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Factors That Determine Your Financial Aid Eligibility

Cost of Attendance (COA):

Cost of attendance (COA) includes tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, personal, transportation and dependent care expenses incurred as a result of your enrollment at Western. It is expected that you will share household expenses with a roommate. COA expenses are representative of averages based on what most students spend. The COA is also based on your academic program, residency, class level, housing, and enrollment status. Only tuition-and-fees and room-and-board (for residence hall occupancy) are billed by Western. Other COA factors include whether you are living with a relative or you have dependent care expenses. You are responsible for reviewing the residency, class level, and enrollment status displayed on your award letter and immediately notifying the Financial Aid Department in writing if this information is incorrect. If you incur unusual, educationally-related expenses, you may request in writing that these expenses be added to your COA for additional financial aid consideration.

Other Estimated Financial Assistance (EFA):

EFA calculated in your financial aid award can come from a variety of sources. Examples are listed under "Other Estimated Financial Assistance" on the Aid Types page. Notify our office in writing if you will receive this type of funding.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC):

The EFC represents the financial support you and your parents (if their information was required on the FAFSA) are able to provide for your educational costs based on the data you reported. The EFC is the same regardless of the school you attend. The EFC is determined by the information you reported on your FAFSA and is based on several factors, such as: income, assets, number in the household, and the number attending college. Contact the Financial Aid Department if corrections need to be made, or to request a reevaluation of your aid eligibility if your income has changed significantly since completing your FAFSA.

FAFSA Priority Filing Deadline is January 31st:

Financial aid applicants must submit their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form by January 31st 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 31st priority filing deadline is one factor that students and their families can impact.


Aid applicants sometimes miss the deadline while waiting for completed income tax information. Students and their family members may provide estimated income figures on their FAFSA in order to submit the FAFSA by January 31st. Students then update the estimated information with actual values once they are known.

Financial Need:

If your cost of attendance exceeds your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and EFA, then you have financial need and are eligible for need-based aid. If your EFC and EFA exceed the cost of attendance, then you have no demonstrated financial need and your financial aid is limited to Unsubsidized Loan and Parent PLUS Loan (for dependent students and graduate students).

Financial Aid Award:

Financial aid is awarded after cost of attendance, EFC, and financial need have been determined. Financial aid may consist of a combination of grants, loans, and work study. Students who meet the January 31st priority deadline for submitting the FAFSA are considered for priority funding.


Your financial aid award will not always meet your entire financial need. If your financial need was not met, it is because financial aid funds have been exhausted or you have already been awarded the maximum amount allowed for a particular type of aid. Grants and loans have annual maximum limits that are set by federal and state regulations.

Graduating Seniors:

Federal regulations require that if you need only one or two quarters to graduate, your annual loan eligibility will be calculated on a prorated basis based on the number of credits you have outstanding as determined by the Registrar's Office. Only courses required for completion of your program are eligible for funding.