FAQs for Prospective Students and Their Parents

FAFSA and CSS Profile
Awards
Verification
Merit Based Aid
Outside Scholarships
Withdrawal from the College and Refund Policy
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Tax information for scholarships, fellowships, grants and tuition reductions
The Q.A. Program

What is the FAFSA?
The federal government's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) provides the Financial Aid Office with complete, consistent financial data analyzed within policy established by the federal government. The federal government does not award financial aid; individual schools do, based on the analysis of information provided by you on the FAFSA. To obtain any type of financial aid from W&M including a PLUS loan, you must file the FAFSA each year.

How will I know my FAFSA has been processed?
You will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) generated from the information you provide on your FAFSA. Within seven to ten days after your receipt of the SAR, we will receive the same information electronically. Keep the SAR for your records. To check on the status of your application, you can call 800-433-3243.

I filled out the FAFSA. Now what?
The school will receive the application and process the information you provided. It can take several weeks for us to receive the processed data, so do not be concerned if you do not hear from us immediately. If you feel that it is taking longer than anticipated, please contact our office and we will check the status of your application.

What is the CSS Profile?
The CSS Profile is a supplemental online form required by many schools for financial aid processing for programs beyond federal aid.  It collects additional data that the FAFSA does not.  Once you complete the Profile, College Board will submit your data to us.  You cannot change the data once you have submitted it; please send any corrections to us in writing with the appropriate documentation. The College Board has information on the process of completing the CSS Profile.

Does W&M want my tax forms?
We do not require tax forms from everyone. After we receive your FAFSA, we may request additional information including a tax transcript. We will send this request to you via email. Please remember to sign everything that you send to us. Please do NOT send anything unless we request it.

I filled out a FAFSA, and William & Mary asked that I complete a supplemental form or submit additional documentation. When is that due?
The Office of Financial Aid expects that supplemental forms and documentation be sent back to us within two weeks. We will not process your financial aid package until we receive copies of all requested documentation, including the supplemental form and any relevant tax forms. We realize that it is a tight turn around. However, the faster you can get the required documents to us, the faster we can complete your aid package. This gives you the most information possible with which to make enrollment decisions.

2013-2014 Forms
2014-2015 Forms

I want to apply to more than ten schools. What do I do?
W&M only accepts FAFSA forms that have been sent by the federal processor. We do not offer awards based on a paper copy of your student aid report (SAR); do not send one. To send your FAFSA to more than ten schools, you will have to make a correction and remove your first school codes after they have received your processed form. You will then need to add the remaining school codes.

I have some money put away for this year, but next year I may need some aid. Will I still be eligible?
Any student who submits the FAFSA will be considered for financial aid. Also, you are eligible for loans even if you chose not to take them during the previous year.

Since I have yet to file my federal income taxes, should I still complete the FAFSA?
If you have not filed your taxes and the FAFSA deadline is approaching, you need to submit your best estimates and complete the FAFSA. Failing to meet the deadline could disqualify you from consideration for grant aid.  We do not require tax forms from everyone. After we receive your FAFSA, we may request additional information including a tax transcript. We will send this request to you via email. Please remember to sign everything that you send to us. Please do NOT send anything unless we request it.  We will only request a tax transcript if we deem it necessary to verify your submitted tax information.

I applied by the March 1 deadline. Why haven't I received an award notification?
This could have happened for different reasons:

  • If you did not list WM (code 003705) as a recipient of the FAFSA information, it would not have been sent to us. You can check on this by going to the FAFSA website at fafsa.ed.gov, or calling 1-800-4-FEDAID.
  • If we requested more information after your FAFSA was received, you need to provide us the documentation as soon as possible.

Please contact us at aid@wm.edu if you have more questions about your status.

We will begin sending out email notifications of financial aid awards approximately one week after admission notifications are sent.

What is the schedule for award notifications?
Financial Aid Award notification emails are sent at different times for different groups of students. Below you will find an estimated schedule for emails to be sent, provided all the necessary  information was available to the Office of Financial Aid to award a financial aid package.  You will be able to log on to your Banner Self-Service account to view your award.

  • Entering freshman - one week to 10 days after acceptance
  • Entering transfers - one week to 10 days after acceptance
  • Returning undergraduates - late June
  • Entering Law - mid March
  • Returning Law - late April
  • Entering MBA - mid April
  • Returning MBA - late June
  • Education & VIMS - late June
  • Art & Sciences - late June

 

I haven't applied for aid at all. What do I need to do? Can I still get grant money?
You need to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), at fafsa.ed.gov, as soon as possible.  It is possible that all W&M grant funds will be committed by the time we receive your application, but you can still receive student and parent loans.

