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Understanding the Different Types of Aid

Federal Direct Loan Program:

Loan eligibility and amounts are based on class level, dependency status, Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as determined by the FAFSA, and require at least half time attendance. Loans are borrowed money and must be repaid with interest. The Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans have an origination fee and a six-month grace period that begins when a student leaves school or drops below half time. Repayment begins at the end of the six month grace period.

Loan Processing requirements: First time Direct Loan borrowers need to learn about their rights and responsibilities as borrowers, and must complete the Entrance Counseling process. Borrowers must also complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN). A signed MPN and entrance counseling are required prior to funds disbursement.

A Department of Education FSA ID is required to fully access both of these sites and for completing the FAFSA. FSA IDs can be requested online and are good for life. In most cases, you will only need to complete an MPN once during your academic career.

Subsidized Direct Loan: This is a need based loan for undergraduate students with a fixed interest rate of 4.45% adjusted annually. The federal government pays the interest while the student is enrolled at least half-time.

150% Rule: Subsidized Direct Loan borrowers who borrow for the first time on or after July 1,2013 lose the loan subsidy after they have attended beyond 150% of the published length of their academic program. Any subsequent Direct Loans will be in the form of the Unsubsidized Direct Loan up to students' aggregate Direct Loan limits.

Unsubsidized Direct Loan: Interest accrues with the first disbursement. Students will be billed for the accrued interest while in school and during the six-month grace period. The interest rate is 4.45% for undergraduate students, and 6% for graduate students. Only the principal amount of the loan is deferred until after the grace period. If the student chooses not to pay the accrued interest while in school, it will be added to the principal of the loan at the time of repayment. The Unsubsidized Direct Loan is not based on financial need.

Direct PLUS (Parent and Graduate Students): This loan has a fixed interest rate of 7%, and a 4.264% loan origination fee (10/1/2017), and is awarded to the parents of dependent students and to graduate students regardless of need. Borrowers must complete a PLUS Application, pass a credit check, and complete the Master Promissory Note (MPN). Graduate students must complete the entrance counseling process. Plus loans go into repayment 60 days after the last disbursement, but can be deferred with continuous enrollment.

Other Estimated Financial Assistance:

If you receive funding from other agencies, it is your responsibility to report the funding in writing to the Financial Aid department even if you receive the funding directly. Your financial aid may be adjusted as required by federal and state regulations to prevent an over-award situation. Estimated Financial Assistance (EFA) includes funding from the following sources: Teaching Assistantships, Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, U.S. Department of Defense or any branch of the military, Department of Employment Security (TAA), Work Source, Department of Labor and Industries (L & I), Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), or any other agency.


If the FAFSA information shows that you have high financial need, and you are an undergraduate working on your first degree, you may be eligible for grant funds. A grant is free money that does not need to be repaid. Western Washington University participates in all state and federal grant programs including the Federal Pell Grant, Federal Teach Grant, Federal Supplemental Grant, Washington State Need Grant, Washington State Tuition Waiver, and Institutional Grant programs.


Many scholarships are offered by private organizations and businesses to recognize high achievement. It is your responsibility to immediately notify the Scholarship Center of any scholarships you will receive, even if you receive the funds directly. Please submit the donor name and the amount of each scholarship. Other financial aid may be reduced to prevent an over award as required by federal and state law. The scholarship will first be used to fulfill any unmet need. Then it will reduce loans or work study to prevent an over award situation. In rare cases, grants and tuition waivers may also be reduced. Students are responsible for paying university bills by the due date even if they anticipate receiving scholarship funding that is not yet available. Please contact the Scholarship Center for special processing requirements for Washington State Scholarship funding. All scholarships are apportioned evenly over the quarters of attendance and require full-time enrollment unless otherwise requested by the scholarship donor.

Work Study:

Western Washington University participates in Federal, State, and Institutional work study programs. Work study offers the opportunity to work part-time. This provides help paying your educational expenses while gaining experience and job skills associated with your academic major or career interests. If you receive work study funding, use the Student Employment Center’s job listings to help you find a work study job that fits your interests. Your work study job will provide you with a paycheck like any other part-time employment. Although work study earnings are subject to federal income tax like other jobs, they are excluded from the student contribution calculation (the student portion of the EFC). You must maintain at least half-time enrollment status to remain eligible for work study employment. More information on work study and non-work study employment is available at the Student Employment website.