The information contained in this section is subject to change or modification as state and federal regulations and/or institutional policies are revised.
Financial Aid Services Office
Lipka Hall: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Phone: 610-499-4161 Fax: 610-499-4687
Widener University participates in a wide variety of financial aid programs to assist students and their families in paying for postsecondary education. These include scholarships, grants, and work programs funded by the university, as well as assistance from state and federal programs and private resources. More than 90 percent of Widener’s full-time, undergraduate students receive some type of financial assistance. Students may qualify for academic- based scholarships, need-based assistance, or both.
Widener University offers academic scholarships based on academic achievement and extracurricular activities, high school involvement, community service, and donor-specified criteria. Eligibility is determined by the Office of Admissions based on information provided on the admissions application. No separate application is necessary.
Presidential Service Corps (a Bonner Leaders Program)
Students who are invited to join the Presidential Service Corps (PSC) are eligible for a PSC leadership award of $5,000 per academic year, in addition to any need-based financial aid or academic-based scholarships up to the amount of full tuition. Once identified in the top 10 percent of accepted students, qualified individuals will receive an invitation from Widener University to submit a Leadership Application. Widener will invite finalists to attend the selection process which typically occurs in March. To retain the award, PSC members must maintain a minimum GPA of 2.75 and satisfy 300 hours of service per year. Students are required to perform service in the local community, attend service leader meetings, participate and support Widener service events and programs, and act as a positive representative of the Widener University community.
Financial Aid Services welcomes all requests to discuss financial aid planning and is available to assist in the application process for need-based aid. Through a combination of federal, state, and institutional resources, Financial Aid provides awards to students and families who are unable to meet the full cost of attendance with their own resources. Need-based assistance is intended to supplement, not replace, the family’s contribution. A simple equation illustrates how this works:
Cost of Attendance
– Expected Family Contribution
= Financial Need (potential need-based aid eligibility)
Cost of Attendance is determined annually from actual tuition and fees, a weighted average of room and board charges, and averaged costs of books and supplies, personal expenses, and student loan fees.
Expected Family Contribution is the amount the student and the family are anticipated to contribute toward the cost of attendance. The federal Expected Family Contribution is determined from information the student and family provide on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The reported information is subjected to a formula established by the U.S. Congress. All schools are required to use the results of the federal need analysis formula from the FAFSA to determine eligibility for federal student assistance. Widener Financial Aid Services uses the information from the FAFSA to determine eligibility for need-based aid from the university.
Each year Widener University establishes a policy of awarding need-based financial aid that takes into consideration annual allocations of federal student assistance, university funds, and anticipated enrollment. Guidelines are established to determine the best method of meeting students’ needs. Undergraduate applicants for need-based aid are expected to apply for their state’s grant program (some states are reciprocal, except for NJ, NY, and MD), the Federal Direct Loan, and any other aid for which they might be eligible. The amount of Federal Direct Loan is included in the award notification, but there is no penalty if the student elects not to borrow. When or if a student rejects or fails to apply in a timely manner for a need-based aid program for which the student would be eligible, the university is unable to replace the funds with institutional aid.
Priority for federal campus-based and Widener funds is given to full-time students who complete the application process in a timely fashion. On a limited basis, students enrolled less than full time with exceptional need may also be considered. To receive aid from the federal programs, the student must:
- have financial need, except for Federal Direct PLUS and Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan programs.
- have a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) certificate.
- be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student working toward a degree or certificate in an eligible program.
- be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen.
- sign a statement on the FAFSA certifying that the student is not in default on a federal student loan and does not owe money back on a federal grant.
- have a valid Social Security Number.
- register with Selective Service, if required.
- make satisfactory academic progress.
- sign a statement on the FAFSA that the funds will be used for educational purposes.
If substantial need still remains after federal aid and Widener funds have been awarded, Financial Aid Services will inform the student about alternative sources of funding such as the Federal Direct PLUS Loan Program. Students must reapply for financial aid each year. The amount of assistance from the university may increase or decrease from one year to the next depending on the family’s financial circumstances, the availability of funds, and federal and state regulations.
Widener is a NCAA Division III institution and does not award financial aid to any student-athlete based on athletic ability. The administration of financial aid based upon need and/or academic ability without the consideration of athletic ability or participation is a principle fundamental to Division III athletics.
Minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress for Continuance of Financial Aid
Federal and Institutional Aid
In order to receive Federal Title IV and institutional financial aid, students must progress toward the completion of their program of study at a rate that will ensure graduation in a reasonable length of time. Widener University has established a minimum standard that measures academic progress both quantitatively (credit hours) and qualitatively (grades) at the end of each semester.
Students must meet the following minimum academic progress standards to receive Federal Pell Grant, Federal SEOG, Federal Work Study, Federal Direct Loan, Federal Direct PLUS, and Widener institutional funds.
