Let’s face it, everyone is worried about paying for college. Your education is a significant investment, even at a place as affordable as UWA. We are here to help you understand your options and ensure that your financial aid package makes sense for you and your family.
Financial Aid Eligibility
To be eligible for Financial Aid you must:
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student working toward a degree
- Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen
- Have a valid Social Security Number
- Make satisfactory academic progress
- Sign a statement on the FAFSA certifying that you will use federal student aid only for educational purposes
- Sign a statement on the FAFSA certifying that you are not in default on a federal student loan and that you do not owe money back on a federal student grant
- Register with the Selective Service, if required
If you receive Title IV Federal Financial aid, you are required to have your funds prorated based on the number of days you are enrolled. This proration is effective through 60% of the semester and is calculated to comply with Federal Return of Title IV Funds regulations. All Title IV repayments are your responsibility and are charged to your account.
An unofficial withdrawal is a student that does not complete any courses in a term with a passing grade, did not participate academically through the 60% point of the semester, and did not officially withdraw from the University. An unofficial withdrawal will be calculated according to Federal Return of Title IV Funds requirements and the student will be required to repay a portion of the financial aid received for the term. All Title IV repayments are your responsibility and are charged to your account.
Students who never attend or participate academically in any of their classes are required to repay 100% of the financial aid received for the semester.
Please Note: Students who stop attending all of their classes are required to officially withdraw from the University by contacting the Registrar’s Office.
Drops and Adds
We verify your financial aid eligibility when funds are posted to your UWA account. Adjustments based on enrollment status (drops or adds) are made through the last day to add courses each term.
- 12> credit hours = full time (full Pell Award)
- 9 – 11 credit hours = 3/4 time (3/4 Pell Award)
- 6 – 8 credit hours = 1/2 time (1/2 Pell Award)
- 5< credit hours = less than 1/2 time (Pell depends on EFC)
- 6> credit hours = full time
- 3 credit hours = half time
- Loans = half time
- Scholarships = full-time
Graduate students taking undergraduate classes must enroll in at least 6 undergraduate credit hours to be half-time.
How to Apply for Financial Aid
Attention: You should complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after it becomes available. Next year’s FAFSA will return to its traditional release date of October 1st.
To apply for financial aid, you must first create a free FSA ID online at https://studentaid.gov/fsa-id/create-account/launch.
Steps to receive financial aid:
- Complete the FAFSA (see below) and list the Federal School Code 001024.
- Apply for Admission (SSN is required for financial aid).
- Submit any requested documentation promptly.
- Complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling at https://studentaid.gov/.
- E-sign the Master Promissory Note online at https://studentaid.gov/.
- Register and begin classes (must be at least half-time for loans).
- Half-time enrollment is defined as a minimum of six (6) undergraduate hours or three (3) graduate hours each semester.
- Refunds for any remaining balance are disbursed on Wednesday following the free drop/add week each semester.
Award letters are sent to your PREFERRED EMAIL ADDRESS.
A core step in the financial aid process includes completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. It starts the process of obtaining financial aid from Federal Student Aid — a part of the U.S. Department of Education — the largest provider of student financial aid in the nation.
The 2024-2025 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is now available!
What is the FAFSA Simplification Act and How will it Affect You?
The FAFSA Simplification Act was passed by Congress in 2020 and is a complete renovation of the federal student aid systems and processes. This includes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, the application that assists Financial Aid Offices in determining aid eligibility for federal programs such as Pell Grant, Subsidized/Unsubsidized Stafford Loans and more. There are also changes in terms, and policies and procedures for schools that participate in these federal student aid programs.
Due to these changes, the Financial Aid Office will not receive your FAFSA to be able to complete your aid offer until February or possibly later. Don’t panic! We will be awarding aid for Fall 2024 as soon as we can!
For more information on changes to the FAFSA, visit the Federal Student Aid website at https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/fafsa-support.
Complete your FAFSA online at https://studentaid.gov/h/apply-for-aid/fafsa.
What to Expect
After transmitting the FAFSA to the Federal Processor, you will receive an email from the U.S. Department of Education in about three days. This email will contain a link to your Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR lists the data submitted on the FAFSA. Check the information to ensure that it is accurate. If you need to make corrections, you can make them online. The SAR also lists the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). UWA will use the EFC to determine the types and amounts of financial aid you qualify to receive.
