WGU is approved by the U.S. Department of Education to offer federal student aid in most of our degree programs. Because of our more affordable tuition, WGU students are able to graduate without large amounts of student debt to repay. If you qualify for and accept federal student aid, it will cover most, if not all, of your direct education expenses. To be eligible for federal student aid (grants, loans, and work-study funds), you have to meet certain requirements. Visit Basic Eligibility Criteria (opens new window) for more information on federal student aid eligibility.
To receive consideration for any federal student aid program, a student must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) (opens new window). This application must be completed each award year to establish financial aid eligibility.
Students are eligible for aid through WGU only if they are admitted to a WGU competency-based program of study and maintain a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) (opens new window).
WGU participates in the following federal grant and loan programs:
The Pell Grant does not have to be repaid and may be awarded to students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree. It is available to those with the greatest need, which is calculated based upon income, number of dependents, and other factors reported on the FAFSA (opens new window). Students may receive the Federal Pell Grant for no more than 12 terms (roughly six years). Visit Federal Pell Grants (opens new window) for more detailed information on eligibility.
Under the Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship Act, a Pell-eligible student whose parent or guardian died in the line of duty while performing as a public safety officer is eligible to receive a maximum Pell Grant for the award year. In addition to having a Pell-eligible EFC, the student must be less than 24 years of age or enrolled at an institution of higher education at the time of their parent or guardian's death to qualify for this scholarship.
IASG does not have to be repaid and may be awarded to students who were either less than 24 years old or enrolled in college (at least part-time) when a parent or guardian died as a result of U.S. military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001. In addition, students must not be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant based on their Expected Family Contribution (EFC) but meet the remaining Pell eligibility requirements. The grant award is equal to the amount of a maximum Federal Pell Grant for the award year but cannot exceed your cost of attendance for that award year. Visit Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grants (opens new window) for more detailed information on eligibility for IASG .
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) does not have to be repaid and may be awarded to students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree. This grant is available for undergraduates with exceptional financial need. Limited funding has been given to WGU for this program; therefore, not all eligible students will receive this grant. Visit Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (opens new window) for more detailed information on eligibility for FSEOG
The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant provides grants of up to $4000 per year to students who agree to teach for at least four years within the first eight years of their graduation in a high-need field, in a school serving low-income students.
Note: If you are pursuing a second bachelor’s degree, you are ineligible for the TEACH Grant. In addition, if you accept a TEACH Grant and choose not to work in a government-approved school, all TEACH Grant funds you received will be converted to a Direct Unsubsidized Loan that must be repaid with interest charged from the date of each TEACH Grant disbursement.
The Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program provides part-time employment while students are enrolled in an institution to help pay for education expenses.
Some students may qualify for a work-study position in states where WGU has a state affiliate provided they meet the general eligibility criteria (opens new window). FWS is a need-based program that allows students to earn money to help offset the costs of attending WGU. Limited funding has been given to WGU for this program; therefore, not all eligible students will receive an award. Priority will be given to students who indicate “yes” to the FAFSA question about Work Study. The maximum award is the cost of attendance (COA) minus expected family contribution (EFC) and other financial assistance. This program encourages community service work and work related to the student’s course of study.
FWS employment is governed by employment conditions, including the rate of pay that is appropriate and reasonable according to the type of work performed, the geographic region, the employee’s proficiency, and any applicable federal, state, or local law, including state or locally established minimum wage rates. Visit Work-Study Jobs (opens new window) for more information on FWS .
The Federal Direct Loan Program (DL) is the largest federal student loan program, through which eligible students and parents borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education to help cover the cost of higher education. Students are only allowed to borrow the annual limit up to the Cost of Attendance based on their current grade level. There are lifetime loan limits also set by the Department of Education. This may limit your borrowing eligibility. WGU students may be eligible to receive the following Direct Loan programs:
Direct Subsidized Loans are given to eligible undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need. The interest is paid by the U.S. Department of Education while you are enrolled in school at least half time or during deferment periods. If you did not have an outstanding balance of principal or interest on a Direct Loan or FFEL Program Loan on July 1, 2013 or after, you are considered a first-time borrower and your eligibility for Direct Subsidized Loans is limited to a period not to exceed 150 percent of the length of your educational program. Under certain conditions, if you exceed the 150 percent limit, you may lose the interest subsidy on your existing Direct Subsidized loans.