Undergraduate students must successfully complete a minimum of 67 percent of the total credits attempted while enrolled at Widener. Successful completion is based on the percentage of total (i.e., cumulative) credit hours attempted compared to the total credit hours completed. Earned credits for a course cannot be counted more than once. Grades of “I” (Incomplete), “W” (Withdrawal), “F” (Failure), and “NP” (No Pass) count as credits attempted but do not count as credits completed. For a full definition of attempted and completed credits, please contact Enrollment Services - Financial Aid Services Office.
Undergraduate students must achieve the cumulative grade-point average (GPA) below:
|Credit Hours Minimum
|15.5 or fewer
|16 - 30.5
|31 - 60.5
|61 and more
An undergraduate student who fails nine or more credits in one semester may be dismissed for academic failure.
Maximum Time Frame Requirements
The maximum time to complete the credits required for graduation is measured in credit hours attempted. The maximum time frame may not exceed 150 percent of the published length of the academic program. The maximum time frame for a transfer student may not exceed 150 percent of the published length of the program minus the number of credits accepted for transfer at the point of matriculation.
Measurement of Progress
At the end of each academic year, students are evaluated for academic progress (quantitative and qualitative). Students who do not meet the minimum standards will be contacted by e-mail using their Widener e-mail account. Notification will outline student options to re-establish eligibility, such as attending subsequent classes or submitting an appeal for a waiver by a specified date.
Dismissal, Suspension, and Readmission
Academically dismissed students are ineligible for financial aid. Students who are suspended are ineligible for any type of financial aid during the term(s) of their suspension. Academic readmission to Widener University does NOT automatically grant reinstatement of financial aid eligibility. All dismissed students must appeal to regain their financial aid eligibility.
Reinstatement of financial aid eligibility is possible once the student has earned 67 percent of total credits attempted and has achieved the required grade point average, either at the student’s own expense or by completing unfinished class assignments, except when aggregate hours (total hours attempted) are the cause of ineligibility.
At the end of each academic year, a student may appeal any failed progress status based on extenuating circumstances, such as the death of a relative, a serious personal illness or injury, or a change of educational objective. The student must be able to demonstrate that the extenuating circumstance had a direct impact on the student’s academic performance.
Appeals will require an academic plan with input from the student’s academic advisor or dean. An appeal for excessive aggregate hours must address, at a minimum, any degree program changes and include a degree completion plan from the dean of the student’s school or college.
Widener University Funds
In addition to meeting the minimum academic progress standard, students must be enrolled full-time and conduct themselves properly to receive funds from Widener University. If extracurricular activity is required as a condition of the grant, satisfactory performance is necessary.
Standards of Academic Progress for the Pennsylvania State Grant Program
Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) has its own academic progress policy for students who receive Pennsylvania state grants. In order to continue to receive a Pennsylvania state grant, a student must meet the state’s policy. PHEAA sends a copy of its policy to each state grant recipient. In brief, a student is required to successfully complete a minimum of 12 credits per semester for each full-time state grant received and a minimum of 6 credits per semester for each parttime state grant received. Academic progress for the continuation of state grant is measured at the end of the spring semester annually. A full copy of PHEAA’s policy is also available upon request from the Financial Aid Services Office.
How to Apply
To apply for need-based financial aid at Widener University, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). New students and transfer students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible beginning October 1, 2018 for the 2019–2020 award year and beginning October 1, 2019 for the 2020–2021 award year. Priority is given to completed applications received by Enrollment Services - Financial Aid Services Office by December 15 for new students. If requested, students must submit supporting documents necessary to complete their application requests.
Students can access the FAFSA at https://fafsa.ed.gov. The student and at least one parent will need to obtain an FSA ID online at https://fsaid.ed.gov to electronically sign the FAFSA. More information on applying for aid can be found in the financial aid section of Widener’s website at widener.edu/financialaidoffice.
Federal Aid Programs
The rights and responsibilities of students receiving financial assistance under the Higher Education Assistance Act and a statement of the federal requirements for the return of grant or loan assistance provided thereunder is set forth in the Financial Aid Handbook, available on Enrollment Services - Financial Aid Services website.
Federal Pell Grant is a federally administered program that awards grants to undergraduate students on the basis of exceptional need. The annual amount available is subject to federal fiscal year appropriations. Eligibility is limited to students who have not earned a bachelor’s degree. Once a student has received a Federal Pell Grant for 12 semesters or the equivalent the student will no longer be eligible for Federal Pell Grants.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) is a federal campus-based program for undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional need. Priority is given to Federal Pell Grant recipients. The amount of the award depends on the student’s need, the availability of funds, and the amount of other aid received. Eligibility is limited to students who have not earned a bachelor’s degree.
