Free Application for Frderal Student Aid FAFSA

FREE Application for federal student aid (FAFSA) 

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form you need to complete to receive any financial aid from the federal government to help pay for college.  Students must complete the FAFSA each year to be considered for grants, work-study funds, federal student loans, and certain state-based aid.  The FAFSA also helps West Chester University's Financial Aid Office determine how much additional financial aid students may receive.

Apply for federal and state financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). West Chester University’s School Code is: 003328.

2023-2024 FAFSA

Students who will be taking Summer 2024 courses including incoming students attending the Summer Academic Success Program are required to file a 2023-24 FAFSA in addition to the 2024-25 FAFSA. 

2024-2025 FAFSA

Due to the U.S. Department of Education’s delay in releasing 2024-25 FAFSA information, West Chester University has extended our FAFSA Filing Priority Deadline to May 1, 2024.

PHEAA has extended the PA State Deadline to June 1st; however, we are still encouraging students to file by May 1st in order to be considered for the maximum amount of financial aid including scholarships!

Students and families are now about to make FAFSA Corrections by logging back into the FAFSA at Corrections include adding any missing signatures, updating responses to being considered for "unsubsidized loans only", and providing consent/parent information. If your initial FAFSA did not provide a Student Aid Index on the submission summary we recommend logging back in and making any necessary corrections. 

The Financial Aid Office will be working diligently to prepare financial aid offers as soon as the FAFSA information becomes available.

We know how difficult the wait can be, so in the meantime we encourage you to:

The 2024–2025 FAFSA form will offer a new, streamlined user experience for students and their families.  The FAFSA Simplification Act was passed by Congress in 2020 and represents a significant overhaul of the processes and systems used to award federal student aid.  There are big changes coming to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2024-25 aid year including:  

  • The New FAFSA is shorter and more user-friendly
    Applicants will be able to skip as many as 26 FAFSA questions, depending on their individual circumstances. Some applicants will need to complete as few as 18 questions, taking less than 10 minutes.  The 2024-25 application will be expanded to include the 11 most common languages spoken in the U.S.

  • Everyone needs an FSA ID to complete the FAFSA Application
    For the 2024-25 academic year, anyone required to fill out part of a student’s FAFSA—including a spouse, parent or step-parent—must create their own FSA ID and password.  The FSA ID provides a digital signature on your application for security reasons. 

  • Consent is required for tax data transfers – IRS Direct Data Exchange
    Previously, users had the option to enter their tax information manually or use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Beginning with 2024-25, all persons on the FAFSA must provide consent for the Department of Education to receive tax information or confirmation of non-filing status directly from the IRS. In a very small number of cases, students and families will have to enter their tax data manually, but for most, that data will be automatically transferred into the application. This change makes it easier to complete the FAFSA and reduces the number of questions to be answered.

  • The Student Aid Index (SAI) is replacing Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
    A notable terminology update within the new FAFSA is the replacement of the term Expected Family Contribution (EFC) with the Student Aid Index (SAI). This name more accurately describes the number used to determine aid eligibility and, unlike the EFC, the SAI may be a negative number down to -1500.

  • All “contributors” must provide financial information
    A contributor—a new term being introduced on the 2024-25 FAFSA—refers to anyone who is required to provide information on a student's form (such as a parent/stepparent or spouse). A student's or parent's answers on the FAFSA will determine which contributors (if any) will be required to provide information.

  • Students may automatically qualify for the maximum Pell Grant
    Pell Grant eligibility is tied to how household income and family size compares to poverty guidelines. Pell Grants are a type of aid that doesn’t have to be repaid; grants are awarded to students with an “exceptional financial need”.

Questions?  The WCU Financial Aid Office is here to help:


FAFSA Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to be accepted to file my FAFSA?

No, we can accept your FAFSA and hold it in a suspense file which will help us expedite the processing of aid once accepted.

Do I have to file a FAFSA every year?

Yes. All students should be filing the FAFSA each year to be reviewed for aid for the next year.

What should I do after I file my FAFSA?

Pennsylvania residents please make sure you complete a state grant form on the new GrantUs portal once it is available, you can verify this by setting up an account at Please review your FAFSA Submission summary flags to address any errors on your FAFSA which may include;

  • Being selected for verification
  • Missing a signature (FSA ID can be used to sign electronically for both parent and student).
  • Being flagged by Social Security Administration for Citizenship

Is there a deadline to be considered for state grants?

