Financial Aid Process

When to File

You can file the FAFSA as early as Jan. 1, using the prior year's tax data retrieved directly from the IRS. For example, students applying to Wilkes University for admission for Fall 2024 can file the FAFSA using 2022 tax data.

  1. Apply for admission to Wilkes. If you have not already completed an undergraduate admissions application, you can apply online.
  2. You and your parent (if you are dependent) should both apply for an FSA identification number external website as soon as possible. The FSA ID can be used to electronically sign the FAFSA. Hang on to this information as you and your family will need it when you become a Wilkes student.
  3. After Jan. 1, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA external website). When you apply, list Wilkes University's Title IV Code: 003394. By entering our school code you are allowing the Department of Education to release your FAFSA results to Wilkes University.
  4. Once the FAFSA is processed, depending upon the time of year, the Office of Student Financial Services will send you an award letter.
Thumbnail of A Minute to Learn It - Applying for Financial Aid
  • If loans are listed on your award letter and you have decided to decline or reduce them, please contact your Financial Services Counselor in writing.
  • In order for Federal Direct loans to be applied to your student account, please be sure you have completed entrance counseling and signed your Master Promissory Note (MPN). Both items can be completed at external website
  • Should a parent choose to apply for a federal loan to assist with you educational expenses, the parent PLUS loan application is located at external website. Please be sure the parent selects PLUS Loan under the Loans and Grants tab.
  • Aid received from Wilkes scholarships or grants, federal and/or state grants and loans will be credited directly to your account each semester. In most cases, you must be registered full time (taking 12 or more credits) at the undergraduate level.
  • Financial aid is applied directly to institutional charges (tuition, fees, room and board). Any excess funds will be available to you within 14 days of the date the credit balance occurs.
  • Financial aid awards are divided equally between the fall and spring semesters.
  • Student employment funds will be paid directly to you on a bi-monthly basis provided you are working during those payment periods.
  • You must make satisfactory academic progress (.pdf) to keep your financial aid. Failure to do so may result in loss of funding. Please note the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) has different requirements for satisfactory academic progress.
  • Financial aid is awarded on a yearly basis. You must reapply each year, meaning you will need to complete the FAFSA each year if you have any federal aid (grants or loans), state or Wilkes University need-based aid. The renewal of financial aid is never automatic. Failure to submit updated financial information in a timely manner may result in the loss of financial aid.

Verification is the process schools use to ensure the accuracy of the information reported on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). About 1 in every 4 FAFSA filers is selected by the Department of Education to document their income, family size and other FAFSA data.

Why is your file being verified?

There are several possibilities for being selected for verification. Keep in mind that more possibilities exist, but the following are the main reasons for being selected:

  • You were selected randomly.
  • The FAFSA you submitted has incomplete data.
  • The information you and your family included on the FAFSA appears to contradict itself.
  • The FAFSA included estimated information.

What needs to be done after the selection?
After you receive notification that you have been selected for verification, you should first read any messages from the Department of Education appearing on your Student Aid Report (the output of your FAFSA that was emailed to you). Contact the Office of Student Financial Services if you have any questions. Next, you should submit copies of documents that the Office of Student Financial Services requests. These documents may include:

  • Verification worksheet
  • IRS tax return transcript external website (Note: If you use the IRS Data Retrieval option when completing the FAFSA and make no changes to the tax information, a tax return transcript may not be required).
  • The type of documents required will vary from student to student, and not all students selected for verification will have to submit the same documents. Do not turn in any documentation that was not requested.

What happens if there are discrepancies in the application?
After you turn in all required documents, the Office of Student Financial Services will compare them with your FAFSA. If errors are found, corrections will be made. If the errors are significant enough to change the amount of financial aid that you were awarded, the Office of Student Financial Services will send you a revised award letter showing increased or decreased amounts.

If you are selected for verification, you need to return the information and requested documentation as soon as possible. Processing usually takes three weeks, but it can take longer during the peak season. Because verification must be completed in advance of disbursing any money from any financial aid program, it is vital to send complete and correct information as quickly as possible. Above all else, don't be upset because you were selected for verification. This is a process required by the Department of Education.

