Who Can Receive Federal Student Aid?

The Financial Aid Office at Wilmington University administers all major aid programs  and strives to ensure access to educational opportunity for those in greatest financial need.

There are aid programs available for both undergraduate students and graduate students.

To receive aid, including Federal Direct Stafford and PLUS Loans, a student must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year.
  • Must comply with Wilmington University academic requirements – (link to probation/suspension breakdowns)
  • Must not be in default on an educational loan and must not owe a repayment on an adjusted federal grant.
  • Must be enrolled in an eligible degree program and taking courses that pertain to that specific program.
  • Must be enrolled at least half-time (Undergraduate 12 or more credits is full time, 9 to11 credits is three quarter time, 6 to 8 credits is half time and 1 to 5 credits is less than half time. Graduate at the 500 level or above, 9 or more credits is full time, 7 to 8 is three quarter time and 5 to 6 half time).
  • If male and age 18-25, must be registered for Selective Service.
  • Must be a citizen or eligible non-citizen with a valid Social Security number.
  • Must have a high school diploma.

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) that is generated by you and your student filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is part of a Federal process.  The government takes into account all of the items included in the FAFSA in order to generate that EFC number.  The EFC is only a guide in determining the family’s contribution towards the education of their student.  The financial Aid Office determines the student’s need by subtracting the EFC from the Cost of Attendance (COA).  For example:

If a student’s EFC is $16,000 and the COA (that includes tuition, fees, and miscellaneous expenses such as books) is $20,000 the school can award $4,000 in need based aid.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that the student will receive $4,000 in aid, nor does it mean that if the student is awarded $12,000 in aid the family is still responsible for a payment of $16,000.  The EFC is only an arbitrary number used as a guide.

Some form of Financial Aid is available to all eligible students, whether it is “gift” aid in the form of grants and scholarships or “self-help” in the form of loans and work-study.  The process of obtaining aid requires some attention on the part of the student and parent.  Being accurate on the FAFSA can save a considerable amount of time, especially when it comes to filling in the student’s social security number and date of birth; an error of that caliber can cause a delay up to 4 weeks on the student’s package being complete.  Making copies of the completed FAFSA before it is mailed out is an excellent idea.  Pay special attention to any mailings sent out by our financial aid office, as well as the Department of Education.

Some students entering the University late or transferring in may experience problems with us receiving a copy of their Student Aid Report (SAR).  If you apply for financial aid by entering our school code on the FAFSA before you apply for admission here, chances are your SAR data will not reach us. If this is the case please contact us.


Students should apply as early as possible before the beginning of each award year. For example, students should complete the FAFSA as soon after January 1 as possible for the award year that will begin the following fall. A good rule of thumb is to complete the FAFSA in conjunction with your taxes.  Since federal, state, and institutional funds are limited they are awarded on a first-come, first-complete basis.