Frequently Asked Questions

Are there computers available for student use in the Financial Aid Office?

Yes. There are computers available in Morgan Hall in first floor hallway between the Student One Stop and the Cashiers’ window.  Students may use the computers to complete any of the financial aid process, including:

  • filling out the FAFSA
  • completing the Master Promissory Note
  • completing entrance counseling and other processes

How do I know if the Financial Aid Office needs additional information from me?

There are three ways to know if the Financial Aid office needs information from you:

  • Letter in the mail requesting additional information
  • Email requesting additional information
  • MyWashburn under the Financial Services tab under “Financial Aid Requirements”

Who should I talk to about any problems or other questions I have regarding my financial aid?
Please contact the Financial Aid Office at 785.670.1151, or come in to the Student One Stop in Morgan Hall.

How long does the financial aid process take?
Early Applicants (e.g. students who apply BEFORE February 15): Early applications are held in application date order until the eligibility and awarding process is implemented.

Late Applicants (e.g. Students who apply AFTER February 15): If you apply after the February 15 priority deadline, it generally takes around 2-3 weeks from the time you submit a FAFSA until an award letter is ready.  

  • Because every student’s situation is different, processing time will vary. A few of the factors that can affect processing time are:
    • if a student is selected for verification
    • how quickly all requested documents are submitted to our office
    • when the FAFSA was originally submitted

In order to ensure your aid is finalized and available to release by the first disbursement date check your MyWashurn account frequently.  Although the Financial Aid Office will try to keep in touch with you, it is your responsibility and very important that you make sure all documents are submitted in a timely manner and that your file is both accurate and complete.

How do I find out how much aid I am awarded?

  • Login to MyWashburn
  • Select the “Financial Services” tab
  • Select the “Financial Aid Awards” link in the far left column
  • Select the correct aid year and submit.
  • Select the “Terms and Conditions” tab – All students must read and accept the terms and conditions before accepting your financial aid.
  • Select the “Accept Award Offer” tab to accept/decline award.

Understanding Your College Financial Aid Package

First there was the waiting… then the acceptance letters! Now? It’s all about the financial aid packages. With the May 1 commitment deadline just around the corner, you and your child may be wondering “How do I figure out which financial aid package is best?” Or perhaps, “What other options do I have besides what they are providing?” And these questions are just the beginning. What is a parent to do?

Financial Aid Comparison

1. Decide what you and your child can afford for college. Not what the government says you can afford… what you can reasonably afford. How much debt or sacrifice are you willing to shoulder? What amount of monthly payment is reasonable for your child upon his or her graduation? From there you can back up into how much total loans you are willing to take on if necessary.

2. Now check out how much the college is willing to help or how much assistance your child has qualified for. Make sure you are clear on whether any of the assistance is for their first year only or if it will continue through all 4+ years. This is critical as you don’t want to deal with the same “teaser rate” syndrome as you did on that credit card – you remember the one!

3. Look at College Board’s Net Price Calculator for each of your college options. While this is not perfect, it gives you a good idea since schools don’t always include the same costs – such as food, travel, etc. You may have to do some quick estimates on your own as well to consider what your child may spend. Subtract the grants and scholarships only from these dollar figures and see what is left over. Your financial aid package will also include loans and work-study, but let’s see what doesn’t have to be earned or paid back first. Now determine:

  1. Is the remaining balance covered by a combination of loans and any money you can contribute?
  2. Is the remaining balance below the maximum you are willing or able to contribute?

If you answered yes to both of these questions then congratulations! You have a college that you and your child can afford. Now you just have to compare these packages with the other schools and see which are the most affordable using this method – and contrast that to how highly your child ranked the schools as their top choice. This is where it becomes a personal decision.

If you answered no to either of these questions, then this school is no longer an option. Just as you may want a BMW, but have to drive a Hyundai – your child may want a Harvard but has to attend a community college for two years and then transfer – or go to a smaller state school.

4. You do have one more hope. If you are not applying to one of the super selective colleges (the state flagships or the elite privates) then try to negotiate a little more. Leverage one school’s higher financial aid package offer against the other school… just as you would leverage an offer from one employer to another when receiving multiple job offers. You want to speak with the financial aid team, not the admissions team. Come up with a few key points for why your child is the perfect fit for their college and a few key points for why you need just a little extra assistance.

What About the Middle Class?

Sadly, if you are middle class, the government assumes you can handle a higher burden than your actual budget will allow – which means your child may not qualify for need-based scholarships. Most of the top schools don’t offer merit scholarships since every one of their students are top students. That only leaves private scholarships, savings, and good old-fashioned part-time work (and yes, your child should work while in college – assuming their goal is to get a job when they graduate – nobody wants to hire someone with no experience!).