How Aid Works

Financial need is determined using information students and parents supply when they complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid external website (FAFSA).

The information provided on the FAFSA is processed using a Federal Methodology (FM), established by the United States Congress, which calculates your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

When you complete a FAFSA, renewal FAFSA, FAFSA Express, or FAFSA on the Web, the federal processor will send you an acknowledgment that your application was processed. This acknowledgment will contain your EFC. The federal processor electronically transmits the analysis of the data you submitted to each institution you specified on the FAFSA.
Each college or university determines an estimate

of how much it will cost for you to attend school, including tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board, personal expenses, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses. This is called your Cost of Attendance, and will vary from one institution to another. Take a look at our "cost of attendance" example below for more information.

To determine your financial need, your expected family contribution is subtracted from the cost of attendance:

Cost of Attendance $23,850.00
Less Expected Family Contribution -3,400
Determined Financial Need $20,450

We will create a financial-aid package based on your financial need once we receive the results of your FAFSA and other required forms. It is Wilkes University's policy to award scholarships and grants first, followed by employment and loans for which you qualify. You may receive some types of financial aid in excess of your need, up to the Cost of Attendance.

We will send you a Financial Aid Award letter that will outline the financial aid included in your package. This notice will include general information about each award offered and instructions for accepting or rejecting each award. Some awards (e.g., Federal Stafford & Federal PLUS loans) may require supplemental applications.

There is some flexibility for specific circumstances even though the process of determining financial aid eligibility is basically the same for all applicants. Wilkes University uses standards recommended by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators.

Situations that might merit special circumstances include:
  • unemployment for a period of at least 10 weeks;
  • loss of untaxed income for a period of at least 10 weeks;
  • separation or divorce after the FAFSA has been processed;
  • death or disability;
  • a family situation which may affect dependency status for financial aid purposes.

If you feel you have any special circumstances that might affect the amount of your financial aid, contact the Wilkes University Student Services before you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Receiving Your Financial Aid

Aid received from the Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG, State Grant, Wilkes Grant and Scholarship, Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Nursing Student Loan, Gulf Oil Loan and Rulison Evans Loan are credited directly to the student's account each semester. Amounts awarded from these programs will be deducted from the student's accounts when all required steps have been completed to verify eligibility for these funds.

Normally, all financial aid awards are divided equally for the Fall and Spring semesters; consequently, one-half of the annual award is deducted from each term. Awards of work-study funds are not deducted from the student's account. Stafford and PLUS Loan funds are credited to the student's account directly through electronic fund transfer or when the student/parent signs the loan check.

Your financial aid is applied directly to institutional charges (tuition, fees, room and board). Any excess funds will be available to you within 14 days of the date the credit balance occurs. The Financial Services Office will notify you when excess funds create a credit balance. The notice will be mailed to the address you have on file with the Student Services Office.

Financial aid is awarded on a yearly basis.

Students who continue to meet initial eligibility requirements must reapply each year to determine eligibility for ALL aid programs. The renewal of financial aid is never automatic and failure to submit renewal requests and updated financial information may result in the loss of financial aid.

Each year student records are selected for a review process called verification.

These records may be selected by the Central Processor for the Department of Education or by the University.

Students whose records are selected will be sent a notification from the Student Services Office of their status and an indication of what documents must be submitted to complete the process. Typically, students must complete the appropriate Verification Form and either complete the IRS Data Retrieval or obtain a copy of their IRS Tax Return Transcript.

Up to three requests for these documents will be sent to each student. If the appropriate documents are not received after three requests, no further action will be taken on a student's request for financial aid until the documentation is received by the Student Services Office. Once all the documents are received, a comparison of the original data on the Free Application for Federal Student Financial Aid and the data on the documents will be completed. If all of the information is correct, no change will be necessary to the financial aid package and payment of funds to the student's account will occur.

If corrections are necessary and a student's eligibility for financial aid changes as a result of those corrections, a new financial aid award notification will be sent to the student.