Paying for College

Financial aid is a range of options to help you pay for college—everything from scholarships to grants to loans.

Many students use financial aid to help make their college education more affordable.

Feel free to contact the WSU Financial Aid Office at or 507.457.5090 if you have any questions.

Types of Financial Aid

There are many different types of financial aid, and students often use a mix of financial aid programs to pay their tuition and living expenses.

Find the best financial aid resources for you:

Employer Reimbursement

Many employers offer tuition waivers and reimbursement programs for their employees.

Check with the Human Resources department at your workplace to see if they have a tuition reimbursement program.

Veterans Benefits

Veteran students and students from military families can take advantage of military benefits programs to help pay for college.

Learn more about using military education benefits at WSU.

Financial Aid Timeline

In general, you should start applying for financial aid in the Fall of the year before you plan to go to college.


Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after Oct. 1.


Complete any follow-up paperwork if needed, so there’s no processing delays.

May – July

Over the spring, the Financial Aid Office will process your FAFSA.

In May, you’ll get an estimated financial aid award and then a final total around June or July.

August – September

Once you accept your funds, the money is disbursed to your student account around August or September to pay your tuition bill.

This timeline will vary depending on when you complete the FAFSA. You have until May 15 before you’re considered a late filer, though waiting can cause a delay in receiving your award funds.

Once you’re a current student, you’ll need to complete the FAFSA each year to continue receiving financial aid.

Eligibility for Financial Aid

About 94% of WSU students qualify for some form of financial aid, so it’s likely you will too!

To receive federal or institutional funds from the WSU Financial Aid Office, you must meet these basic criteria:

  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Be enrolled as a regular student (i.e. not special admit or audit) in a degree-granting program
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen
  • Be making satisfactory academic progress toward completion of your degree
  • Not owe a refund on any federal grant
  • Not be in default on any student loan previously received
  • Be registered with the Selective Service and the INS if required by law to do so
  • Not have been rendered ineligible for federal aid as a result of a drug conviction

Scholarships and private loans may have other eligibility criteria.

Calculate Your Financial Aid

The WSU Financial Aid Office relies on these three numbers to calculate your financial aid.

Your level of financial need determines how much money you can be awarded through various aid programs. WSU tries to meet that need through need-based aid programs such as grants and scholarships.

If you have remaining need, you’ll likely be offered federal student loans to cover costs.