Direct Unsubsidized Loans are made to eligible undergraduate, graduate, and professional students and is not based on financial need. Therefore, they are available to most WGU students. You are responsible for the interest from the day you borrow the money until you pay off the loan. Students who receive a Direct Subsidized and/or Direct Unsubsidized Loans are subject to the terms and conditions, along with the borrower’s rights and responsibilities disclosed on the Federal Direct Stafford/Unsubsidized Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN) (opens new window). Visit Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loans (opens new window) for more information on eligibility and application for the Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Loan Program .
Direct PLUS Loans are loans made to graduate or professional students and parents of dependent undergraduate students to help pay for education expenses. The borrower (student or parent, in case of Parents PLUS loan) is responsible for interest during all periods.
Graduate students can borrow an amount up to the cost of attendance (COA) minus other estimated financial assistance. The terms and conditions applicable to parent PLUS loans also applies to graduate PLUS loans.
Applicants are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and are given an opportunity to request the maximum eligibility under the Direct Unsubsidized Loan Program before applying for a graduate Direct PLUS loan. The graduate PLUS loan will be placed into deferment (opens new window) while a graduate student is enrolled and for an additional six months after the date the student ceases to be enrolled on at least half-time basis.
Students who receive a graduate PLUS Loan are subject to the terms and conditions, along with the borrower’s rights and responsibilities disclosed on the Federal Direct PLUS Loan and Master Promissory Note (MPN).
If you are a dependent undergraduate student, your parents may apply for a PLUS loan to assist with your educational expenses. The application process includes completion and submission of a PLUS Loan application by your parents and completion and submission of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the family. The application process is completed through the Federal Direct Loan Program. This loan is based on credit worthiness as determined by the U.S. Department of Education.
The yearly limit is equal to the cost of attendance (COA) minus any other financial aid received. Interest is charged on the loan from the date first disbursement is made until the loan is paid in full. The parent borrower has the option to begin repayment either within 60 days from the date the loan is fully disbursed or may request to defer repayment while the dependent student is enrolled at an eligible institution and for an additional six months after the date the student ceases to be enrolled on at least half-time basis. Interest will accrue on the loan during the deferment. Generally, the same deferment or forbearance (opens new window) provisions that apply to Subsidized/Unsubsidized loans also apply to PLUS loans.
Parents of dependent students who receive a PLUS loan are subject to the terms and conditions, along with the borrower’s rights and responsibilities disclosed on the Federal Direct PLUS Loan and Master Promissory Note (MPN) (opens new window).
Visit PLUS Loans (opens new window) for more information on eligibility and application for the Federal Direct PLUS Loan.
Federal Direct Loans are charged origination or loan fees, which are deducted from the loan proceeds by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Learn more about loan fees (opens new window) for Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and PLUS Loans.
The interest rates for Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and PLUS Loans are calculated each year based on the 10-year Treasury Bill rate plus an add-on for which the first disbursement is made on or after July 1 through the following June 30.
See the latest interest rates (opens new window) for Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and PLUS loans.
See the historical interest rates (opens new window) for Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and PLUS loans.
In addition to federal grants and loans, you may be eligible for financial aid from your state. See the current list of states and their respective websites (opens new window) for information regarding the state grants WGU students may be eligible to receive, how to apply, and other requirements.
State grant programs typically have strict application deadlines for funding eligibility. In many cases, completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) (opens new window) is the first step for state grant applications.
Through the generosity of numerous corporations and foundations, plus special federal government appropriations, WGU maintains a robust program of scholarships made available to qualified students. For the list of WGU General Scholarships and how to apply for a specific scholarship, see the Scholarships page (opens new window).
Private loans are generally more costly than federal loans and may be available to both students and parents who need assistance beyond their federal and state financial aid eligibility. The University does not endorse a particular lender and encourages that a private loan only be considered after all federal and state financial aid options have been exhausted. Private loans are made through private lenders and are not subsidized or guaranteed by the federal government. These loans may have higher rates, and are subject to credit review and other individual terms and conditions. Visit Federal Versus Private Loans (opens new window) for more information on the difference between federal and private loans.
Article Number: 20419, 1065