How To Apply For Financial Aid & FAFSA | Webster University

How To Apply For Financial Aid & FAFSA

Determine your eligibility for need-based aid

  1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and designate Webster as a recipient of your FAFSA information by indicating our Title IV code of 002521.  Your application (file) must be complete by February 1 for maximum consideration of gift and student employment assistance. Applications completed after February 1 will be awarded from remaining funds. Student loan applications are accepted throughout the academic year. However, early application is encouraged.
  2. Complete a Webster University Financial Aid Application.

If additional information is required to process your file, you will be notified by the Financial Aid Office. Once all information is received, you will receive an award letter in the mail.

Award information is also available online via Connections.

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Tips to remember when completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA

  • Priority deadline for maximum consideration is February 1.
  • Funds are limited and awarded on a first come basis.
  • You must apply for aid every year.
  • Missing the on-time deadline will limit the amount of aid for which you are considered.
  • You can complete the tax form information using estimated figures. If need be, do this rather than miss the deadline. Quickly respond to all requests for information.
  • Put your name and student ID number on all documents.
  • Keep a copy of all documents. Keep a record of all previous loans, including promissory notes and disclosure statements.
  • Ask questions if you do not understand!
  • Make sure you request official copies of all prior transcripts to be sent directly to Webster University St. Louis home campus, 470 East Lockwood Ave., St. Louis, MO 63119.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid must be filed to be eligible for the Unsubsidized Stafford Loan and PLUS Loan programs.

Aid is designed to supplement a family's contribution; therefore a student should be prepared to finance a portion of his/her cost of education.

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Citizen/Eligible Non-citizen

You must be one of the following to receive federal student aid:

  • U.S. citizen
  • U.S. national (includes natives of American Samoa or Swain's Island)
  • U.S. permanent resident who has an I-151, I-551, or I-551C (Alien Registration Receipt Card)

If you're not in one of these categories, you must have an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) showing one of the following designations in order to be eligible:

  • "Refugee"
  • "Asylum Granted"
  • "Indefinite Parole" and/or "Humanitarian Parole"
  • "Cuban-Haitian Entrant, Status Pending"
  • "Conditional Entrant (valid only if issued before April 1, 1980)

If you have only a Notice of Approval to Apply for Permanent Residence (I-171 or I-464), you aren't eligible for federal student aid.

If you're in the United States on an F1 or F2 student visa only, or on a J1 or J2 exchange visitor visa only, you can't get federal student aid. Also, persons with G series visas (pertaining to international organizations) are not eligible for federal student aid.

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Which programs may I apply for by completing the FAFSA Application?

Undergraduate (no previous bachelor's degree) students may apply for:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
  • Direct Stafford Loan (Subsidized and Unsubsidized)
  • Parent PLUS Loan
  • Federal Work Study
  • Webster University Grant
  • Webster University Student Employment
  • Missouri Student Grant State aid programs

Graduate/professional students, as well as undergraduates with a prior bachelor's degree, may apply for:

  • Direct Stafford Loan
  • Graduate PLUS

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What is Financial Need?

Federal and state aid is awarded on the basis of financial need. Need is the difference between the cost of education (tuition, fees, room, board, books and supplies, and other educational expenses) and the amount the student and his/her family can afford to pay, known as the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is determined by the federal processor after evaluating the information you provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

The federal processing agency considers factors such as income, assets, family size, and number of students in college at least half-time when determining a family's ability to contribute to the cost of attendance. If you feel that your family has unusual expenses or circumstances that may affect your ability to meet your EFC, you should send a letter explaining these circumstances to the Financial Aid Office.

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Common Errors when Applying

Most mistakes are made because students and/or parents either don't follow or don't understand the application instructions. While few errors will cause you to have to start all over, most errors will significantly delay the processing of either your FAFSA at the federal level, your award at the college level, or both.

Please read the instructions that accompany the application. Then, if you are not clear on a question, take the time to call either your school or the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED AID (1-800-433-3243). The few extra minutes it takes could save you weeks of delays!

