at 605-995-2638 and a copy will either
be e-mailed or mailed to you. The Department of Education recommends,
if you are able, to complete the FAFSA online. Please see Applying
for Federal Aid to complete the FAFSA online.
- How often do I need to complete the FAFSA
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed
annually. A new application, either online or by paper, will be available
to students to complete as early as Jan. 1 of each year.
- Is there a fee for the FAFSA application
or for assistance in completing it?
There is no fee for the FAFSA application, or for assistance in completing
it. If an organization or individual charges a fee for the application
or assistance in completing it, notify the U.S. Department of Education
You can apply for the FAFSA free of charge by going online at www.fafsa.ed.gov
or contact the DWU Financial Aid Office
if you need a paper FAFSA. If you need assistance with the FAFSA please
contact the DWU Financial Aid Office or
the Department of Education.
is the difference between a priority date and a deadline?
A priority date refers to a date established by the school for the submission
of the FAFSA and/or other scholarship applications. If a student submits
the application after the priority date, this does not eliminate a student
from receiving an award; however, it does lessen your chance of receiving
certain types of aid and scholarships that have limited funding. Note:
meeting the priority date does not guarantee you will receive a scholarship
or certain types of aid since other criteria are taken into consideration.
To meet DWU’s FAFSA priority date, April 1, we recommend completing
your taxes early so you will have the necessary information to complete
A deadline is a date when something must be completed and failure to
complete the application by the deadline will eliminate a student’s
chance of receiving funding from that source.
- What is the application priority date
Current and new students who meet Dakota Wesleyan University (DWU) financial
aid priority deadline of April 1 and DWU's criteria, may qualify for
the Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant, Federal/Campus
Work-Study, and/or Federal Perkins. However, these funds are limited
so it is not guaranteed that a student who has met the university's
deadline and criteria will be awarded these funds.
Students who have completed and turned in all the necessary documents
to be accepted into the university and have completed and turned in
all the necessary documents to the financial aid office by the April
1 deadline, will be looked at by a first-come, first-serve basis.
not sure my family will have financial need. Should I complete the FAFSA?
Yes. Financial aid is intended both to remove financial barriers for
families who cannot afford the cost of an education beyond high school
and to fill in the gap for families who can afford only part of the
cost. Some loans and scholarships are available regardless of "need."
- What is the income threshold for a family
before financial aid is not offered to a student?
There is no income threshold for student aid eligibility. All of the
questions on the FAFSA are used to determine the Expected Family Contribution
which results in the financial aid award put together by the school.
A family may have too much income to be awarded a Pell Grant, but this
does not mean they will be eligible for other types of financial aid.
At a minimum, application for Federal Student Aid, via the FAFSA, will
result in eligibility in the Federal Stafford Loan program.
- My parents are separated or divorced.
Which parent fills out the FAFSA?
The parent you lived with most during the last 12 months. If you didn't
either parent, or if you lived with each parent an equal number of days,
use the parent who provided the most support to you during the last
12 months or during the most recent calendar year that you were actually
supported by a parent.
parents are divorced, and the parent I'm living with has remarried.
Does my stepparent have to report his or her income and assets on the
Yes, provided that the parent you're living with is the one filling
out the "parent" section of the FAFSA. If your parent marries
after you have submitted the FAFSA, you are not required to update the
step-parent information for this award year. The following award year
you would need to include his/her information.
- Why must I include my parent's income
on my FAFSA? I don't live my parents; my parent's don't contribute anything
to my education; they do not claim me on their income taxes.
Congress, in the law that governs the federal student aid programs,
defines when parental income information is required. Congress' intention
is to establish the primary responsibility for a student's education
is the student's and student's family for his/her undergraduate degree.
Even if you don't live with your parent, your parents don't contribute
money toward your education, or they don't claim you on their income
taxes, you are required to use their information unless:
--you'll be 24 years old during the school year
--you're an orphan or were a ward of the court until age 18
--you're a veteran
--you have a legal dependent other than your spouse
--you're a degree seeking graduate student
If you feel you have extenuating circumstances that prevent you from
being able to list your parents’ information on your FAFSA,
please contact the DWU Financial Aid Office
parents own a farm. Does this have to be included under assets?
Do not include a family farm if it is your family's principal place
of residence and your parents claimed on Schedule F of the tax return
that they "materially participated in the farm's operation."
If your parents do not work on this farm and lease this farm out to
some one else then it is considered an asset.
- Will I receive anything from the Department
of Education once I have submitted my FAFSA?
Very shortly after submitting the information to the Department of Education
processing center, they will send you a Student Aid Report (SAR). The
SAR is the analysis of the data you reported on the Free Application
for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Student Aid Report has your calculated
Expected Family Contribution (EFC) on it, and that number is used to
determine your eligibility for financial aid. Once you have received
the SAR, it is very important to review the information submitted.
