Financial Aid

Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA)

Welcome Center, 42 W. Warren Avenue,
P.O. Box 2340, Detroit, MI 48202
Telephone: 313-577-2100 or Fax: 313-577-6648

The Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) provides need-based and non-need-based financial aid to help eligible students meet the expenses of their education. Financial aid is intended to supplement, not to replace, students' financial resources. Financial need is determined from the information that students submit on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Descriptions of the specific services that OSFA provides are stated below.

Information concerning scholarships is available online. Wayne State University offers a variety of University-wide scholarships that are awarded based on financial need, scholastic achievement, and/or leadership qualities. To apply for University-wide scholarships, students must complete the online application. Note: Scholarships that have need as a criterion require submission of the FAFSA.

Service Hours: Walk-in service is provided in the lobby of the Welcome Center Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. June through August, appointments and walk-in services end at 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Financial Aid Types

Financial aid at Wayne State University is awarded in the form of a 'package,' or combination of aids, and generally consists of four types: grants, scholarships, loans, and employment. The amount of need-based financial aid that a student may receive cannot exceed his/her financial need, which is based on the information provided on his/her FAFSA. Students may be eligible for non-need-based aid in the form of scholarships or unsubsidized federal loans.


Grants are gift assistance awarded on the basis of financial need and do not require repayment. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is required.


Scholarships are gift assistance awarded on the basis of academic achievement or other special ability and do not require repayment. In some such awards, financial need is a factor.


Loans are money that must be repaid at a future date, usually following graduation or when the student ceases to be enrolled on at least a halftime basis. Need- and non-need-based loans are available.


Work-study is on- or off-campus part-time employment with eligible employers that pays at least the federal minimal wage. Work-study is awarded on the basis of financial need. Students interested in work study should carefully read the Student Guide to On-Campus Employment, which explains the hiring process and the terms and conditions of employment. The Guide is available from the Office of Career Services, located in Room 1001 of the Faculty/Administration Building.

Application for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA)

How and When to Apply for Financial Aid:Each academic year, students applying for financial aid do so by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This is a government agency and the federal processor will electronically transmit the FAFSA data to the University’s Financial Aid Office if the applicant lists the WSU federal code, 002329, on the FAFSA.

Help Completing the FAFSA: Help completing the FAFSA is provided online throughout the application process. Help also is available by telephone from the Federal Student Aid Information Center: 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) during regular business hours (Eastern Time), Monday through Friday.

Application Deadlines

Fall/Winter Application Priority Date: The application priority date for financial aid consideration at WSU for fall and winter semesters is the date by which the FAFSA should be submitted to facilitate determination of student eligibility for financial aid before the beginning of the fall semester. The priority date is not a deadline. Students may submit the FAFSA after the priority date.

The 2017-18 FAFSA can be submitted October 1, 2016 through June 30, 2018.

The 2018-19 FAFSA can be submitted October 1, 2017 through June 30, 2019.

The 2017-18 FAFSA requires 2015 federal tax information. The 2018-19 FAFSA requires 2016 federal tax information. Applicants may be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing the FAFSA. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool will immediately upload tax data to the student and/or the parent section of the FAFSA. This tool cannot be used until one to two weeks after electronically filing a tax return and six to eight weeks after filing a paper tax return.

Spring/Summer Financial Aid: The Office of Student Financial aid will use your 2017-18 FAFSA information to determine your aid eligibility for spring/summer 2018 financial aid and your 2018-19 FAFSA information to determine your eligibility for spring/summer 2019 financial aid. Note: If the FAFSA has been submitted for the academic year, it is not necessary to submit it again for the spring/summer semester.

Academic Calendar: At WSU, the spring/summer semester is the third term of the school year; a new school year begins each September and ends the following August. Thus, the spring/summer semester is considered a separate and concluding part of the previous fall and winter semesters. (Examples: The spring/summer semester 2018 is part of the 2017-18 school year; the spring/summer semester 2019 is part of the 2018-19 school year.)

Financial Need Determination

The Student Aid Report (SAR) lists the financial aid applicant's answers to the questions on the FAFSA. Based on those answers, the SAR either states the student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC) or instructs the student to take additional action which will allow an EFC to be determined. The EFC is a measure of the student's financial strength and is used in determining financial need. The SAR also indicates whether the financial aid application has been selected for the verification process.

