What is the FAFSA and Why is it Important?
The FAFSA is a free federal application that determines your eligibility to receive receive state and federal aid, as well as need-based aid from Widener, that can make a world of difference in paying for college and putting you on the inside track to a rewarding and successful career.
The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Federal Student Aid offers billions of dollars in aid to qualified undergraduate students who plan to enroll in a two- or four-year college. Even if you think your family makes too much money to qualify for financial aid, you should still complete the FAFSA. There is no income cut-off and even families with a higher income may qualify for some type of aid.
You and at least one parent or caregiver will need a separate FSA ID to access the Federal Student Aid's online system and serve as your legal signatures. Make sure to create your unique FSA IDs before you get started. Our school code is 003313.
Submit the FAFSA
When is the FAFSA Due?
There is no hard deadline for the FAFSA, but it is a good idea to complete it as soon as it is made available in October of the year prior to your planned enrollment because some funding is provided on a first-come, first-served basis. It is not a requirement to have applied to Widener before submitting your FAFSA - so knock the FAFSA off your list first and then submit your online application to Widener. You'll want to include Widener University in the section of the FAFSA that asks which schools you are interested in applying to. Our school code is 003313.
The FAFSA is an important part of the information necessary for Widener's financial aid services team to prepare your financial aid offer. Your Student Aid Report will be sent directly to both you and to us after it has been processed.
2023/2024 Academic Year Priority Filing Dates
- Fall 2023 Freshmen – November 15, 2022 or sooner
- Fall 2023 Transfer Students – February 1, 2023 or sooner
Missed the priority date? That's okay! We will still continue to process FAFSAs as they are received, but you may be subject to reduced funding.
How Do I Complete the FAFSA?
The following items are needed to complete the FAFSA:
- Student's social security number, and if applicable, alien registration number
- Parents' and student's W2 and/or 1099 forms from two years prior
- Federal tax return from two years prior. All families are encouraged to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to save time and reduce errors providing tax information.
- Current information related to assets (e.g., bank statements, stocks, bonds)
- Household information (e.g., household size, number of family members in college, parent marital status, student marital status)
- FSA ID: This is a unique ID that will provides access to Federal Student Aid's online system and can serve as a legal signature. Both the student and at least one parent need separate FSA IDs.
If at any time you have questions or are unsure what to do, know that we are here to help. Please contact our Office of Financial Aid Services for assistance.
Who is Eligible for Financial Aid
In order to receive a financial aid offer, students must meet the following criteria:
- Have earned a high school diploma or have a GED
- Be older than 17 years of age, Pennsylvania's compulsory high school attendance age
- Not concurrently enrolled in an elementary or secondary institution
How is Financial Need Calculated?
A simple formula shows how it works:
Cost of Attendance
– Expected Family Contribution
= Financial Need
Common Financial Aid Terms
- Cost of Attendance: Estimates direct and indirect costs for attending the university (e.g., tuition, room and board, technology fees, books)
- Expected Family Contribution (EFC): Estimated financial contribution from your family based on your FAFSA
- Financial Need: Cost of attendance less EFC as determined by your FAFSA; it is this figure on which your financial aid offer is calculated
- Financial Aid Offer: Lists the breakdown of cost, types and amounts of aid awarded, and expected out of pocket expense
What Should I Expect After I Submit the FAFSA?
You can review your process status online and will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) within a few days after submission. This will summarize all submitted information and allow you to review for any required changes.
The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Federal Student Aid will let us know once your FAFSA has been processed so we can begin our review.
If your aid offer includes a federal loan and you are a first-time borrower, there are a few more steps to take in order to receive the loan. Learn more regarding loan financing.