Final Considerations

Go in with a plan! Every college student – and even their parents – should have a plan when they go off to college. Start with the end goal. What job/career do they want? What is the expected starting salary? What skills and experience does that job/career require? Where are those jobs located? What is the cost of living? Does your school of choice offer the right courses and clubs and experiences? Just as we would not buy a car without knowing why we want the car, what the monthly payments are, what the features and options are and so forth, we don’t want to send our kids off to college with no clue what it will cost, and what the benefits will be in four years.

Choosing a college is an emotional decision. While you obviously want the best for your child, don’t forget about all those stories of undergraduates with $100,000 in student loans that have to move back home, and can’t afford a place of their own for another 10 years. We know that when we make emotional decision we rarely make good financial ones, so try to be as objective as possible in this process. Money is not the only factor when it comes to deciding on a college, but it is a large one.

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Financial Aid Information for Spring Graduates

Congratulations…you are graduating! Here are some topics to help you with this important transition to the real world. We will talk about loan repayment, budgeting, and how to be successful during this exciting time in your life.

Exit Counseling
Exit counseling is required when you graduate, leave school, or drop below half-time enrollment. Exit counseling provides important information you need to prepare to repay your federal student loan(s).

To Complete Exit Counseling:

  • Go to:
  • Click “Sign In” and follow the instructions to get logged in.
  • Click COMPLETE COUNSELING on left.
  • Answer all questions and click SUBMIT at the end.

You will receive an on-screen confirmation that your Exit Counseling has been completed.

Keep Track of Your Loans & Your Repayment Options

NSLDS — The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is the U.S. Department of Education’s central database for student aid. NSLDS receives data from schools and provides a centralized, integrated view of your loans and grants so that you can access and inquire about them.

Repayment Calculator — You can use the Repayment Estimator to get an idea of what your federal student loan payments might be under each repayment plan that is available to you.

Loan Consolidation

Direct Consolidation Loan allows you to consolidate (combine) multiple federal education loans into one loan. The result is a single monthly payment instead of multiple payments.

Get Educated About Your Finances
SALT is a FREE online program that can help you manage your money. Membership will give you in-depth information on a range of financial topics, including:

  • Simple online tools to track and plan your student loans
  • Tips and guidance to help you make smart decisions about tricky loan stuff
  • Help finding scholarships, internships, and jobs
  • Deals and discounts that put more money in your pocket
  • Know-how that empowers you to be money smart

Important Things to Avoid As a New Graduate
Interest — Interest is the price you pay to borrow money. How much will it cost you? Calculating interest depends on a few factors, your interest rate, your loan term, and your loan amount. Higher rates and longer terms mean you pay more for the same amount of money. Try your best to avoid interest whenever you can!

$10,000 at 6.8% will cost you $13,810 over 10 years with a $115 monthly payment.  Paying just $30 more a month will save you over $1,000 in interest.

Loan Default — If you have debt from either student loans or credit cards, it is extremely important that you manage it proactively. CNN Money reported that the average college graduate in 2013 was leaving school with around $35,000 in some type of debt. Use your options, live on a budget, and pay your debts in the best way that you can. If you are having trouble making any of your payments, contact your loan providers to find out your different repayment options.

Loan Forgiveness

Teacher Loan Forgiveness

If you are a teacher and also a new borrower (i.e., you did not have an outstanding balance on a Direct Loan or FFEL Program loan on Oct. 1, 1998, or on the date you obtained a Direct Loan or FFEL Program loan after Oct. 1, 1998) and have been teaching full-time in a low-income elementary or secondary school or educational service agency for five consecutive years, you may be able to have as much as $17,500 of your subsidized or unsubsidized loans forgiven. Your PLUS loans cannot be included. For more information, go to Teacher Loan Forgiveness. If you have a Federal Perkins Loan, see Perkins Loan Cancellation for teacher cancellation in that loan program.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness

If you are employed in certain public service jobs and have made 120 payments on your Direct Loans (after Oct. 1, 2007), the remaining balance that you owe may be forgiven. Only payments made under certain repayment plans may be counted toward the required 120 payments. You must not be in default on the loans that are forgiven. For more information, go to Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

Perkins Loan Cancellation and Discharge
The following Federal Perkins Loan Program cancellations apply to individuals who perform certain types of public service or are employed in certain occupations.

For each complete year of service, a percentage of the loan may be canceled. The total percentage of the loan that can be canceled depends on the type of service performed. Depending on the type of loan you have, and when that loan was taken out, you may be eligible to cancel part of or your entire loan if you have served as one of the following:

  • Volunteer in the Peace Corps or ACTION program (including VISTA)
  • Teacher
  • Member of the U.S. armed forces (serving in area of hostilities)
  • Nurse or medical technician
  • Law enforcement or corrections officer
  • Head Start worker
  • Child or family services worker
  • Professional provider of early intervention services

There is no standard application form for Perkins Loan cancellations. Contact the Business Office for more information about your Perkins Loan.