NOTE: The FINANCIAL AID AWARD YEAR begins with the fall term. Summer term is the trailer. Your awards for the summer term consist of any available funds and any unused student eligibility for loans.
The FINANCIAL AID PRIORITY DATE is March 1st of each year for the coming fall term. Priority for any available campus-based funds is given to the neediest students that apply before the priority date. After March 1st, funds are awarded on a rolling basis as applications are received. The deadline for the University to receive a FAFSA for the previous year (ends with summer) is June 30th.
The FINANCIAL AID DEADLINE is 10 days prior to registration each term. If your file is incomplete, you will be required to pay educational expenses from personal funds. UWA accepts VISA, MasterCard, personal checks, money orders and cashier’s checks. A late charge of $20.00 will be added to any unpaid balance 14 days after classes begin.
Each year, the U.S. Department of Education selects at least one-third of all FAFSA applications for a review process called “verification.” Verification is where the student and the parents or spouse, if applicable, provide documentation that supports the information reported on the FAFSA. The following are the main reasons students are selected:
- The student was selected randomly.
- The FAFSA application has incomplete data.
- The data on the FAFSA application appears to contradict itself.
- The FAFSA application has estimated information on it.
The U.S. Department of Education has customized the verification process to focus only on specific items for each student. Verification will be completed online by KHEAA Verify. Students and parents can sign in and complete the process online or contact KHEAA Verify by telephone at 1-855-272-8771 or by email email@example.com.
Request for Special Consideration for Financial Aid Due to Financial/Personal Hardship
We recognize that the FAFSA may not always accurately reflect your financial situation and/or dependency status. Although considerations for specific situations are limited, we may be able to give additional consideration for certain situations as described below.
- Special Circumstances refer to the financial situations that justify an aid administrator adjusting data elements in the Cost of Attendance or in the EFC (Expected Family Contribution) or SAI (Student Aid Index) calculation.
- Unusual Circumstances refer to the conditions that justify an aid administrator making an adjustment to a student’s dependency status based on a unique situation, more commonly referred to as a dependency override.
A student may have both a special circumstance and an unusual circumstance. Financial aid administrators may make adjustments that are appropriate to each student’s situation with appropriate documentation.
Requesting special consideration is expedited by using the PJ Advisor portal – an accessible, intuitive tool that will guide you through the process.
After accessing the link below, you (or a parent, spouse, or legal guardian*) will need to do the following:
• Create a secure user name and password.
• Select your dependency status as reported on the FAFSA.
• Answer the pre-screening questions and select your appeal category.
• Explain your situation in detail, upload supporting documentation and submit.
• Print, sign and upload the signature page.
*Dependent students who provide parental information on the FAFSA are required to have one parent signature on the signature page once all documentation has been submitted.
What Happens Next?
Upon receipt of all required documents, the University of West Alabama will conduct a preliminary review to ensure the submission is accurate and complete. You will be notified via email if there are any questions or if any additional documentation is required. Once the submission is verified as complete, the Financial Aid Office will review for final determination and contact you with the results.
If you have any questions about the PJ process, please contact the University of West Alabama at 205-652-3576 or email financialaid@uwa.
Inceptia, a division of National Student Loan Program (NSLP), is a nonprofit organization committed to offering effective and uncomplicated solutions in verification, financial aid management, financial education, and repayment wellness. Our mission is to support schools as they launch brilliant futures for students, armed with the knowledge to become financially responsible citizens. Since 1986, we have helped more than two million students at 5,500 schools reach their higher education dreams. Each year we help nearly 340,000 students learn how to pay for college, navigate financial aid, borrow wisely, and resolve their student loan repayment challenges. Our solutions are designed to support student success by helping financial aid administrators maximize resources, so they can spend more time focusing on students. Learn more at Inceptia.org.
Utilizing the link below, please complete a statement that explains your situation in detail and submit the documentation to support your situation.
Apply for Financial Aid Reinstatement
Satisfactory Academic Progress
The deadline to submit is August 1, 2024
Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy for Students to Receive Federal Student Aid
Federal regulations require a student receiving Federal Student Aid to maintain satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward a degree. Eligibility is determined based on the student’s Qualitative measure (grade point average), Quantitative measure (pace of progress toward the degree), and Maximum Timeframe (the total number of credit hours attempted). If the student does not meet all three of the SAP requirements, the student may no longer be eligible for Federal Student Aid.
