We know you have questions

We’ve tried to answer a few of the more frequently asked questions here. If you still have questions, please contact us! We are here to help you.

Our family cannot afford the whole cost of Washington University. Should I even bother applying?

Of course! We are committed to making a WashU education affordable for students who have been offered admission. If you don’t apply, you won’t find out how we can help you. Our awards range up to the full cost of attendance. You have nothing to lose by applying.

For students who show demonstrated financial need, Washington University will waive the application fee so all students interested in attending are not discouraged by financial hardships. If you do qualify, simply indicate on the Common Application or Coalition Application that you qualify for a fee waiver.

How can I create an appointment with my financial aid counselor?

Student can create an appointment with their counselor by selecting their counselor from the Contact Us page and setting up an appointment through Calendly.

Do I apply for need-based aid every year?

Yes. If your award contains need-based components, it’s important for the university to tailor your financial aid package based on the yearly changes in your family’s income, assets, or family demographics.

In general, your award will remain the same or increase from year to year, as long as your family’s FAFSA information remains relatively consistent. We realize changes in your family’s financial situation can happen from year-to-year while you are a student. We will work with your family to understand any changes and help you prepare for the upcoming academic year.

Can we get merit aid in upper class years?

Only first year students are eligible to apply for WashU merit scholarships during their admission process.

Is there a GPA requirement to keep my financial aid award?

You are required to maintain satisfactory academic progress toward your degree. This is generally defined as maintaining a 2.0 GPA and earning enough credits to graduate on time.

Will I have to work while I’m in school? I don’t want work to hurt my coursework.

Many students choose Federal Work-Study jobs related to their academic and extracurricular interests. Work schedules don’t interfere with classes. Common part-time employment may include assisting a researcher, working at the call center, or helping students at the library. Students with part-time jobs tell us how much they learn from the experience. Both the job and the contacts they make are very helpful when they are looking for full-time employment after graduation.

Will my financial aid work for study abroad?

If a student is studying abroad through a WashU program, their aid will be applied to their billed charges for the program. Please keep in mind each program is different, so be sure to check if WashU will charge for housing and a meal plan or if it will be the students responsibility to pay for those expenses out of pocket. The students aid will be applied to all of their billed charges from the university and if they have remaining aid, they will receive it in a refund check to use on their indirect expenses.

Is the only way for my family to pay our share of the costs to write a big check each semester?

No. Our interest-free Installment Payment Plan allows you to spread each semester’s tuition, fees, room, and board charges over 5 equal monthly payments. Washington University’s Partners in Education with Parents (PEP) is among the best parent financing programs in the country. PEP features low interest rates, low monthly repayment terms, and the option to freeze all four years of costs at the entering-year rate.

What will happen if my family and I have unexpected financial problems after I’ve enrolled?

Our primary goal is to help our students be successful. We do all we can in response to changing family circumstances to help you complete your Washington University education.

How do I submit Special Circumstances?

Special circumstances can be submitted by completing the special circumstances form and emailing it to finacial@wustl.edu. A counselor will review your form and be in touch. 

Can I apply as an independent student since my parents won’t help me?

A student’s dependency status is dictated by the federal guidelines. We are only able to consider a student as an independent, meaning they don’t have to provide their parents information, if they meet one of the criteria that classifies them as independent.

How do I provide info on my outside scholarship? Where do OSA checks get sent to?

Outside scholarships letters or checks can be sent to this address:

MSC 1041-105-05
One Brookings Drive
Room 020 Sumers Welcome Center
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899

I’m a National Merit finalist. Will I receive a scholarship from Washington University?

The type of National Merit Scholarship you receive is determined by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). If you receive scholarship funds from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, Washington University will accept the award as an outside scholarship to help cover part of the cost of attendance. However, Washington University does not offer University-funded scholarships based on a student’s standing with the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

How do I change my meal plan?

Students may change their meal plan within the first two weeks of the fall semester or within the first two weeks of the spring semester. All changes submitted in the first 2 weeks of each semester will be effective at the end of the 2 week period. For more information regarding meal plans click here.  https://diningservices.wustl.edu/meal-plans/

How do I waive the Health Insurance Grant?