Yes, Pennsylvania's FAFSA deadline is June 1st  for 2024 and Delaware's state grant deadline is April 1st. Unfortunately, New Jersey does not transfer state funds to Pennsylvania for a full list of states that offer out of state grants please see the "Grants" page on our website.

Do both my parents need to provide information on the FAFSA?

Possibly! For the New FAFSA form married biological or remarried parents (step-parents) who file their taxes separately will both need to provide consent for tax information to be provided. Therefore, in these cases both parents will need their own unique FSA ID and logon to If parents filed "Married Filing Jointly" then only one parent is need to provide consent and sign the FAFSA form as there is only one tax return for the FAFSA to consider. 

Should Social Security Benefits be included on the FAFSA?

No, you do not have to list your social security benefits on the FAFSA.

What assets should be included on the FAFSA?

Cash, net worth of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, CDs, second property (not the home your living in). The value of 529 accounts should be reported under parents (if the parent is the owner of the account), but if it is owned by another relative it is not an asset, will be reported as income by the student on a future FAFSA after the contribution received.

Do NOT include:

  • Value of your retirement
  • Life Insurance
  • Value of your car

Does West Chester University require I file a FAFSA form?

No. If you do not intend to apply for financial aid, you do not have to file the FAFSA. The Bursar's Office accepts payments in full and through payment plans. However, to be considered for any need-based scholarships and grants, federal loans, or federal student employment funds (work study) a FAFSA should be filed each year. The 2024-25 FAFSA (for fall 2024 and spring 2025) is available online at

Finalized FAFSA information will not be available to colleges and universities until April this year.

When is the FAFSA Filing Deadline for WCU?

To be considered for maximum financial aid, our Priority Deadline is May 1. WCU awards financial aid on a rolling basis and reviews FAFSA forms as they are received.

I already filed my FAFSA and received a submission summary with a Student Aid Index (SAI). Can WCU use that information to estimate my financial aid?

Although our office cannot send out a financial aid offer with the use of student summary information, our financial aid counseling team can discuss an estimated award based on the information families have received from the FAFSA. Please email or contact us at (610) 436-2627 to schedule an appointment.

When will West Chester University send financial aid offer letters to first year students?

We anticipate that initial financial aid offers will go out in late April for incoming first year students.

When will West Chester University send financial aid offers to returning students?

Similar to previous years, we expect to send financial aid offers to returning students after spring grades are finalized (late May- early June).

I am a PA Resident. When can I apply for the PA State grant?

Due to FAFSA delays, the application for the PA State Grant will not be open until FAFSA information is processed. PHEAA is launching a new portal for these applications (GrantUS) which students will receive emailed invitations to register for once it is live in April. For more information, please see PHEAA’s website at:

If I am not filing a FAFSA form, can I still apply for Scholarships?

Yes. WCU Scholarship Applications are now available at However, many scholarships at WCU require that a FAFSA be on file. To be considered for all scholarships, we still recommend you file a FAFSA each year.

Does WCU require the CSS profile? If I already completed a CSS profile, can WCU use it in place of the FAFSA?

WCU does not use the CSS profile and cannot accept it in place of the FAFSA.

I filed my FAFSA but did NOT receive a submission summary. Does this mean I am not receiving any financial aid for next year?

We are aware of some issues with the 2024-25 FAFSA that have resulted in forms being submitted as incomplete or being rejected. If your FAFSA falls into this group, you can now make corrections to your FAFSA. However, Federal Student Aid Services has identified some "issues" which are published on their website at: 

Will the FAFSA processing delay impact the amount of financial aid I will receive?

Initial delays by The U.S. Department of Education were due to certain questions not taking into consideration inflation. These updates have been estimated to  result in an increase of $1.8 billion of federal Pell grant eligibility for the nation. This should lead to increased eligibility for students using the new formula for Pell grant consideration. Additional, FAFSA calculation errors were identified in late-March/early-April also impacting a student's initial Student Aid Index calculation. These FAFSA forms are currently (late April) being reprocessed and WCU is monitoring information carefully in order to provide students the most accurate financial aid information as quickly as possible.