Qualitative Measure (Grade Point Average GPA): Eligibility will be determined based on the student’s overall GPA hours (transfer and The University of West Alabama) and the student’s UWA cumulative GPA.
|If a Student’s Overall GPA Hours are:
|Minimum Cumulative UWA GPA Required:
GPA hours are credit hours for which a standard letter grade is received (A, B, C, D and F).
For example, a student has attempted 30 credit hours during his entire college career, 15 credit hours earned with a GPA of 2.00 from another college, and 15 credit hours earned from UWA with a 1.60 GPA for a total of 30 Overall GPA Hours. His overall GPA is 1.75.
The student is not meeting this measure since his cumulative UWA GPA is 1.60, which is less than the minimum cumulative 1.80 UWA GPA a student must earn based on 30 overall GPA hours.
Quantitative Measure (Pace of Progress toward a degree or percentage of hours earned):
Students must earn a minimum of 67 percent of all credit hours attempted, including transfer hours placed on the UWA transcript and for UWA classes for which the student received grades of W, I, IP, NC, CR and P. Earned hours include credit hours for which the student receives a passing grade (A, B, C, D, CR or P). This percentage may be rounded up to 67 percent from 66.66 percent.
For example, a student has attempted a total of 24 credit hours during her entire college career and passed 16 credit hours. The student passed 66.67% of the credit hours attempted (16 divided by 24) which is less than the 67% required. However, the student is meeting this measure since the 66.66% may be rounded up to 67%.
Maximum Timeframe (Total hours a student may attempt and receive Federal Student Aid):
Students may not receive Federal Student Aid, which includes Federal Direct or Parent Plus loans, after attempting 150% of the hours required for completion of the degree. This includes transfer hours placed on the UWA transcript and for UWA classes for which the student received grades of W, I, IP, NC, CR, P, S and U.
For example, a student must earn 120 credit hours to be eligible for a degree. Once a student attempts 180 credit hours (120 hours required for the degree X 1.50 = 180 credit hours) the student is no longer eligible for Federal Student Aid.
- Incomplete grade. Grades of I and IP are included in hours attempted but not in GPA hours or GPA calculation until the student completes the course. If the student does not complete the course in the allotted time for which they received an I grade, the grade automatically becomes an F and is considered an Unofficial Withdrawal.
- Withdrawals. Grades of W are included in hours attempted but not in GPA hours or GPA calculation.
- Repeat Courses. The credit hours for every occurrence of a repeat course are included in hours attempted and GPA hours. The credit hours for only one occurrence of a repeated, previously passed course are included in earned hours.
- Transfer Hours. All credit hours from other schools that are placed on the UWA transcript will be included in hours attempted and credit hours from other schools for which a student received a standard letter grade (A, B, C, D and F) will be included in overall GPA Hours. The credit hours for passed courses (and only one occurrence of a repeated, previously passed course) are included in overall earned hours.
- Remedial Courses. Any remedial courses will be treated the same as regular courses.
- Frequency of check. A student’s SAP will be checked at the end of each year. Transfer students’ SAP will be checked after admission. If a student’s transcript from another college is received after initial SAP review, any transfer hours will be included in the next SAP check.
- Warning Status. A student not meeting the Quantitative or Qualitative SAP measures will be assigned an SAP Status of Warning for the next semester, meaning the student will be able to receive Federal Student Aid one more semester. If the student is not meeting SAP standards at the end of the next semester the student will not be able to receive Federal Student Aid.
- Regaining Eligibility. Students who lose eligibility for Federal Student Aid by not meeting SAP measures may regain eligibility by getting back in compliance with the SAP measures explained above. Sitting out of college will not help a student regain Federal Student Aid eligibility.
- Probation Status. A student not meeting the SAP standards and has had an appeal for financial aid suspension approved will be assigned an SAP Status of Probation. The student must be meeting the SAP standards at the end of the next semester or meet the requirements of an academic plan, as determined by the Financial Aid Office, to be eligible for Federal Student Aid for the subsequent semester.
