FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid

The Key to Financial Aid

Applications filed by the priority date will receive first consideration. The earlier you file your FAFSA, the more options are available for aid. If you miss the priority deadline, you can still apply; some form of aid is usually available no matter when you file the FAFSA.

2024-2025 FAFSA

Opens: by December, 31 2023 (exact date to be determined)

Priority Deadline -extended-: February 28, 2024

For the 2024-2025 aid year, complete the FAFSA as soon as you can once it opens.

WWU's FAFSA priority filing deadline is extended to February 28, 2024.

Meeting the priority filing deadline best ensures eligibility for some types of financial aid that may not be available to those who file a FAFSA after the deadline.

Due to FAFSA Simplification, the 2024-2025 FAFSA will have significant changes in terminology and there are many important changes that may impact student eligibility.

To accommodate these updates, the 2024-2025 FAFSA will be open by December 31, 2023.

FAFSA Priority Filing Deadline

Financial aid applicants must submit their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by January 31 of each year to best ensure their eligibility for financial aid in the upcoming academic year. While several factors determine eligibility for financial aid, meeting Western’s January 31 priority filing deadline is one factor that students and their families can impact.

The 2024-2025 Priority Deadline is extended to February 28, 2024 to accommodate the late opening of the FAFSA.

Tips for Completing the FAFSA

Western’s School code for the FAFSA: When completing the FAFSA, be sure to select Western Washington University, school code 003802, as an authorized school to receive your FAFSA information.

Filing a FAFSA: Begin the process by Creating an FSA (Federal Student Aid) ID. For a dependent student, both the student and parent(s) must obtain an FSA Id to electronically sign the FAFSA and consent to releasing information regarding taxes.

File the FAFSA online after it opens (typically after October 1) and before the Priority Filing Deadline if possible. Note that the 2024-2025 FAFSA will not be opening until December 2023.

Fill Out the FAFSA

Tips to avoid frequent FAFSA errors

  1. The FAFSA is free! When filling out your FAFSA, be careful to navigate to the U.S. Department of Education's website rather than a for-profit organization that may charge a fee to fill out the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA).
  2. Read the directions carefully. Detailed instructions are provided for most questions within the FAFSA and frequently asked questions are answered at studentaid.gov. If you are unsure about how to answer a specific question, contact Studentaid.gov at 800-433-3243, or our office for clarification.
  3. Round off all figures to the nearest dollar. Ensure you are not entering values including decimals.
  4. If unable to use the online tools to transfer tax information, provide income information directly from your federal tax return including Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and income tax figures and wages using W2s.
  5. Beginning with the 2024-2025 FAFSA, all contributors with a valid Social Security Number (SSN) or Tax Identification Number (ITIN), regardless of tax filing status, who are required to consent to their information being shared on the FAFSA, must use the IRS Direct Data Exchange (IRS DDX).
  6. For students with divorced/separated or remarried parents include the following as the parent of record:
    1. If filing the 2023-2024 FAFSA, the student should report the information of the parent(s) they lived with OR from whom they received the most financial support the 12 months prior to filing the FAFSA.
    2. If filing the 2024-2025 FAFSA, the student should report the information for the parent(s) they received the most financial support from the 12 months prior to filing the FAFSA.
    3. If a student’s parent is remarried, financial information for the stepparent is also required.
  7. Tax filing and filing the FAFSA are two different processes. Although students may live independently and/or file their own taxes, this does not mean they are considered independent students for FASFA purposes. Answers to the status questions on the FAFSA determine whether a student is considered an independent or dependent student. A list of the questions is available at studentaid.gov. If a student is able to answer “YES” to one or more of the dependency related questions they may be considered an independent student for FAFSA filing purposes. In some situations, additional documentation is required to confirm this status. If a student is not able to answer “YES” to any of these questions, they would generally be considered a dependent student and must include parent data. If you have extenuating circumstances that you believe should be considered which would allow you to file your FAFSA without parent data, review the information on the Dependency Override page of the Financial Aid Department website and contact our department accordingly thereafter.
  8. When reporting household size. if you are a dependent student for FAFSA purposes, include yourself, your parent(s), and your parents’ other children if they receive more than half of their support from your parent(s). If you are an independent student, your household size includes yourself, your spouse, and any children who receive more than half of their support from you (and your spouse, if married).

Other Important Tips

  1. Use the Financial Aid Checklist to help navigate through the steps and consider important dates associated with the financial aid process.
  2. Complete a WWU Admissions Application. Contact the Admissions Office at 360-650-3440 or on the Admissions website for additional information.
  3. Monitor your financial aid and scholarship status and any financial aid requirements by accessing Web4U, the student portal.
  4. Turn in any required documentation as quickly as possible once requested. This helps ensure updates in eligibility in a timely manner. Many files are selected for federal verification which requires supplemental documentation to be submitted to the Financial Aid Department to ensure the accuracy of the original FAFSA submission. Often these changes can affect a student’s aid offer!
  5. Review the Financial Aid Offer provided to you by the Financial Aid Department. Follow the instructions provided to accept the offer of financial aid.
  6. Maintain a personal financial aid file for your records and keep copies of all documents.
  7. Keep your contact information current by submitting changes online in Web4U (the student portal).
  8. Be prepared to begin attendance at WWU with some of your own funds even if you expect to receive financial aid.