View the Perkins Loan Cancellation and Discharge Summary Chart

More information available at


Loan Repayment Options


Writing a Scholarship Essay

How to write a Winning Scholarhsip Essay

FAFSA Friday

FAFSA Friday

Don’t Forget Your FAFSA

The 2016-2017 FAFSA will open on January 1, 2016. Be sure to complete your FAFSA by the priority deadline: February 15th!

If you and/or your parent(s) have not completed your 2015 tax return by this date, you can estimate you and/or your parent(s) income and correct the FAFSA after you have filed. We will use the date off of your first completed FAFSA application.


Are You A Financial Success Story?



From students living on their own to alumni paying off their loans, SALT® can’t resist a good financial success story—and we want to hear yours.

Activate your SALT account from now until November 17 to join our online community and enter our Share Your Success Story Sweepstakes. You’ll earn a chance to win one of ten $250 gift cards!
Don’t have a success story? We don’t believe you! Just answer one of the following questions

  • Have you overcome a financial challenge? What was it, and how did you solve it? Maybe you cut that daily coffee run or started a side business.
  • Have you saved for a major purchase? Vacation? Car? House? Share the secret to your savings—and a picture of what it got you, if you want!

Your story will inspire others to achieve their financial goals. Share it today, and get a chance to win $250 to put toward your next financial success. Visit SALT Central for official rules.


Remember to Renew Your Washburn Scholarships

The scholarship renewal application for Washburn University scholarships will be available online beginning November 1st and must be completed by February 15th.

In addition to completing the application, each scholarship has minimum cumulative GPA and credit hour requirements. Review the renewal criteria for each scholarship below to ensure you meet the requirements by the end of the Spring semester.

Washburn Academic Scholarships

Freshman Academic Scholarship — You must successfully complete 24 hours between the fall 2015 and spring 2016 semesters and maintain the minimum cumulative GPA corresponding with your award amount.  Please remember that this scholarship is limited to 4 years/8 semesters of continuous enrollment.

Scholarship Award Amount and Corresponding Renewal GPA

$500-$1,250 — 3.0 Cumulative GPA

$1,500-$3,500 — 3.25 Cumulative GPA

$4,000-$5,000 — 3.40 Cumulative GPA

Transfer and Phi Theta Kappa Scholarships— You must successfully complete 24 hours between the fall 2015 and spring 2016 semesters and maintain at least a 3.25 cumulative GPA.  Please remember that these scholarships are limited to 2 years/4 semesters of continuous enrollment.

Specialized Scholarships

Finnup, Hindman, Wiseman, Woodbury/Ramskill, Glatt, Kissinger Scholarships— You must successfully complete 24 hours between the fall 2015 and spring 2016 semesters and maintain at least a 2.0 cumulative GPA.  Please remember that these scholarships are limited to 4 years/8 semesters of continuous enrollment.

Presidential/Bryden, Garvey Scholarships— You must successfully complete 24 hours between the fall 2015 and spring 2016 semesters and maintain at least a 3.25 cumulative GPA.  Please remember that these scholarships are limited to 4 years/8 semesters of continuous enrollment.

Richey Scholarship— You must successfully complete 24 hours between the fall 2015 and spring 2016 semesters and maintain at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA.  Please remember that this scholarship is limited to 4 years/8 semesters of continuous enrollment.

Shaw Scholarship— You must successfully complete 24 hours between the fall 2015 and spring 2016 semesters and maintain at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA.  Please remember that this scholarship is limited to 4 years/8 semesters of continuous enrollment for those awarded as a freshman.  Transfer students receiving the Shaw are limited to 2 years/4 semesters of continuous enrollment.


Contact Meghan Salsbury with any questions regarding the scholarship application or renewal criteria.

Graduating with Student Loans Part III – Consolidating Loans

If you have decided that consolidation is right for you.  It is important to understand that you can consolidate your student loans for free. One of the biggest scams in student loans are companies that consolidate your federal student loans for you and charge you a fee.  These companies charge $200, $400, or even up to $800 to consolidate your federal student students.  Depending on your student loan payment each month that could be several months worth of payments.

Most federal student loan can be consolidated together.  The most common type of federal student loans are the Subsidized Federal Stafford Loan, Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, Perkins Loans and Graduate PLUS Loans. Loans from your undergraduate and graduate programs can all be consolidated together as well.  Consolidating your federal student loans is easy and free.  It can be done online at

There are five sections to the loan consolidation application process.

1. Choose Loans & Servicer
2. Repayment Plan Selection
3. Terms & Conditions
4. Borrower & Reference Information
5. Review & Sign

But wait! We haven’t talked about selecting your repayment plan. Do not consolidate yet! Our final part in this series is going to discuss student loan repayment options. Generally, you will want to wait until after you have graduated but before your grace period has expired to consolidate.  The grace period on your Stafford Loans is 6 months and Perkins Loan is 9 months and it is a period where you do not pay on your student loans.  Look for our final part in this series next week.

If you have not already, sign up for SALT to learn more about student loans, scholarship opportunities, and other money matters topics at  Join us next week as we discuss your student loan repayment options!