Click on your tab above
or choose a link below.

Financial aid basics




About us

Translating the lingo

Let's translate that award letter into everyday language. Click a link for the translation.

Financial aid program
Total award
Total financial aid
Satisfactory academic progress
Cancel or reduce your awards

Your award letter

You completed the FAFSA and received your student aid report. Next? You will receive your WMU award letter. If you're a new student, this letter will be mailed to your home. If you're a returning student, you will be notified through GoWMU.

How are awards determined?

Your award letter will tell you just how much aid you can expect to receive from WMU. Your awards are based on several things, including the information you and your family supplied on the FAFSA, your residency and your planned enrollment. Get complete information on how awards are determined here.

When are awards made?

Awarding for new students will begin on or before March 31 for the upcoming year. Awarding for returning students will begin on or before June 5.

What's a shopping sheet?

The U.S. Department of Education requires that we send new, undergraduate students who are veterans a standardized financial aid shopping sheet. If you fit this requirement, you will receive an email with a link to your shopping sheet in GoWMU. This federal information supplements your official WMU financial aid award information. See more about the federal shopping sheet here.

Cancel or reduce awards

You can cancel or reduce federal loans that have not disbursed to your WMU account. You may also cancel or reduce your federal loans after they have disbursed. However, if they have disbursed, the adjustment form must be received within 30 days of the date of disbursement. Canceling or reducing a disbursed loan may result in a balance due on your WMU account.

Special circumstances

Sometimes, your award may not cover all of your expenses. Or, your situation may have changed since filing your FAFSA. See complete details about when and how your aid can be adjusted on our page for special circumstances.


Not sure what your award letter actually says? Keep reading for the translation into everyday English.

Financial Aid Program
This is the first column of your award information. Financial aid programs can include grants, federal student loans and work-study, as well as other state aid. These programs all have various eligibility requirements. Our awarding is based primarily on the information provided on your FAFSA. Here are some common programs.

  • On your award letter: CWS Federal Work Study
    • Translated: college work-study. This need-based program allows students to work and earn a paycheck. See all the details on our work-study page.
  • On your award letter: Federal Pell Grant
    • Translated: federal pell grant. This is a federal grant for students with significant need. It is not repaid. Eligibility is determined in part by your expected family contribution (EFC). Get all the details on our grants page.
  • On your award letter: Federal Perkins Loan
    • Translated: federal perkins loan. This is a federal loan with limited funding. It is repaid to WMU. This loan has a fixed interest rate and is awarded to students with significant need. Get all the details on our loans page.
  • On your award letter: Federal SEOG
    • Translated: federal supplemental educational opportunity grant. This is a federal grant with limited funding. It is NOT repaid. This grant is awarded to students with significant need. Get all the details on our grants page.
  • On your award letter: Federal Subsidized Loan
    • Translated: federal direct subsidized loan, or FDS. This student loan is federally funded, need-based and carries a low, fixed interest rate. See all the details on our loans page.
  • On your award letter: Federal Unsubsidized Loan
    • Translated: federal direct unsubsidized loan, or FDU. This federal loan is NOT need-based. It offers a low interest rate and minimal fees. Interest accrues with disbursement. See all the details on our loans page.
  • On your award letter: WMU Grant
    • Translated: WMU grant. This grant has limited funding and is provided by WMU to students with need. Eligibility is based in part on your expected family contribution (EFC). Get all the details on our grants page.

WMU breaks the school year into four terms. Financial aid is based on your estimated full-time enrollment. Most students enroll for fall and spring semesters. You may also enroll for classes during summer II and summer I. Both of these terms require an additional financial aid application. Your award letter shows your aid by semester.

Total award
This is the last column of your award information. It shows how much you have been awarded by each financial aid program.

Total financial aid
This is the bottom row of the table that shows your award package details. It shows you the total financial aid you have been awarded for each semester. The very last box shows your complete award amount. This amount may change if you have additional scholarships or outside resources to report. Your total financial aid does not include a federal parent loan (PLUS), which is another type of financial aid you may be eligible for.

Some students will be selected for verification. If you have been selected, we will contact you through your Western email. If selected, you will be required to submit additional documentation detailing household and other information. You need to turn in all requested documents as soon as possible to avoid any delay in processing your aid. Some financial aid awards are time sensitive, and could be reduced or revoked if you do not complete the verification process. For more information, visit our verification page.

Satisfactory academic progress (SAP)
To remain eligible for financial aid, you must make satisfactory academic progress at WMU. This means you must:

  • pass 67 percent of all attempted hours;
  • maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (2.00 for undergraduates and 3.00 for master's and doctoral students);
  • not exceed a maximum of 183 attempted undergraduate hours, including transfer credit hours.

For more details, view the satisfactory academic progress fact sheet.

Cancel or reduce your awards

You can change your award by completing the financial aid adjustment form.

Updated: 02/11/2015 3:41 PM

Visit related WMU sites

There is a lot more to see! Visit some of our friends at WMU to learn about academics, campus life and how you can be successful.

Student Financial Aid
1903 W Michigan Ave
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5337 USA
269 387-6000