WGU is approved by the U.S. Department of Education to offer federal student aid in most of our degree programs. We also offer state financial aid and grant programs to Tennessee students. Because of our more affordable tuition, WGU students are able to graduate without large amounts of student debt to repay. If you qualify for and accept federal student aid, it will cover most, if not all, of your direct education expenses.
You Can Use Financial Aid for:
- Tuition and fees, including electronic learning materials
- Other educational expenses
We’re committed to helping you make smart decisions when it comes to financing your education. In August 2016, we received the Exemplary Model Award from the American Association of University Administrators for a responsible approach to student borrowing that had reduced student debt by $400 million.
To receive consideration for any federal student aid program, you must first file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). When you fill out the FAFSA, you are applying for aid for a specific year; therefore, you will need to renew your FAFSA application each award year.
Western Governors University's Federal School Code on the FAFSA: 033394
Most WGU students qualify for at least one type of federal aid. To be eligible for federal student aid (grants, loans, and work-study funds), you have to meet certain requirements. Click here for the basic eligibility criteria.
WGU participates in the following federal grant and loan programs:
Federal Pell Grant
The Pell Grant does not have to be repaid and may be awarded to students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree. It is available to those with the greatest need, which is calculated based upon income, number of dependents, and other factors reported on the FAFSA. Students may receive the Federal Pell Grant for no more than 12 terms (roughly six years). Click here for more detailed information on eligibility for Federal Pell Grants.
Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant (IASG)
IASG does not have to be repaid and may be awarded to students who were either less than 24 years old or enrolled in college (at least part-time) when a parent or guardian died as a result of U.S. military service in Iraq or Afghanistan after September 11, 2001. In addition, students must not be eligible for a Federal Pell Grant on the basis of their Expected Family Contribution (EFC) but meet the remaining Pell eligibility requirements. The grant award is equal to the amount of a maximum Federal Pell Grant for the award year but cannot exceed your cost of attendance for that award year. Click here for more detailed information on eligibility for IASG.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) does not have to be repaid and may be awarded to students who have not yet earned a bachelor’s degree. This grant is available for undergraduates with exceptional financial need. Limited funding has been given to WGU for this program; therefore, not all eligible students will receive this grant. Click here for more detailed information on eligibility for FSEOG.
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant
The Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant provides grants of up to $4000 per year to students who agree to teach for at least four years within the first eight years of their graduation in a high-need field, in a school serving low-income students.
Note: If you are pursuing a second bachelor’s degree, you are ineligible for the TEACH Grant. In addition, if you accept a TEACH Grant and choose not to work in a government-approved school, all TEACH Grant funds you received will be converted to a Direct Unsubsidized Loan that must be repaid with interest charged from the date of each TEACH Grant disbursement.
Federal Work-Study Program
The Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program provides part-time employment while students are enrolled in an institution to help pay for education expenses.
Some students may qualify for a work-study position within one of our campuses provided they meet the general eligibility criteria. FWS is a need-based program that allows students to earn money to help offset the costs of attending WGU. Limited funding has been given to WGU for this program; therefore, not all eligible students will receive an award. Priority will be given to students who indicate “yes” to the FAFSA question about Work Study. The maximum award is the cost of attendance (COA) minus expected family contribution (EFC) and other financial assistance. This program encourages community service work and work related to the student’s course of study.
FWS employment is governed by employment conditions, including the rate of pay that is appropriate and reasonable according to the type of work performed, the geographic region, the employee’s proficiency, and any applicable federal, state, or local law, including state or locally established minimum wage rates. Click here for more information on FWS.
Federal Direct Loan Program (DL)
The Federal Direct Loan Program (DL) is the largest federal student loan program, through which eligible students and parents borrow directly from the U.S. Department of Education to help cover the cost of higher education. Students are only allowed to borrow the annual limit up to the Cost of Attendance based on their current grade level. There are lifetime loan limits also set by the Department of Education. This may limit your borrowing eligibility. WGU students may be eligible to receive the following Direct Loan programs:
A Direct Subsidized Loan is given to eligible undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need. The interest is paid by the U.S. Department of Education while you are enrolled in school at least half time or during deferment periods.