My parents don't claim me on their tax return, nor do they give me money. Can I file my financial aid application as "Independent"?
According to federal regulations, you must answer "yes" to one of the following questions to be considered "Independent" for financial aid purposes during the 2013-2014 academic year:

  1. Were you born before January 1, 1991?
  2. Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
  3. Will you be enrolled in a graduate or professional program in 2014-2015?
  4. Were you married on the date when you filed the FAFSA?
  5. Are you an orphan or ward of the court?
  6. Do you have legal dependents other than a spouse or children?
  7. Do you have children who receive more than half of their support from you?
  8. Are you currently serving on active duty in the US Armed Forces for purposes other than training?
  9. Are you an emancipated minor?
  10. Are you currently or were you in a legal guardianship?
  11. At any time after the age of 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care, or were you a dependent of ward of the court?
  12. At any time on or after July 1, 2013, did your high school, school district homeless liaison, director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the US HUD, or director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?

If you do not meet any of these conditions, you are considered a dependent. Undergraduates cannot declare themselves independent of their parents due to family disagreement, living arrangements, or parental unwillingness to contribute to the cost of attendance. If you have further questions, please contact our office.

My parents are divorced. My father claims me on his taxes, but I live with my mother. Whose information should I use when completing the FAFSA?
The custodial parent's  information is used when filing the application. However, there are times that we request certain information from the non-custodial parent.

The custodial parent is the one with whom you reside more than 50% of the time. It does not matter which parent claims you on their tax return. E.g.: If your father claims you on his taxes but you live with your mother most of the time, your mother is your custodial parent.  We generally do not ask for detailed information about the non-custodial parent.

I'm going to be married during the upcoming school year. Can I fill out the FAFSA as "married" now, since I will be in a few months?
You must indicate your marital status as of the date you are completing the FAFSA. You cannot update your marital status once you have filed your application.

I have been told that I will not qualify for financial aid if my parents earn more than $30,000 (or $40,000 or $50, 000, etc.) Is this true?
There is no income level at which a student will not qualify for financial aid. The need analysis procedure determines each student's financial need based upon a number of variables: income, family size, number in college, assets, etc. All students are urged to apply for financial aid for an accurate and professional evaluation, regardless of parents' income level, because income is only one consideration. At the very least, every student who files a FAFSA is eligible for an Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan.

How can I pay the balance on my student account after all financial aid has been applied?
The College's Tuition Payment Plan is available to any student with at least $100 in charges on his/her student account.  The plan is available by the semester, and it will automatically divide the balance due into four installment payments.

Will my full need be met?
The College's undergraduate aid policy is centered on meeting as much as possible of a student's demonstrated financial need.  For Virginia residents, we generally meet students' full need, but we but have gaps in offers for most nonresident students. 

Once I receive my financial aid award notification, is there any reason it could change later?
There are a number of circumstances that could have an effect on your original award notification. Verification of your application, change in your family's financial situation, failure to maintain academic progress, notification after your award of outside aid such as a scholarship, or not enrolling for the required number of hours to receive aid through programs awarded are all examples of things that could change your award.

The Pell Grant award listed on my award is different from the amount I received. Why?
Final Pell Grant awards are based on your actual enrollment status and are contingent upon verification of any discrepancies in data you provide on your financial aid application. For example, a change in your household size from your original application may affect the amount you will receive. Also, the amount on your award is made assuming that you will enroll full time. If you enroll for fewer hours, your award will be reduced accordingly.  If you have not registered for your final class for the fall semester, your award will temporarily reflect a lower Pell Grant amount.  Once you have registered, the proper amount will pay out.

I just looked at Banner Self-Service to check on my loans, and it says I have accepted Federal Work-Study (listed as wkstd). I don't want to do Work-Study. What do I do?
Work-study is automatically accepted for the student. If you do not want to take advantage of this opportunity, you don't have to. Simply don't apply for a work-study job in the fall. You certainly may accept jobs off-campus or on-campus jobs that are not work-study.

I have received my SAR from the federal processor, and it says that I have been selected for verification. What next?
Nothing now. However, you still may be selected later by the Financial Aid Office to participate in our Quality Assurance sample. Therefore, you need to have all documentation for you and/or your parents available if requested.

What types of merit aid are available from the College of William & Mary?
There are three merit scholarships; each is handled through the Admission Office.

William & Mary Scholars Award - The William & Mary Scholars Award is presented each year to a small, select group of students who have overcome unusual adversity and/or would add to the diversity of the campus community. All applicants are considered for the award, and no separate application is needed. Awards are worth the amount of in-state tuition and fees and are renewable each year as long as the recipient remains in good academic standing at the College.

