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Frequently Asked Financial Aid Questions

Determining Aid Award Amounts

Q: How does Whitman determine my financial aid package?

A: The results from your FAFSA and CSS Profile help us determine your expected family contribution. This amount includes a contribution from your parents' income and assets and a contribution from you from your summer earnings and assets, if any. The summer earnings expectation for students is $1,900 for first-year students, and it increases by $100 each year.

After your expected family contribution is determined, we calculate your demonstrated need using this formula:

Cost of attendance - expected family contribution = total need amount (demonstrated financial need)

All students who apply to Whitman are also considered for merit scholarships.

Q: Are there any resources that I can use to get a sense of how much financial aid I may receive at Whitman based on my family's unique financial situation?

A: Yes, Whitman’s Early Financial Aid Guarantee will let you know exactly what your financial aid will be, before you even apply. This is available to students entering their final year of high school and to transfer students. If you would like an estimate of your costs prior to your senior year of high school, you can complete our Net Price Calculator or view or average awards by income.

Applying for Aid

Q: Why do I need to complete both the FAFSA and the CSS Profile? (non-international students only)

A: The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to determine what federal financial aid you are eligible for. Federal aid includes grants like the Pell grant, federal work study, and federal student loans. The CSS Profile is used to determine your eligibility for Whitman need-based financial aid and scholarships and state work study.

International, undocumented and DACA students do not need to complete the FAFSA–they only need to complete the CSS Profile (and the WAFSA if they reside in Washington state). Independent students do not need to complete the CSS Profile; they only need to complete the FAFSA.

Q: I am an international applicant. Do I still need to submit the FAFSA and CSS Profile?

A: Non U.S.-citizens will be unable to submit the FAFSA and we do not use the CSS Profile for international students. Our only required financial aid form for international students is the Whitman International Student Financial Aid Application (WISFAA).

Q: Do I need to submit anything besides the CSS Profile and FAFSA to complete my application for need-based financial aid?

A: If your parents are divorced, separated, or not married, your non-custodial parent will need to submit a CSS Profile. If your parents are self-employed or own a business, we will ask for a copy of their tax return. We may also contact you by email if we have any questions about the information you reported on the CSS Profile or if we need additional information to complete your award package.

Q: If the financial aid office has requested additional documents to complete my financial aid application, how can I submit them?

A: If we have requested additional documents, you may mail, email or fax them to our office. Please send them whichever way is most convenient for you. For our contact information, please visit our contact page.

Q: I have special circumstances that aren’t adequately reflected in my financial aid application–how can I let you know about that?

A: You can provide additional detail in the Special Circumstances section of your CSS Profile. When we review your application we will contact you if we have any questions about the information you've provided or if we need any additional information.

Q: What should I do if my family's financial situation changes after I submit my financial aid forms?

A: Please contact our office so we can work with you to change your financial aid package.

Q: How will I know that Whitman has received my CSS Profile or FAFSA?

A: If you've submitted the Common App, your applicant portal will be updated to show those items as received. You will also receive confirmation emails from our financial aid office.

Q: If I indicated on my application for admission that I planned to apply for need-based financial aid, but later changed my mind and decided not to apply for aid, do I need to let Whitman know?

A: Yes, it is important that we know whether you intend to apply for financial aid because we commit to providing a full financial aid award at the time you are admitted. If our records indicate that you are missing financial aid forms that we were expecting, your admission decision may either be delayed or you will be placed on an admission waitlist. Please let us know about any changes in your intention to apply for financial aid as soon as possible by sending an email to admission@whitman.edu.

Q: Does Whitman take my need for financial aid into consideration when determining whether I will be admitted.

A: Whitman is need-aware, meaning that financial need is one of many factors we will consider in making admission decisions. While we are fortunate to be able to offer admission to hundreds of students who also receive large financial aid offers, every year there are some students who are not offered admission in part due to the large amount of financial aid they would have received.

Award Notification

Q: When will I receive my financial aid award?

A: If you're offered admission to Whitman, your financial aid award will be sent out with your offer of admission.

Q: I received a Whitman Achievement Scholarship. Will I receive the same scholarship amount all four years that I'm at Whitman?

A: Yes! Whitman guarantees its merit scholarship amounts for all four years a student is at Whitman, assuming they make satisfactory academic progress towards their degree.