- Appeal Process. A student who does not meet the requirements for SAP may choose to appeal to the Financial Aid Office for an exception on the grounds that a special or extenuating circumstance contributed to his or her failure to meet standards and what has changed that will allow the student to regain SAP at the next semester. Such appeals must be submitted on the Satisfactory Academic Progress Appeal Form that is available in the Financial Aid Office. The appeal should contain documentation, if available, to support the claim of extenuating circumstances. In addition, the student is required to provide an academic plan from the student’s dean or dean’s designee. Changes to an academic plan may also be appealed by the student by submitting the appeal form following the same appeal procedures.
Decisions made by the Appeals Committee relative to appeals, as well as changes in SAP status to Warning or Failure, will be sent to the student through the student’s UWA email and the student may check the status on Self Service. It is the responsibility of the student to initiate any appeal for reinstatement of federal financial aid eligibility. Academic reinstatement by the Registrar or Undergraduate Admissions does not constitute reinstatement of aid eligibility.
- Second Bachelor’s Degree. SAP for students pursuing a second Bachelor’s degree will be determined using the same requirements of this policy, with the exception of the 180 credit hour maximum timeframe. Students pursuing a second bachelor’s degree and who are meeting measures 1 and 2 above but have attempted 180 credit hours or more must provide an academic plan prepared by their dean or dean’s designee to the Financial Aid Office showing the courses needed to complete the second bachelor’s degree after all other previous coursework has been applied toward the second bachelor’s degree. The plan will be reviewed at the end of each semester by the Financial Aid Office and if the student is following the plan, the student will be eligible for Federal Student Aid.
- Graduate Students. SAP for graduate students will generally be determined using the same requirements of this policy. In addition, students academically suspended are not considered to be meeting SAP requirements and are not eligible for Federal Student Aid. Students admitted unconditionally as regular students in a graduate degree program will be given one year to complete any undergraduate prerequisite courses. Students may earn more than one graduate degree and receive Federal Student Aid if they are in good standing with the UWA Graduate program.
Direct Student Loans
The University of West Alabama participates in the Federal Direct Loan Programs. The Direct Loan program provides long-term, low-interest subsidized and unsubsidized loans for our students and their parents. More information on the Federal Direct Loan Programs can be accessed online at https://studentaid.gov/understand-aid/types/loans/subsidized-unsubsidized.
Subsidized loans are based on established financial needs as well as annual and aggregate loan limits. Interest on this loan does not accrue during periods of enrollment and grace periods. Both interest accrual and repayment begin six months after graduation or when a student is no longer enrolled at least half-time.
We base unsubsidized loans on annual and aggregate loan limits, not on financial needs. Interest on this loan begins to accrue upon disbursement of the funds.
Repayment begins six months after graduation or when you are no longer enrolled at least half-time.
You must complete the Entrance Counseling requirement before funds can be disbursed. Please be sure to enter your information completely and accurately. The Financial Aid Center will be notified electronically within 48 hours after you have completed this requirement.
You will have to e-sign a Master Promissory Note (MPN) prior to disbursement. The student’s FSA ID, https://studentaid.gov/ is required to e-sign. The Financial Aid Center will be notified electronically in 24-48 hours after you have completed this requirement.
Students who are graduating or drop below half-time enrollment during a term must complete a Direct Loan Exit Interview. The FSA ID Number is required in order to complete the exit interview because we’ll be considering personal loan information. When the student loan grace period ends and the loan comes due, the student will receive a repayment schedule from their Stafford Loan Lender and/or Direct Loans outlining the monthly payments and number of months required to repay the loan. It is important to notify your lender of address changes so that you will receive your repayment information.
Annual Loan Limits
Dependent undergraduate students:
- Freshmen — $5,500.00, no more than $3500.00 subsidized
- Sophomores – $6,500.00, no more than $4,500.00 subsidized
- Juniors and Seniors — $7,500.00, no more than $5,500.00 subsidized
- Freshmen — $9,500.00, no more than $3,500.00 subsidized
- Sophomores — $10,500.00, no more than $4,500.00 subsidized
- Juniors and Seniors — $12,500.00, no more than $5,500.00 subsidized
- Graduate Students — $20,500.00, no more than $8,500.00 subsidized
Aggregate (Total) Loan Limits
- Undergraduate dependent students: $31,000.00 (no more than $23,000.00 subsidized)
- Undergraduate independent students: $57,500.00 (no more than $23,000.00 subsidized)
- Graduate students: $138,500.00 (no more than $65,500.00 subsidized)
Parents of a dependent student may be eligible to borrow under the Direct PLUS Loan Program. The parent’s dependent student must also be enrolled at least half-time and maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress to qualify. The student must meet all other eligibility requirements, as determined by the U.S. Department of Education. The maximum amount that the parent may borrow is the UWA cost of attendance as determined by the Financial Aid Center minus any other aid (scholarships, grants, loans, waivers, etc.) received by the student.