If you did not have an outstanding balance of principal or interest on a Direct Loan or FFEL Program Loan on July 1, 2013 or after, you are considered a first-time borrower and your eligibility for Direct Subsidized Loans is limited to a period not to exceed 150 percent of the length of your educational program. Under certain conditions, if you exceed the 150 percent limit, you may lose the interest subsidy on your existing Direct Subsidized loans.
A Direct Unsubsidized Loan is made to eligible undergraduate, graduate, and professional students and is not based on financial need. Therefore, they are available to most WGU students. You are responsible for the interest from the day you borrow the money until you pay off the loan.
Students who receive a Direct Subsidized and/or Direct Unsubsidized Loans are subject to the terms and conditions, along with the borrower’s rights and responsibilities disclosed on the Federal Direct Stafford/Unsubsidized Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN).
Direct PLUS Loans are loans made to graduate or professional students and parents of dependent undergraduate students to help pay for education expenses. The borrower (student or parent, in case of Parents PLUS loan) is responsible for interest during all periods.
Direct PLUS Loan for Graduate and Professional Degree Students
Graduate students can borrow an amount up to the cost of attendance (COA) minus other estimated financial assistance. The terms and conditions applicable to parent PLUS loans also applies to graduate PLUS loans.
Applicants are required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and are given an opportunity to request the maximum eligibility under the Direct Unsubsidized Loan Program before applying for a graduate Direct PLUS loan. The graduate PLUS loan will be placed into deferment while a graduate student is enrolled and for an additional six months after the date the student ceases to be enrolled on at least half-time basis.
Students who receive a graduate PLUS Loan are subject to the terms and conditions, along with the borrower’s rights and responsibilities disclosed on the Federal Direct PLUS Loan and Master Promissory Note (MPN).
Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
If you are a dependent undergraduate student, your parents may apply for a PLUS loan to assist with your educational expenses. The application process includes completion and submission of a PLUS Loan application by your parents and completion and submission of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the family. The application process is completed through the Federal Direct Loan Program. This loan is based on credit worthiness as determined by the U.S. Department of Education.
The yearly limit is equal to the cost of attendance (COA) minus any other financial aid received. Interest is charged on the loan from the date first disbursement is made until the loan is paid in full. The parent borrower has the option to begin repayment either within 60 days from the date the loan is fully disbursed or may request to defer repayment while the dependent student is enrolled at an eligible institution and for an additional six months after the date the student ceases to be enrolled on at least half-time basis. Interest will accrue on the loan during the deferment. Generally, the same deferment or forbearance provisions that apply to Subsidized/Unsubsidized loans also apply to PLUS loans.
Parents of dependent students who receive a PLUS loan are subject to the terms and conditions, along with the borrower’s rights and responsibilities disclosed on the Federal Direct PLUS Loan and Master Promissory Note (MPN).
The amounts borrowed depend on a student’s grade level and dependency status at the University. Students are only allowed to borrow the annual limit up to the Cost of Attendance based on their current grade level. There are lifetime loan limits also set by the Department of Education. This may limit your borrowing eligibility.
The following table indicates Federal Direct loan limits based on status of dependent undergraduate, independent undergraduate or graduate student.
Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Annual Loan Limits
|Year||Dependent Undergraduate Student||Independent Undergraduate Student||Graduate/Professional Student|
|1st Year||$5,500 – No more than $3,500 of this amount can be subsidized loan||$9,500 – No more than $3,500 of this amount can be subsidized loan||$20,500 Unsubsidized|
|2nd year||$6,500 – No more than $4,500 of this amount can be subsidized loan||$10,500 – No more than $4,500 of this amount can be subsidized loan||$20,500 Unsubsidized|
|3rd and 4th Year||$7,500 – No more than $5,500 of this amount can be subsidized loan||$12,500 – No more than $5,500 of this amount can be subsidized loan||$20,500 Unsubsidized|
A student whose parent cannot obtain a parent loan for an undergraduate student (PLUS) loan is allowed to borrow additional unsubsidized Direct Loan amounts. Student dependency status will be determined based on answers to questions on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Aggregate Loan Limits
|Subsidized||Total Subsidized and Unsubsidized|
|Dependent Undergraduate students (excluding those whose parents cannot borrow Direct PLUS)||$23,000||$31,000|
|Independent Undergraduate students and Dependent Undergraduate students whose parents cannot borrow Direct PLUS||$23,000||$57,500|
|Graduate and Professional Students||$65,500 *||$138,500 *|
*Aggregate loan limits for graduate and professional students include loans received for undergraduate study. The $65,500 subsidized aggregate loan limit shown here for graduate and professional students includes subsidized loans received for loan periods beginning before July 1, 2012, and prior subsidized loans received for undergraduate study.
Federal Direct Loans are charged origination or loan fees, which are deducted from the loan proceeds by the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Learn more about loan fees for Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and PLUS Loans.
Interest Rates for Loans
The interest rates for Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and PLUS Loans are calculated each year based on the 10-year Treasury Bill rate plus an add-on for which the first disbursement is made on or after July 1 through the following June 30.
See the latest interest rates for Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and PLUS loans.
See the historical interest rates for Direct Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and PLUS loans.
State Grants Available for WGU Students
In addition to federal grants and loans, you may be eligible for financial aid from the state of Tennessee.
State grant programs typically have strict application deadlines for funding eligibility. In many cases, completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step for state grant applications.
Through the generosity of numerous corporations and foundations, plus special federal government appropriations, WGU maintains a robust program of scholarships made available to qualified students. For the list of WGU General Scholarships and how to apply for a specific scholarship, see the Scholarships page.
Private Student Loans
Private loans are generally more costly than federal loans and may be available to both students and parents who need assistance beyond their federal and state financial aid eligibility. The university does not endorse a particular lender and encourages that a private loan only be considered after all federal and state financial aid options have been exhausted. Private loans are made through private lenders and are subject to higher fees, interest rate, credit review, and other individual terms and conditions. These loans are not subsidized or guaranteed by the federal government. Click here for more information on the difference between federal and private loans.
After you have completed the Master Promissory Note (MPN), an award letter is sent from the university and a disclosure statement from Direct Lending informing you of the types and amount of student loans awarded for the loan period. Direct Lending will mail a disclosure statement and notification of anticipated disbursement dates. When funds are received, the university confirms eligibility and current registration. Any changes and/or breaks in attendance or failure to start as scheduled may prevent federal student aid funds from being disbursed.
The federal student loans are processed for an academic year, which is two six-month terms with a minimum of 12 competency units per term for undergraduates and 8 competency units per term for graduate students. The university will disburse federal student aid loans in at least two installments. The first half disbursed at the beginning of the loan period and the second half disbursed at the midpoint of the loan period. In order to meet eligibility standards for second and subsequent loan disbursements the student must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements and be enrolled in the second six month term.
These loans must be repaid and they cannot be canceled because you did not complete your education or did not get the job you expected. You may use the Federal Student Aid office Repayment Estimator to see the estimated monthly and total payments including the repayment plan options for which you may be eligible. The U.S. Department of Education uses several loan servicers to handle services on federal student loans.
More about Financial Aid:
- Your financial obligations
- Net Price Calculator
- WGU Financial Aid Code of Conduct (PDF)
- WGU Consumer Information Guide
Still have questions? The WGU Financial Aid Office can answer more specific questions about your personal situation once you have completed the WGU Financial Aid Application. The Financial Aid Office can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 877-435-7948.
Note: Your financial aid cannot be used to pay your application fee. Full-time enrollment is required for all financial aid programs. Failure to progress at the full-time rate and in accordance with your Degree Plan may result in loss of eligibility for additional aid and for loan deferment.