WSU Financial Aid Awarding Guidelines 
Student Financial Services

The mission of Student Financial Services is to keep student success central while providing the highest level of service, and equal opportunity in the awarding of funds at all WSU campuses. We increase opportunities for access and affordability by providing accurate financial information, and individualized guidance and support for students and families in an environment that embraces teamwork and collaborative partnerships.

The University’s tuition and financial aid strategies are closely connected, and are designed to support the University’s goals for undergraduate student success within the context of a major public research university. The University’s goals for undergraduate education are to:

  • Attract the best undergraduate students.
  • Retain and support these students throughout their undergraduate career.
  • Provide these students with a world-class education.
  • Graduate these students in a timely manner.

Principles to Guide the Financial Aid Programs of the University:

  1. The University will fund and administer a comprehensive financial aid program, including merit-based aid and need-based aid programs.
  2. The University’s financial aid strategies will be linked to University and state goals and priorities. These strategies will be evaluated regularly, and adjusted as necessary, to improve effectiveness of spending as it relates to institutional and state goals.
  3. In support of retention and timely graduation, continued efforts to provide stable multi-year financial aid predictions (four years for freshmen, two years for transfer students) will be offered for planning purposes whenever possible.
  4. Financial aid will be targeted to degree-seeking students, and continuation of aid for a student will depend upon the student making satisfactory and timely academic progress toward a degree.
  5. Financial aid packages will be equitably awarded to each student and may include a variety of forms of need-based and/or merit-based aid from numerous funding sources including, but not limited to, University funds, federal and state aid programs, external scholarships and donor-directed funds.
  6. WSU financial aid package for an individual student will not exceed the federal cost of attendance for any given year.
  7. The University is committed to providing constituents with accurate and clear information about college costs, financial aid, and debt burdens. The University will provide responsive service to its students and their families.
  8. As a public institution, the University supports access for qualified students, and its review of applicants for undergraduate admissions is need-blind. A student’s ability to pay is not a factor in determining admissibility.

Principles Specific to Merit-Based Aid:

  1.  A major focus of merit-based aid will be to attract high-achieving students to the University and support their retention and timely graduation.
  2.  As a public land-grant institution, the University will award the majority of freshman academic merit -based scholarships to Washington residents, but will also use merit aid to attract and retain excellent non-resident students.
  3.  Scholarship awards will be leveraged with central and departmental funding sources to enhance the diversity of the freshman class, broadly defined to include geographic, ethnic, socioeconomic, and special talents.
  4.  The University may award merit-based financial aid to support its signature strengths and increase enrollments in priority areas.

Principles Specific to Need-Based Aid:

  1. Financial aid strategies and tuition strategies will be closely aligned.
  2. Institutional need-based financial aid will be a critical component in maintaining access for many promising students who otherwise would not be able to attend the University.
  3. As a public land-grant institution, the University will focus the majority of its need-based aid on Washington residents.
  4. The largest amounts of WSU need-based aid will be provided to the students with the greatest need as determined by the FAFSA (Expected Family Contribution) and on time priority dates established by SFS as fiscal controls.
  5. Need-based financial aid will be provided to families with incomes up to the “middle income” level. This level will be reviewed and defined annually. 
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