Monroe Scholars - The James Monroe Scholars Program is a designation offered each year to the top 10-15% of all admitted students to the College of William & Mary. All first-year applicants are considered for this program and no separate application is needed. Notification is sent from the Office of Undergraduate Admission in March. Monroe Scholars receive a $3000 research stipend to explore an academic area of their choice. Other benefits to this program include: special housing option during freshman year, special consideration in the appointment of freshman advisors, priority course registration and the invitation to take part in a series of additional seminars. If an enrolling William & Mary student is not offered the Monroe Scholar designation during the admission process, it is possible for the student to become a Monroe Scholar at the end of his or her freshman year. Rising sophomores who have done exceptionally well academically (typically a cumulative GPA of a 3.8) are invited to apply for seats in the Monroe Scholars Program through the Charles Center.  

1693 Scholars Program - The 1693 Scholars Program is William & Mary's most selective scholarship. Finalists typically rank in the top 1% of their class, score a 1500 and higher on the SAT (Critical Reading plus Math) and take the most demanding curriculum available to them. While some of the variables that influence 1693 Scholar designations are quantitative, others are more subjective. These include students' application essays, extracurricular involvements, leadership, letters of recommendation, and evidence of intellectual engagement. In conjunction with the Office of Undergraduate Admission, faculty members will administer the selection process.

All students who apply to William & Mary through Early Decision (Nov. 1 deadline) or Regular Decision (Jan. 1 deadline) will be reviewed for the 1693 Scholars Program.

The 1693 Scholars Program will provide four students per year with extensive benefits, including full tuition, general fees and room and board annually for Virginia residents and the equivalent amount annually for non-Virginia residents.

What should I do with my outside scholarship checks?
If you are receiving any financial aid from our office, you will first want to contact us directly with the amounts of your scholarships.  Please use our Outside Scholarship Reporting Form (pdf) to do this.  Outside monies may affect your original financial aid award, so we would like to inform you of any changes as early as possible. You can expect to receive an email with a revised award announcement letting you know that we have made changes made to your award.

After contacting the Financial Aid Office, please mail the scholarship check(s) to The College of William & Mary, Office of the Bursar, P.O. Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA, 23187. Include the student’s ID number on the check. The scholarship check may have been made payable to the student, College, or co-payable to the College and the student. In the event that the student needs to endorse the check, the Bursar’s Office will notify the student via email to come to their office for the check endorsement. The scholarship will be posted to the student’s account to reduce any tuition, room, or board charges as specified in the scholarship award.

If you will not receive the scholarship check until after enrollment verification, please mail, email for fax a copy of your award letter to the Bursar's Office (NOT Financial Aid).

What is the College's withdrawal and refund policy?
Student Accounts has information regarding withdrawal from the College and the College's refund policy.

What does it mean to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress?
Federal guidelines require that students receiving federal financial aid make satisfactory progress towards their degree. In general, satisfactory progress regulations mirror the College’s continuance standards.

Does quality point average relate to financial aid?
In general, the required grade point average (GPA) is that which is needed to remain enrolled at William & Mary.

How is academic load related to financial aid?
Undergraduate students must enroll for at least twelve academic credit hours per semester to receive aid as a full-time student. Graduate students must enroll for at least nine academic hours to be considered full-time, and at least five hours to be considered half-time. Aid recipients wishing to be less than full-time should consult with the Financial Aid Office.

What is the period of eligibility for undergraduate students?
Federal guidelines require the establishment of a maximum time frame, or period of eligibility, during which students can receive federal aid. The Financial Aid Office follows the continuance requirements as listed in the Undergraduate Program Catalog. A maximum time frame of five years has been established to recognize the fact that some students need up to ten semesters to complete their degree. Students will have 10 semesters of grant aid eligiblity, which will be the total of the semester(s) taken at previous school(s), plus those completed at W&M.

What is continuation of aid?
The continuation of a student on any financial aid program is subject to the availability of funds. The College is not obligated to meet the financial needs of its students.

What tax-related information should I review?
The IRS Guide for Scholarships, Fellowships and Tuition Reductions is a tax resource. W&M's Bursar's Office issues the 1098 in each year in January. To find out what education tax reductions apply to you, please contact an independent tax advisor.

Does W&M participate in the Q.A. Program?
The W&M Financial Aid Office is a participant in the U.S. Department of Education's Quality Assurance Program; we do not participate in the Federal Verification Program. You do not need to submit the Quality Assurance Worksheet if your SAR indicates that you were selected for verification. If we need additional documents to verify your FAFSA (such as a tax transcript or the quality assurance form), we will send an email request to you.  You must then send all requested documents to us as soon as possible.

The Federal Quality Assurance Program allows our financial aid staff to study our student population and only verify certain FAFSA items that historically have been error-prone for our students.