All full-time, degree seeking students on the Danforth Campus are required to have health insurance. If you want to waive the WashU provided health insurance you can do so in WebSTAC. For more information on how to waive the insurance and who is eligible to do so please check out the health insurance webpage.

How can I get additional loans?

All students who file the FAFSA are eligible for a Federal Stafford Loan, regardless of their financial need. If students are seeking additional loans they can compare and contrast private loan lenders at http://elmselect.com

Living off-campus

If I move off campus, will my award change?

If a student chooses to live off campus, their aid award offer will not change. They will not get charged for housing by the university and if their aid covers all of their billed charges from the university they will receive a refund check for the credit on their account, which can be used for off campus housing expenses.

I am living off-campus. How can I get help with budgeting?

Our financial aid counselors are here to help students with budgeting. You can request an appointment with your financial aid counselor for help. We also provide several helpful budgeting resource online

Refunds

When will I get my refund?

Refunds are disbursed the Friday before classes start each semester. If the student has enrolled in direct deposit, they will receive their funds 3-5 business days after the University disburses them. If a student does not have direct despot they will need to pick up their check from the Student Financial Services Office. 

How will I get my refund?

Students can either pick up a physical check from Student Financial Services or they can enroll in direct deposit in WebSTAC to receive their funds directly to their bank account.

International students

Are international students eligible for financial aid?

Yes. International students can receive need-based financial assistance. Students with permanent resident status in the United States should apply for financial assistance as U.S. citizens. International students are also welcome to apply for merit-based academic scholarships (except the John B. Ervin Scholars Program).

Are there additional expenses for international students? What cost is used for visa processing?

Costs for the 2019-2020 academic year, includes tuition, fees, and the student health insurance plan are $57,272. Living expenses (includes room and board, books and supplies, clothing, incidentals, and recreation) are estimated at a minimum of $23,090 for 12 months. The total of $80,362 per year is the figure used for visa processing.

These figures may not include the costs for the English Language Program (required for students who do not meet English proficiency standards). Students in art and architecture should plan to spend an additional $600 for books and supplies. Some programs may require the purchase of specific computer equipment.

The cost estimate for living expenses covers only minimal essential expenditures. Expenses for clothing, recreation, and incidentals are variable, and the cost of travel outside St. Louis is not included.

Students admitted to the United States on student visas are not permitted to work off-campus during the first academic year (thereafter only under limited circumstances). Employment should not be considered as a means of support.

Need blind

What does “need blind” mean? 

WashU will not consider an applicant’s financial situation or ability to pay when making admissions decisions. Additionally, WashU continues to guarantee to meet 100% of demonstrated financial need for all students admitted to the university. So, whether a student needs a small amount of assistance or the total cost of attendance, they will be considered for admission based on their abilities, not on their ability to pay. 

Why is this important? 

We want to make WashU accessible to every qualified student. We do this by removing barriers to admission and providing financial resources to make sure all qualified students are able to attend, regardless of their ability to pay. In our review, we look for evidence of academic potential, strong personal characteristics and qualities, activities and commitment, and potential for fit and engagement in the WashU community. 

Why is this possible now?

This investment in our students, which the university is calling Gateway to Success, is possible largely as a result of the extraordinary 65% return on the university’s Managed Endowment Pool for the 2020-21 fiscal year. It includes $800 million in endowed funding to support need-blind undergraduate admissions. 

What about people who can afford tuition? Will this make it harder for non-aid applicants to be admitted?

All applications will be reviewed in a holistic and individualized manner with one goal in mind: to get to know the applicant as a person and understand how that student would both benefit from and contribute to the WashU experience.

If you are “need blind” do I still need to submit a FAFSA and apply for Financial Aid

Yes! It is important that you complete your financial aid application by the stated deadline for your decision plan. We will use the information in your financial aid application to ensure we are meeting 100% of your demonstrated need.  

Does this apply to all applicants?  

Our need blind admissions policy applies to all first-year domestic applicants for undergraduate admission. Not included in this program are international applicants, transfer students, and students admitted from our wait list, although we meet 100% of need for these students.