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Common Application Errors

About Yourself

  • Be sure your Social Security number is accurate and written clearly on the form. The processing center and Webster University use this number to drive the application process; an error here can cause serious delays.
  • If you have not completed your first bachelor's degree by July 1 then this question on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid should be answered with a "no." Read this carefully.

Your Plans

  • Mark your appropriate enrollment status. Full-time equals at least 12 credit hours in a semester or at least six credit hours in an eight-week term (at least nine credit hours in a semester or at least five credit hours in a nine-week term for graduate and professional students); three-quarters time equals at least nine to 11 credit hours in a semester; half-time equals at least six credit hours in a semester or at least three credit hours in an eight-week term (at least five credit hours in a semester or at least three credit hours in a nine-week term for graduate and professional students).
  • You should enter any Veterans educational benefits that you will receive during the academic year. This includes reservists, national guardsmen, previous active duty, and dependents of Veterans. This information can affect your aid eligibility if not reported correctly.

Household Information

  • If you are a dependent student list the marital status of the parent that you live with. This means if your biological parents are divorced and you live with your mother who has remarried then her status is "married." Given this same scenario, when completing the income information both the mother's income and her husband's must be listed on the application.
  • The number of people that you list as being part of your household should be people who are being supported by that household.


  • All income information needs to be completed. If the income is not applicable to you please place a zero in the appropriate space. A blank may cause a delay in processing.

Asset information

  • Again, do not leave any of these questions blank. A zero indicates none or not applicable. A blank indicates you skipped the question to check a figure and didn't come back to it. Many people who think they do not have to complete this section cause their aid to be delayed when we have to request it. If you complete the section but were not required to, the information will not be used in the calculation.

Housing Code

  • We base your cost of attendance on your housing code. If you do not complete this question, we may assume a cost less than what you may be eligible to receive.

Releases and Signatures

  • Webster University's Title IV Code is 002521.
  • If you wish your counselor to be able to discuss your financial aid with your parent or spouse, then we must have a written release to that effect signed by you for that award year noted on the Webster University application. There are no exceptions.
  • Last, but certainly not least, please be sure you electronically "sign" your FAFSA. If you are a dependent student, or if your parents' information was required, then at least one parent must also "sign".

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The Appeal Process

Often a student or parent will find that the information required on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid does not realistically reflect their circumstances or their ability to provide the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). When this happens, a student may choose to submit an appeal to the Financial Aid Office in St. Louis requesting their situation be reviewed by first sending an email to

Appeals may be one of two types. In the first and most common type of appeal the student provides additional information that will assist in determining the student's eligibility for aid. The office should be notified in writing of changes in financial circumstances resulting from one or more of the following conditions:

  • Divorce or separation.
  • Retirement.
  • Death of a family member.
  • Loss of employment or significant reduction in income or benefits.
  • Other unusual expenses or circumstances.

The second type of appeal is called a dependency appeal. This appeal is for a student who feels that they should be considered independent from their parent(s) for student aid purposes, even though they do not meet any of the automatic independent criteria as outlined in the FAFSA. Dependency appeals may be submitted only if you are in danger of abuse, either physical or mental, from your parent(s), or you have been abandoned by them (supporting documentation is required).

A variety of documentation is required for a dependency appeal. Please contact your counselor for clarification on required documentation. Approval of a dependency appeal does NOT guarantee that status in future years. Dependency appeals must be re-certified EVERY YEAR. You should submit a complete dependency appeal with a completed FAFSA or Renewal Application directly to the Financial Aid Office in St. Louis. Your appeal may be reviewed by a committee of administrators. Additional documentation may be required to substantiate your appeal.

As you can see, there are various situations that might call for an appeal of either your Expected Family Contribution or dependency status. Our mission is to provide funds to the best of our ability to students who truly need financial assistance to attend college. Often we cannot do that unless we are fully aware of unusual circumstances that may exist. If you have any questions about whether a particular situation might qualify, you should discuss it with your counselor.

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