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FAQs for Prospective Students and Their Parents

FAFSA and CSS Profile
Merit-Based Aid
Outside Scholarships
Withdrawal from the College and Refund Policy
Satisfactory Academic Progress
Tax information for scholarships, fellowships, grants, and tuition reductions
Income Fluctuations due to COVID-19 in 2020

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 FAFSA can be completed online ( and signed with an FSA User ID and Password. The FAFSA can be printed and mailed in to FAFSA if you prefer. For help filling out the FAFSA you can call 1-800-433-3243 (TTY users call 1-800-730-8913) or go to

The federal government does not award financial aid; individual schools do this based on the analysis of information provided by you on the FAFSA. To obtain financial aid (i.e., federal loans, Pell grant, work-study, or institutional grants) from W&M, including a PLUS loan, you must file the FAFSA each year. The FAFSA is not required for consideration of Merit scholarships.

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, you can contact The College Board with your questions as well (1-844-202-0524). The CSS Profile is not required for the consideration of Merit scholarships.

Do I need to file a FAFSA and CSS Profile for Merit Scholarships?
No, you do not need to file either application (the FAFSA or the CSS Profile) to be considered for Merit Scholarships offered by William and Mary. These applications are only necessary if you are seeking a need-based financial aid award.

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. If you do not have your tax return transcript, we can accept signed copies of the Federal 1040 tax return. 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 turnaround. However, the faster you can get the required documents to us, the faster we can complete your aid package.

Please DO NOT email documents; we do not want you to open yourself up to a personal data breach. We have a secure online upload option through our one-way DropBox for those that wish to submit information electronically. Also, you can fax or mail documents to us (you don't need to "overnight" documents). If you decide to mail documents and want to track your mailing, you can send them priority or certified mail. Of course, if it is convenient you are welcome to bring forms to our office in person during normal business hours (Monday - Friday from 8a - 5p *please note that we are closed from noon to 1p for our staff to have lunch). Timeliness in this process will give you the most information possible with which to make enrollment decisions.

William and Mary Financial Aid 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 the Federal Direct Student 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?
Good News! The FAFSA now operates on a prior prior year analysis; this means you should have already filed your taxes that are required for this current year's FAFSA. Failing to meet the deadline could disqualify you from consideration for grant aid. We do not require Tax Transcripts or W&M 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 put your student Id# (starts with 931) on 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 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, or calling 1-800-4-FEDAID.
  • If we requested more information after your FAFSA was received, you need to provide us with the documentation as soon as possible.

Don't hesitate to get in touch with us at 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/requested 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 14 days after acceptance
  • Entering transfers - one week to 14 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 as soon as possible. All W&M grant funds may be committed by the time we receive your application, but you can still receive the option to borrow 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 2022-2023 academic year:

  1. Were you born before January 1, 1999?
  2. Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?
  3. Will you be enrolled in a graduate or professional program in 2022-2023?
  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 legal guardianship? (Legal guardianship is determined by the courts, this would not be a relationship between parent and child.) * In most cases, custody does not qualify; contact your Financial Aid Counselor if you have concerns.
  11. At any time after the age of 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care, or were you a dependent or ward of the court?
  12. At any time on or after July 1, 2021, 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 applying. 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.  

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 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 affect 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, change in cost due to Study Abroad/Domestic Study Away, 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 payout.

How does my budget/Cost of Attendance work?
The budget you see on your financial aid award screen in Banner Self-service is made up of more than just your tuition & fees and room & board. We include figures that make up an estimate of the full cost of attendance (CoA) for your 9 months at the College each academic year. The CoA is a piece of the formula we use to calculate your need to process your award: 

Establishing Financial Need

The items that make up your CoA are

•    Tuition & fees (actual)
•    Room & board (weighted average)
•    Books & supplies (estimation)
•    Personal expenses (estimation)
•    Travel to and from the College (estimation)

The weighted average we use for room & board means that your actual charges are likely to differ from what we use in your CoA. We will not change this amount if you choose to live in a more expensive room or use a more expensive meal plan.

I was in Banner Self-Service to accept my financial aid and I inadvertently accepted the Federal Work-Study. I don't want to do Work-Study. What do I do?
If you realize that you do not want to take advantage of this opportunity, you don't have to. You can email your financial aid counselor to let them know you want this declined for you. 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 for now. When our office is ready to begin the review of your information, we will send a request for all the necessary Verification documents. 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 a 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, the student can 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 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 six 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. If 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, or fax a copy of your award letter to the Bursar's Office (NOT Financial Aid).

What are the College's withdrawal and refund policy?
Student Accounts has information regarding a 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, managed by the Dean of Student's Office. Entering students will have up to 10 semesters in which to complete the program and receive financial assistance. Transfer students will also have 10 semesters, which will be the total of the semester(s) taken at previous school(s), plus those completed at W&M. Only courses that count toward your academic degree may be counted in the number of hours required to receive federal assistance. Students placed on Academic Suspension are not eligible for federal financial aid. Students may appeal this as part of the academic reinstatement process. 

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 the full amount of financial aid they were initially awarded. 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. Students admitted through the Flex-Track program or planning to enroll 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 degrees. Students will have 10 semesters of grant aid eligibility, 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. The W&M Financial Operations Office issues the 1098-T each year in January. Students should be able to view their 1098-T by logging in to myWM. Once logged in, select the 'Student' tab, click on 'Student Account', click on '1098T Tax Notification', enter tax year, and submit. If you received a 1098-T from the Executive MBA Program-Business School Foundation, then you will need to contact The School of Business directly at (757) 221-2294.

My Income fluctuated significantly due to COVID-19 from 2020 to 2021. Should I be concerned?
W&M requires the FAFSA/VASA to be filed annually for consideration of financial aid eligibility. This is not necessary to receive W&M Scholars, Posse Scholars, or 1693 awards. Your 2022-23 financial aid eligibility was determined using information from your 2020 tax information. If you/your family experienced a reduction of Income in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, then the financial aid eligibility for 2022-223 may change in 2023-24 when the 2021 tax information is used on the FAFSA. We have created a webpage to address the implications of fluctuating Income.