How Financial Need Is Determined: To determine financial need, OSFA subtracts the student’s expected family contribution (EFC) from the average cost of attendance (COA) for his/her program at Wayne State University. COA minus EFC equals financial need.

Verification: The process by which an educational institution confirms the accuracy of the data reported on an individual student's FAFSA is called verification. The federal processor selects the FAFSA applications for which the data submitted must be verified. If the federal processor selects a student’s FAFSA for verification, he/she must provide documentation to confirm the information on the FAFSA.

Note: If an application is selected for verification, the student must complete the verification process before his/her eligibility for financial aid can be determined, and therefore, before financial aid can be paid.

The Cost of Attendance (COA): The cost of attendance (COA), which is also called a budget, components include: tuition, fees, books and supplies, housing allowance (based on the living arrangements reported on the FAFSA) and miscellaneous expenses. If a loan is awarded, loan fees will be an included component. All students are initially assigned estimated tuition costs and estimated costs for books and supplies based on full-time enrollment status for their academic programs. Financial aid awards are offered based on the estimated budgets. At the time of disbursement, each student’s financial aid award is adjusted based on his/her current enrollment status (full-time, three-quarter time, or half-time).

The COA may be adjusted to include dependent care directly related to attendance at WSU; costs related to a disability; computer purchase for educational purposes; costs to obtain a first professional license; and an allowance for reasonable costs directly related to one’s program of study.

Michigan Resident and Out-of-State Resident Cost of Attendance: Please access our website for detailed information concerning how student budgets are assigned and cost of attendance component amounts.

Current Tuition and Fees: Tuition and fees are subject to change by the WSU Board of Governors without notice. 

Special Circumstances: The Office of Student Financial Aid recognizes that students may have extenuating financial circumstances that the standard need analysis form (FAFSA) does not consider. Applicants may request a review of extenuating circumstances that they believe affect their financial aid eligibility by submitting a Special Circumstances Appeal Form.

Eligibility and Conditions of Financial Aid

Students must be enrolled in an eligible degree- or certificate-granting program to receive financial aid funds. Enrollment must be at least halftime to be considered eligible for most types of aid. At the undergraduate level, enrollment for six to eleven credits is considered halftime and enrollment for twelve or more credits is considered full-time. 

Non-degree programs have aid limitations and not all programs are eligible for financial aid. OFSA can provide more information about non-degree programs, including a list of specific certificate programs that are ineligible for financial aid.

Prerequisite coursework aid eligibility is limited. Determination of aid eligibility requires submission of the Prerequisite Eligibility Status Form, which is available on our website.

Repeat Coursework

Federal financial aid will pay for only one repeat registration if the student has previously earned credit in a course with a passing grade. That is, students are only eligible to receive financial aid the first time the course is repeated. Example: A student registers for four classes. For the purpose of earning a higher grade, although a passing grade was received in the class previously, one of the classes is being enrolled in for the third time. Financial aid will be based on enrollment only for the three other classes.

Financial Aid Enrollment Policy and the Census Date

Census Date Definition is the date on which WSU counts the number of students enrolled at the institution, which is the tenth day of each semester. It is the policy of the Office of Student Financial aid to lock or "freeze" the number of enrollment credits after the census date each semester. After the enrollment credits are locked or "frozen," financial aid will not be adjusted (increased or decreased) unless a student withdraws from all classes. Therefore, the number of credits for which a student is enrolled on the census date determines the amount of grant funds that he/she will receive for the semester.

If, after the census date, a student increases his/her credits of enrollment, the amount of his/her grant(s) will not be increased. If, after the census date, a student decreases his/her credits of enrollment, the amount of his/her grant(s) will not be decreased. However, if a student withdraws from all classes after the census date, federal financial aid regulations require OSFA to determine the amount of financial aid the student has "earned" based on the portion of the semester that he/she has completed. The "unearned" part of the student's award must be returned to the financial aid program(s) from which the award(s) was/were made. As a result, withdrawing from all classes may result in cancellation of all or a portion of all financial aid.

