Getting Started (FAFSA)

campus

Paying for college can be difficult. Let us help.

Westfield State University is committed to providing students a quality education at an affordable price. The Financial Aid Staff are here to help you navigate the process of paying for college and make the best choices for you and your family.

To apply for financial aid, all students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students must complete the FAFSA each year to be eligible for financial aid for the following academic year.

FAFSA

The FAFSA opens each year on October 1 for the next academic year.

Westfield State has a priority filing deadline of March 1. To meet this deadline, students are encouraged to file the FAFSA by February 15 each year they plan to file for financial aid.

Westfield State University Code: 002189

Understanding Financial Aid

Westfield State University follows the U.S. Department of Education guidelines in administering its financial aid programs. Simply stated, the formula used to determine eligibility is:

Cost of Attendance - Expected Family Contribution (EFC) = Demonstrated Need

Your Cost of Attendance is determined annually by the Financial Aid Office. Standard average expense budgets are used for each student based on where he or she will be living during the academic year.

The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is determined by information supplied on your FAFSA and calculated according to guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Education. The following factors are considered:

  • Family income;
  • Number of family members;
  • Number of family members attending college on at least a half-time basis, excluding parents;
  • Family assets, excluding the primary residence and qualified retirement plans;
  • Essential family living costs.

Step-by-Step Instructions to Apply for Financial Aid

We advise students to complete the FAFSA every year before February 15 in order to ensure processing before the March 1 priority deadline.

#1. Check that you are eligible for federal financial aid

To receive federal student aid, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen.
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) Certificate.
  • Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment at a school that participates in the federal student aid program.
  • Returning students must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress, which requires students to be meeting both quantitative and qualitative measures as outlined by the University
  • Not have a drug conviction for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid (such as grants, loans, or work-study).
  • You must not owe a refund on a federal grant or be in default on a federal student loan.
  • You must demonstrate financial need (except for unsubsidized federal loans).
#2. Obtain a Federal Student Aid ID
  • Sign up for an FSA ID here
  • Both students and parents/guardians will need to create separate FSA IDs
  • Your FSA ID username will never expire, but your FSA ID password will expire every 18 months
  • It can take a couple of days for an FSA ID to become active, so plan ahead
#3. Complete the FAFSA at studentaid.gov

The FAFSA should take less than 30 minutes to complete if you are able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which allows you to import your tax information from the IRS directly into the FAFSA application.

  • The FAFSA for 2021-2022 became available on October 1, 2021. The 2020-2021 FAFSA is also still available.
  • Be sure you're on the right website. Note the .gov domain, and avoid any other sites. You should never have to pay to submit your FAFSA!
  • We recommend using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to electronically import your tax data into your FAFSA. Certain filers will not be able to utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. These filers should manually enter their tax information. You will be unable to use the Data Retrieval Tool if:
    • Your marital status changed after end of the year
    • Your tax filing status is 'Married, Filing Separately'
    • You filed an Amended Tax Return
    • You filed a Foreign Tax Return
    • You filed a tax return using a Tax ID Number (TIN) as opposed to a Social Security Number.
    • The home address on the FAFSA does not match the address on the tax return.
  • Parents and independent students who indicate on the FAFSA that they will not/did not file a 2020 tax return will be required to provide documentation from the IRS to support their non-filer status. You may be able to request the Verification of Non-filing Letter at www.irs.gov. If you are not able to use this tool, you must request the letter using the 4506-T form.
  • Include the Westfield State University Title IV Financial Aid Code of 002189.
  • Students and Parents sign the FAFSA electronically using your FSA IDs, and submit.
#4. Review Your Confirmation Email
  • Students will receive an email from the Department of Education confirming their submission and a second email with their Student Aid Report (SAR).
  • Review the SAR for any information discrepancies or any requests made by the Department of Education.
  • Your FAFSA information will be sent to Westfield State University. The college will contact you with any requests for information.
#5. Wait for Your Award Notice

How long does a decision normally take? How does it come? Letter? Email? What should they look out for?

Financial Aid notifications for new students will be sent out starting in January of each year.

Notifications for new students are sent through mail.

Returning students will be able to view their financial aid through their myWestfield account. Returning students’ financial aid is determined in mid-to-late June and will be available before bills are sent.

After you apply

If you need to correct anything on your FAFSA...
  • Return to https://studentaid.gov/ only to make any necessary corrections to your FAFSA information.
  • Any time a change is made to the FAFSA information, the student will receive a new SAR. Review the new SAR for any information discrepancies or requests made of you by the Department of Education.
If you are selected for verification...
  • Some FAFSAs are selected for additional verification. If you are chosen by the Department of Education or by Westfield State for verification, the Financial Aid Office will contact you and ask that additional information be forwarded directly to the school.
  • You are not required to submit any verification documentation to Westfield State University unless requested to do so.
  • If information is requested, please provide it as soon as possible. If the necessary documents for the verification process are not submitted, you will be ineligible to receive any Federal funding, including Federal student loans.
  • If you didn't use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to provide income data, a Tax Return Transcript from the IRS will be required. Be sure to request a Tax Return Transcript as opposed to a Tax Account Transcript. For information on how to request an IRS tax transcript, go to Requesting a Tax Transcript.
If you need to appeal a financial aid decision...

If your family situation changes after your receive your financial aid package, you may formally appeal the decision. Circumstances warranting an appeal may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • the loss of a job or other income
  • a death in the family
  • a family divorce or separation
  • unusually high medical bills.

To learn more about the appeal process, please visit our Appeal Request page.

Questions? We're here to help!

Contact us

Financial Aid
First Floor, The Horace Mann Center, 333 Western Avenue Westfield, MA 01086