The SAR will be sent to you electronically if you provided a current
and valid e-mail address on your FAFSA. A paper SAR will be mailed to
students that do not provide a valid e-mail address.
- How does the school that I am interested
in attending receive the information I submitted with my FAFSA?
Each school that qualifies for federal student aid is assigned a federal
school code by the Department of Education. In Step Five of the FAFSA
you will be able to add up to 10 school codes of the colleges or universities
that you are interested in attending. Each school that you have added
in Step Five will receive an electronic version of the Student Aid Report.
DWU's school code is 003461.
if my family has a special circumstance that will affect how much we
Per the Department of Education, if you and your family have unusual
circumstances that might affect your financial situation, complete and
submit the FAFSA and then notify the school's financial aid office.
In some cases, the school's financial aid office may decide to take
these unusual circumstances into account and adjust your cost of attendance
or the information used to calculate your Expected Family Contribution
(EFC). Provide the financial aid office with adequate documentation
to support any special circumstances.
Possible examples of unusual circumstances include:
• Tuition expenses at an elementary or secondary
• Unusual medical or dental expenses not covered
• A family member who recently became unemployed.
• Changes in income or assets that may affect
your eligibility for financial aid.
- What is the verification process and
if selected why do I need to complete the process?
Approximately one-third of students applying for federal aid are randomly
selected for the verification process, and must submit document(s) to
verify that certain information submitted on the FAFSA is accurate.
If you are selected, this does not mean you have made an error on the
The Financial Aid Staff at DWU will send you the verification form and
a letter listing the items that you will need to submit back to them
there any resources that a parent can receive to help pay for a student's
Yes! Parents may be interested in borrowing through a program called
Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS). This program allows
parents to borrow up to the cost of education less any other financial
aid the student has been offered. However, the parent must be credit
worthy and will be required to first complete the pre-approval process.
At DWU, we do not require that a student have a completed FAFSA for
a parent to apply for the PLUS loan.
- What happens if a parent is denied a
The parent applying for a Parent Loan for Undergraduate Student (PLUS)
can be denied for credit reasons. If that happens, the student is eligible
to borrow additional funds in the Stafford Loan program. Contact the
financial aid office if you have done a pre-approval for a PLUS loan
and have been denied. We will work with the student to get the additional
Stafford Loan for them.
- Will I continue to receive the DWU's
institutional scholarships that I was awarded when I was first admitted
to DWU throughout years at DWU?
You would keep the scholarships you received at DWU for a maximum of
10 semesters as long as you meet the criteria for each scholarship received.
is included in college costs?
Included are direct cost and the indirect cost. Direct cost is what
DWU posts to a student's bill such as tuition. Indirect cost can be
things like transportation and personal cost (toothpaste, shampoo, clothing,
etc.) that the student is not directly billed by DWU.
- Are graduate students eligible for
No. The Federal Pell Grant is funded only for financially eligible undergraduate
students as determined by the FAFSA and who have not completed a bachelor's
or professional degree.
- Will I receive Federal Work-Study
this year if I received it last year?
Unfortunately, there are no guaranteed federal student aid awards. Each
year students must complete the FAFSA and for certain federal aid the
FAFSA must be submitted by the school’s priority deadline. The
most current FAFSA results will determine which federal financial aid
programs students are eligible for. A student may or may not be awarded
is the difference between a subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford Loan?
If you are eligible for and take out a subsidized Stafford Loan, the
federal government will pay the interest for you while you are in school
and up to six months after you cease to be a student (at least half-time),
at which time you will need to begin repaying the loan.
If you are eligible for and take out an unsubsidized Stafford Loan,
you are responsible for all the interest that accumulates. You will
have the option of either paying the interest as it accumulates or capitalizing
the interest (adding it to the principal balance). If you choose to
pay the interest back as it accumulates you will pay less in interest
overall. Like a subsidized loan, you will have to begin payment six
months after you cease to be a student (at least half-time).
- How will financial aid credit the
If a student is registered for classes at DWU this is an automatic,
computerized process once he/she has completed the financial aid process.
All federal, state and DWU grants and scholarships listed on your award
letter will either be automatically credited to the student's charges
or applied manually by the business office around the first day of classes.
If you complete the financial aid process after school starts, the funds
will be applied automatically or manually throughout the term.
received my award letter and did not get enough money to pay my student
bill. Is there any additional funding available to help with the costs?
There are additional loans that can provide additional assistance for
A. The Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) program
is available for parents to borrow money. These loans are loans in the
parent's name and payments typically start while the student is in school.
Interest accrues while the student is in school and rates are set by
the government (never to exceed 9 percent).
B. There are also non-federal/alternative loans for the student to borrow
under. The student will typically need a credit worthy co-signer. Interest
accrues while the student is in school at a rate set by the bank (usually
prime + 0-6 percent). Payments are usually deferred until six months
after the student graduates.