Calculating "Earned" versus "Unearned" Financial Aid

OSFA must follow federal regulations in determining the amount of "earned" versus "unearned" federal financial aid disbursed to a student who then leaves school without completing the semester. The refund percentage is determined by the student's effective date of withdrawal from all classes, which is the last recorded date of attendance.

If a student completes 60% or less of a semester, s/he will be considered to have "earned" the same percentage of financial aid as the percentage of the semester completed. The percentage will be calculated by dividing the completed number of days by the total number of days in the semester. The percentage of "unearned" aid will correspond to the percentage of the semester not completed. If a student completes more than 60% of a semester, s/he will be considered to have earned 100% of the financial aid disbursed for that semester and no return of federal financial aid will be calculated.

If a student has not "earned" all of the financial aid received, he/she may be required to repay those funds. Detailed information is provided in the WSU Withdrawals and Return of Title IV Policy.

Enrollment Requirements for Federal Direct Loans

Financial aid is awarded based on the assumption of full-time enrollment. Since the actual enrollment status of some students is less-than-full-time at the time financial aid is disbursed OSFA reviews the number of credits for which each student is enrolled. At least halftime enrollment at the time of disbursement is required to receive a subsidized or unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan and a Federal Parent PLUS Loan.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)

Federal financial aid regulations require OSFA to apply reasonable standards for measuring whether a student is making progress toward his/her degree or certificate. The standards, which are called satisfactory academic progress (SAP), must be met for a student to remain eligible to receive financial aid. Academic progress is measured each semester.

WSU Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards are comprised of three components:

  1. the cumulative grade point average (at least 2.0 is required at the undergraduate status),
  2. the pace of progress toward the degree or certificate must be at least 67%, and is determined by dividing the cumulative number of credits completed by the cumulative number of credits attempted, and
  3. the maximum time frame for completing the degree or certificate, which is 150% of the average published length in credits of the program.

Note: Full-time or part-time enrollment is not a factor in determining the pace of progress or the time frame since only credits are the units of measurement.

The WSU Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy is available online.

Consequences of Withdrawing from Courses

A student's satisfactory academic progress may be affected if he/she withdraws from courses (some or all) during a semester. A student who does not comply with SAP standards may be denied financial aid for subsequent semesters. The university has specific instructions for SAP appeals.

If a student withdraws from all courses, he/she may be required to repay a portion of the financial aid received. Please see the section above titled Calculating "Earned" versus "Unearned" Financial Aid.

If a student's withdrawal from one or more courses results in less- than-halftime enrollment status, he/she will not be eligible for new federal loan funds. At the end of the grace period on the loans received, repayment will begin. Detailed information about grace periods and loan repayment is available on the Federal Student Aid website. A student should contact his/her lender to make payment arrangements or request a loan deferment or forbearance.

The amount in federal student loans that a student can receive has annual and aggregate loan limits. Students are strongly encouraged to consider these limits in developing their education plan.

The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Federal Student Aid governs the policies and procedures for loan repayments, deferment, forbearance, and limits.

Financial Aid Disbursement

Financial Aid Disbursement: Financial aid (except work-study) is paid in two disbursements if the award is for the academic year (fall and winter semesters). Half of the award is paid in the fall semester and half is paid in the winter semester. One-semester loans have one disbursement.

Work-Study Payments: Work-study earnings are paid biweekly in the form of a paycheck. The department in which the student is employed submits a record of the hours worked to the Payroll Office, and the Payroll Office authorizes payments.

Note: Only half of an academic year (fall and winter) work-study award can be earned each semester. Students cannot earn the total amount of a work-study award during only one semester. The spring/ summer semester is the third term of the school year. Since the spring/summer semester is separate from the fall and winter semesters, unused funds from a fall and/or winter work-study award cannot be earned in the spring/summer semester.

Enrollment Requirements for Federal Direct Loans: Financial aid is awarded based on the assumption of full-time enrollment. Since the actual enrollment status of some students is less-than-full-time, at the time financial aid is disbursed OSFA reviews the number of credits for which each student is enrolled. At least half time enrollment at the time of disbursement is required to receive a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan and a Federal Grad PLUS Loan.