Financial Assistance

Ask Red:

About Us

The Application Process

EFC (Estimated Family Contribution)

The basic premise underlying financial aid programs is that the student and the student's family have the primary responsibility for paying for the student's post secondary education. Because the programs are intended to help students with financial need, eligibility for assistance from most of the programs is need based. Congress developed an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) formula to determine the financial strength of a student's family and the student's need for assistance. The information needed to calculate the EFC is provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Every student applying for Federal, State or Institutional aid must complete a FAFSA form each year.


The Office of Financial Assistance adheres to the following policies in the administration of the federal, state and institutional financial aid programs.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, mandates institutions of higher education to establish a minimum standard of "Satisfactory Academic Progress" for students receiving financial aid. UIW makes its standard applicable to all federal, state and institutional financial assistance programs for the purpose of maintaining a consistent policy for all students receiving financial aid (view the UIW Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy).

Return of Title IV Funds

The Return of Title IV Funds Formula is applicable to any student receiving federal aid and withdraws from the UIW during the first 60% of a semester. These students will have their federal financial aid (Pell Grants, Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants, Perkins Loans, Federal Stafford and PLUS Loans) adjusted based on the percent of the semester completed before the withdrawal. There will be no adjustment to federal financial aid after the completion of at least 60% of the semester. If any refund remains after the required return of Title IV aid, the refund will be used to repay institutional funds, state grant funds, and other private sources and the student in proportion to the amount paid by each non-federal source, as long as there was no unpaid balance due at the time of withdrawal. If there is an unpaid balance, then all aid sources will be repaid before any refund is paid to the student.

Distribution Policy

Once the amount of the federal funds to be returned has been calculated, the funds will be returned to the appropriate program(s) in the following priority order:

  1. Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  2. Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans
  3. Federal PLUS Loans
  4. Federal Perkins Loans
  5. Federal Pell Grant
  6. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)

Special Circumstances

On the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), students are instructed to notify the Office of Financial Assistance if you or your family has unusual circumstances not reported on the FAFSA.  Please complete a Special Circumstances Form indicating your circumstances and submit it to the Office of Financial Assistance with the required documentation.

Changing Financial Aid status from Dependent to Independent

For federal student aid purposes, you must provide parent information if you answer NO to ALL of the following questions. If you answer YES to ANY of the following questions, you do not have to provide parent information.

  • Were you born before January 1, 1989?
  • As of today, are you married? Answer "Yes" if separated, but not divorced.
  • At the beginning of the 2012-13 school year, will you be working on a master's degree or doctorate degree?
  • Are you currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
  • Are you a veteran of the Armed Forces?
  • Do you have children who receive more than half of their support from you between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013?
  • Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support from you, now and through June 30, 2013?
  • At any time since you turned 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care, or were you a dependent or ward of the court?
  • Has it been decided by a court in your state of legal residence that you are an emancipated minor or that you are in legal guardianship?
  • At any time on or after July 1, 2011, were you determined to be an unacommpanied youth who was homeless, as determined by (a) your high school or district homeless liaison or (b) the director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housting and Urban Development?
  • At any time on or after July 2, 2011 did the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unacommpanied youth who was homelss or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?

Not sure who counts as a "parent" on the FAFSA? See the instructions on the FAFSA or check out "Who is My Parent When I Fill Out the FAFSA? at

last update 02/07/2012


More Quick Links