Q: What is considered satisfactory academic progress?

A: Satisfactory academic progress means that you complete at least 66.66% of the cumulative credits you attempt while earning at least a 1.7 GPA your first semester, that you maintain a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA in subsequent semesters, and that you complete your degree within eight semesters (four years).

Q: Can I still work on campus if I don't receive a work study award?

A: Yes. Although many on-campus employers give preference to work study students when they make hiring decisions, some jobs are available to all students. 

Post-Award Questions and Answers

Q: I have questions about my financial aid award.

A: Please contact our office. We are happy to talk with you about how the information on the CSS Profile was used to calculate your financial aid award. Before contacting us, please make sure that all of the information on your CSS Profile was correct as of the day you submitted it.

Q: If I accept or reject portions of my financial aid now (like loans), can I change my mind later?

A: Yes. If you determine that you need your loans after previously rejecting them, you can request your loans be reinstated by contacting our office. If you decide that the amount you've borrowed in loans for the year is beyond what you actually need to cover your expenses, we can reduce your loans, or we can return the full amount if you decide to reject them altogether.

Q: I received some outside scholarships. How do those affect my financial aid, and who should I notify about them?

A: Congratulations! Please notify us about your outside scholarships as soon as you know about them so that we can ensure that your financial aid includes them and your student account balance reflects them.

Outside scholarships will not reduce your Whitman scholarship unless your total amount of scholarships exceeds the cost of attendance at Whitman, but outside scholarships may affect your eligibility for subsidized need-based aid from the federal government, like the Federal Direct Subsidized Loan and work study.

If your scholarships reduce your eligibility for these awards, a financial aid officer will contact you. In some cases, this may mean that you go from being work study eligible to being a regular student employee, or that some of your subsidized loan has to be converted to unsubsidized loan.

Q: If I am work study eligible but choose not to work on campus, does this affect my eligibility for work study in future terms or years?

A: We do not factor in your use of work study in previous terms or years when we determine your eligibility for work study. Work study is awarded based on your family's demonstrated financial need. If you have remaining financial need after being awarded other forms of financial aid, like Whitman scholarship, you will be eligible for work study, regardless of whether you used your work study award in previous years.

Q: After I accept my financial aid award, is there anything else I need to do before the start of the academic year?

A: If you are a first time borrower of Direct Loans, you will need to complete Entrance Counseling and the Master Promissory Note for your loans. You'll find more information about these requirements on the Federal Student Aid's Loans page.

After Your First Year

Q: I'm a current Whitman student. How do I accept my financial aid award?

A: You can view your complete financial aid award on my.Whitman.edu. On the "students" page, the left hand column of the page contains a "financial aid" subheading. Click the "financial aid by year" link on that subheading, and select the academic year that you want to view a financial aid award for.

Q: What happens if I don't meet satisfactory academic progress requirements during a term?

A: We understand that students each have circumstances that could contribute to academic hardship. If you don't meet the academic requirements during a term, you will receive a letter from us letting you know that you did not make satisfactory academic progress for financial aid, and have been placed on financial aid warning. You will still receive your full financial aid award, but you should meet with your advisor to assure your success during this term. If you improve your academic standing, you won't receive additional communications from our office.

If you don't meet academic requirements two terms in a row, you'll be placed on financial aid revoke or probation. In order to appeal a financial aid revoke, you will need to submit a financial aid appeal that includes an academic plan created with your advisor or the ARC before we can award you aid for the following term.

Q: I think I need a ninth semester of financial aid to complete my degree. Is that possible?

A: Yes. If you need a ninth semester of aid to complete your degree, we need you to submit a ninth semester financial aid request form. We will review the form and determine if your request can be approved.

Additional Questions?

Q: I'd like to study abroad. How does Whitman's financial aid work with study abroad programs?

A: Your financial aid package travels with you when you study abroad or you study at another U.S. college or university through one of our off-campus study programs. You'll find details about financial aid for off-campus study here.

Q: I have questions about applying for financial aid and I can't find the answer on your website.

A: Please contact our office and we'll be happy to answer your questions.

Contact Financial Aid
  • Memorial Building, Room 123
    345 Boyer Ave.
    Walla Walla, WA 99362
  • 509-527-5178 (phone) 509-524-2098 (fax)
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