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.

2024-2025 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®)

When will the 2024-2025 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) be available?

Due to changes being implemented for the FAFSA Simplification Act, it is anticipated that the 2024-2025 FAFSA will not be available until December. A precise date has not yet been announced, but we will update our website once it is finalized.

If I am an Early Decision applicant, will my application for financial assistance be negatively impacted if I complete the FAFSA after submitting my application? When will I receive my financial assistance offer?

If you apply EDI or EDII, you will submit all parts of your financial assistance application EXCEPT the FAFSA by the appropriate deadline (Nov. 15 for EDI, Jan. 12 for EDII).

WashU will still be able to release your estimated financial assistance offer at the same time as your admission decision. However, you must still submit your FAFSA to finalize your offer. We anticipate that there will not be any changes to your financial assistance offer, as long as the information provided in the FAFSA is consistent with the information you submitted with your CSS Profile. We will provide more information about submitting your FAFSA with your financial assistance offer.

How can WashU provide an estimated financial assistance offer before receiving my FAFSA?

Because we require the CSS Profile as part of our financial assistance application, we are still able to provide an estimated financial assistance offer before receiving your FAFSA. We also factor in any supplemental information you provide to us, such as special circumstances. As noted above, though, the FAFSA is still required to finalize your offer.

If I am a Regular Decision applicant, will my application for financial assistance by impacted by the December release of the FAFSA?

The later availability of the FAFSA will not impact the financial assistance process for RD applicants. You will still need to submit all required materials, including the FAFSA, by the Feb. 1 deadline.

Financial assistance

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 offers range up to the full cost of attendance. You have nothing to lose by applying.

Washington University will waive the $75 admission application fee for all students who apply for financial assistance, to ensure the fee isn’t a barrier to applying. Before you submit the Common Application or Coalition Application, powered by Scoir, simply be sure to indicate that you’ve been granted a Washington University Fee Waiver.

How can I create an appointment with my financial assistance 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 financial assistance every year?

Yes. If your award contains need-based components, it’s important for the university to tailor your financial assistance 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 and CSS Profile 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 scholarships 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 assistance 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 assistance work for study abroad?

If a student is studying abroad through a WashU program, their financial assistance award 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 award 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, housing, and food 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. Reach out to your financial assistance counselor if there are changes that you’d like to discuss.

How do I submit Special Circumstances?

We recognize that each family’s financial circumstances are unique, and that your financial circumstances may not be fully represented by your FAFSA and/or the CSS Profile. If your financial circumstances affect your household’s ability to pay for college, you have the right to submit a request for review. Some examples of situations that might result in a change to your financial assistance award are:

  • Loss of employment
  • Significant medical expenses
  • One-time income
  • Extraordinary expenses from a natural disaster

This is not an exhaustive list, and submission of a request does not always result in an adjustment of financial assistance. Please include your special financial circumstances on your CSS Profile or submit our Financial Aid Special Circumstances Form (PDF) to financial@wustl.edu. In order to review any request, supporting documentation of your special financial circumstances must be included.

Each request will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and decisions will be communicated to students in a timely manner.

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

Most incoming, first-year WashU undergraduate students are considered dependent on their parents for purposes of determining financial assistance eligibility. This means that parental information is included on financial assistance applications such as the FAFSA and the CSS Profile. In limited circumstances, schools have the authority to change a student’s dependency status; typically, these are documented circumstances that would make obtaining parental information difficult or impossible. 

The following would be situations where a dependency override may be appropriate:

  • A student’s parents are incarcerated
  • A student has left home due to an unsafe or abusive environment
  • A student does not have contact with either parent and is unable to contact them

The following would be situations where a dependency override would not be appropriate:

  • Parents refusing to contribute to a student’s education
  • Parents refusing to provide information on a FAFSA or for FAFSA Verification
  • Parents do not claim a student for tax purposes
  • A student demonstrates total financial self-sufficiency

If you would like to request a dependency override, contact your Student Financial Services counselor for more information.

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 Student Health Insurance?

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?

Because in many cases Washington University meets demonstrated financial need with grant/scholarship aid and/or federal work study, you will not see federal loans in your financial assistance offer. However, most students who complete a FAFSA have eligibility to borrow federal loans if needed. Please reach out to your SFS Counselor if you would like to discuss your federal loan eligibility.

Private loans are available from a variety of lenders outside the University. These loans are credit-based and should be viewed as a last resort after other borrowing options have been considered. Although terms and rates vary among private lenders, in many cases a Federal Direct Student Loan may provide the student with more beneficial terms and conditions than a private loan.

Living off-campus

If I move off campus, will my award change?

If a student chooses to live off campus, their financial assistance award will not change. They will not get charged for housing by the university and if their award 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 assistance counselors are here to help students with budgeting. You can request an appointment with your financial assistance counselor for help.

We are pleased to offer all current students free access to iGrad, an award-winning financial literacy platform. Students have 24/7 access to personalized tools, courses, videos, and articles on a wide range of topics, including how to budget, save, and manage income.


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.

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. 

International students

Are international students eligible for financial assistance?

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 considered for the merit-based academic division scholarships and welcome to apply for our Signature Scholar Programs (except for the John B. Ervin Scholars Program).

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

Costs for the 2024-2025 academic year, includes tuition, fees, and the student health insurance plan are $68,413. Living expenses (includes housing, food (university meal plan), books and supplies, clothing, incidentals, and recreation) are estimated at a minimum of $25,761 for 12 months. The total of $97,128 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? 

Our need-blind policy for first-year applicants who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents means we will not consider an applicant’s ability to pay when making admission decisions. 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.

This policy does not affect the financial assistance process—we are committed to meeting 100 percent of demonstrated financial need for all students admitted to WashU.

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 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 some 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 assistance

Yes! It is important that you complete your financial assistance application by the stated deadline for your decision plan. We will use the information in your financial assistance 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.