To apply for the Parent PLUS Loan, parents must COMPLETE THE PLUS REQUEST PROCESS online at https://studentaid.gov/plus-app/parent/landing.
Direct PLUS Loans for Graduate Students
Graduate students may be eligible to borrow under the Direct PLUS Loan Program. The student must be enrolled at least half-time and maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress to qualify. The student must meet all other eligibility requirements, as determined by the U.S. Department of Education. The maximum amount that the student may borrow is the UWA cost of attendance as determined by the Financial Aid Center minus any other aid (scholarships, grants, loans, waivers, etc.) received by the student.
To apply for the Direct PLUS Loan, students must COMPLETE THE PLUS REQUEST PROCESS online at https://studentaid.gov/plus-app/grad/landing.
Private Student Loans
Private student loans are designed to help students who need additional assistance with educational costs. In most cases, it is advantageous for students to pursue Federal Direct Loans and for parents to pursue Federal Direct PLUS Loans before seeking private educational loans. A major advantage of these programs is that the federal government caps the interest rates on the loans. Additionally, private student loans typically do not offer the same benefits as federal loans, such as consolidation, service cancellations, and military repayment.
If assistance beyond what is available through the federal loan programs is needed, there are a number of private lenders who offer private loans to cover educational expenses. Loan approval is based on creditworthiness and ability to repay and for students; a credit-worthy, employed cosigner may be required. Each lender offers different interest rates, fees, repayment terms, and approval requirements. To get the best rates and terms, it is strongly suggested that you obtain a cosigner with a good credit rating prior to applying. For more information on private loan options and lenders, visit https://www.elmresources.com/.
How to Apply for a Private Loan
The following is a listing of lenders that offer private educational loan programs that our students have found success working with. Students will also need to complete a Federal Private Education Loan Applicant Self-Certification Form and submit to their lender when they apply for a private loan.
- Ascent Student Loans
- Nelnet Student Loans
- LendKey Student Loans
- Citizens One Student Loan
- KHESLC Advantage Loans
- Regions Bank
- Sallie Mae Student Loans
- Cognition Financial
- Trustmark National Bank
- PNC On Campus
- College AVE Student Loans
- SoFI Student Loans
The University of West Alabama does not promote, endorse or recommend any private loan lender. The lenders listed above are merely a listing of lenders our students have used. Students are not obligated to use them. The credit check performed by many lenders expires after 90-120 days. Therefore, students should not apply for a private loan more than 3 months prior to the start of the term.
However, due to processing time, students should apply as soon as possible within the three-month window. In order for funds to be available to pay tuition and fees, applications should be submitted to your lender by:
- June 1st for fall terms
- November 1st for spring terms
- March 1st for summer terms
Most private loan disbursements are made via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) from your lender to the University. These funds will be applied to the student’s account with any excess, after all University fees are satisfied, being mailed to the student’s local mailing address.
Refund checks are DIRECT DEPOSITED into your bank account or mailed to your LOCAL MAILING ADDRESS.
Students who are eligible for a refund of aid programs after all university costs are paid should be aware of:
- If you are not registered for Term 1 and Term 2 at the start of the full semester, you will need to retain your refund to assist paying for Term 2 after registration of that term is completed.
- Students who withdraw may have to return refund money received due to the federal and institutional refund policy.
Changing Loan Amounts
Students are encouraged to only borrow needed funds. If the loan approval is more than is desired, students can reduce the amount of the loan by emailing the Financial Aid Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or by contacting their lender when they receive the lender’s disclosure statements.
We strongly encourage students who have borrowed private loans at other institutions to retain their previous lenders. This will avoid making multiple loan repayments in the future.
Federal Work Study
Jobs ranging from 10-15 hours per week; minimum wage; various departments on campus and a few community service areas.