Federal Work Study (FWS) is the opportunity to earn funds through employment and is awarded as part of the student’s aid package. The amount of FWS awarded represents the maximum eligibility for which a student may work and earn as part of the student’s aid package. Students may work up to 15 hours per week during any week in which classes are held and up to 25 hours per week during break periods. Actual earnings depend on the number of hours worked and the wage rate, but may not exceed the FWS award amount. The wage rate starts at $7.25. The rights and responsibilities of students receiving financial assistance pursuant to federal work-study programs and a statement of the federal requirements for the return of assistance provided thereunder is set forth in the Financial Aid Handbook, available on Enrollment Services - Financial Aid Services website.
Federal Direct Loans are low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Education that are administered by Widener University. They are the U.S. Department of Education’s major form of self-help aid and are available through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. There are two types of Federal Direct Loans: subsidized and unsubsidized. Federal Direct Loans replace the Federal Stafford Loans, which were formerly known as Federal Guaranteed Student Loans. Because the funding for these loans comes straight from the U.S. Department of Education, you do not have to find a lender to borrow from through this program.
Federal Direct Subsidized Loan
A Federal Direct Subsidized Loan is available to help meet financial need after other resources are subtracted or to the annual maximum loan limit, whichever is lower. Visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/interest-rates for current loan rates. Interest begins to accrue immediately upon graduating or when the student ceases to be enrolled at least half time.
Effective July 1, 2013, first-time Federal Direct Subsidized Loan borrowers are limited in the amount of time they can receive Federal Direct Subsidized Loans. (First-time borrowers are students with no outstanding federal loan balance as of July 1, 2013.) Borrowers may receive Federal Direct Subsidized Loans for no more than 150% of the length of the student’s current academic program (e.g., 6 years for a 4-year program). Once students reach the 150% time limit, they will not be eligible for any further subsidized loans. If students reach the 150% time limit and continue to enroll, they will lose the interest subsidy on the subsidized loans they borrowed in the past. Students who have reached the 150% limit remain eligible for Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans. The time limit for borrowing subsidized loans will be adjusted to reflect part-time attendance and attendance for only one semester.
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
A Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan is not based on your financial need. If your estimated cost of attendance is greater than your financial aid and you have not reached your annual maximum loan limit through the Federal Direct Subsidized Loan, you may qualify for a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. Visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/interest-rates for current loan rates. You are charged interest on this loan from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full. You have the option to pay on the interest while in school or to allow the interest to accumulate, which adds to the principal amount of the loan and increases the amount to be repaid.
How to Apply for a Federal Direct Loan (Subsidized or Unsubsidized)
To apply for a Federal Direct Loan, you must complete the FAFSA. In order to be eligible, you must be enrolled at least half time and meet other general federal student aid eligibility requirements. If you qualify for a Federal Direct Loan, it will be included in your Financial Aid Award Letter.
E-sign the Federal Direct Loan Master Promissory Note (MPN)
Students borrowing a Federal Direct Loan must complete a Federal Direct Loan Electronic Master Promissory Note (MPN) before loan money can be disbursed. Once a Federal Direct Loan MPN is completed and the loan is disbursed to you by Widener University, you do not have to sign a Federal Direct Loan MPN again (it is valid for 10 years).
To complete the MPN, you must go to https://studentloans.gov. You will need your FSA ID to sign your MPN electronically. The FSA ID is the same one used to sign your FAFSA.
After you sign your MPN, electronic notification will be sent to Widener University. Widener may not disburse your Federal Direct Loan unless you have completed your MPN and have completed entrance counseling.
Federal Direct Loan Entrance Counseling
The federal government requires a student to participate in loan counseling prior to receiving a Federal Direct Loan. Entrance counseling will explain various aspects of student loans, such as repayment and interest, and the student’s rights and responsibilities.
Entrance counseling can be completed at https://studentloans.gov. You will need your FSA ID to successfully complete the entrance counseling. After you complete entrance counseling, the results will be sent electronically to Widener University. You may wish to print a copy of the rights and responsibilities page for your personal records.
Receiving Federal Direct Loan Funds
When Widener University is notified by the Federal Direct Loan processor that they have a valid MPN on file for you and you have completed entrance counseling, your Federal Direct Loan, minus a small origination fee, will automatically be credited to your student account once classes have begun, as long as all other federal student aid eligibility requirements are met.
Request Reduction or Cancellation of a Federal Direct Loan
You have the right to reduce or cancel your Federal Direct Loan offer. You can do so by making a notation on your Financial Aid Award Letter and returning it to Enrollment Services - Financial Aid Services.
Degree-seeking students who are enrolled at least half time may receive Federal Direct Loan funding as long as they meet the general eligibility requirements.
|Federal Direct Loan Monthly Payments at 8.25% over 10 Years
Typical monthly payments and total interest charges over a 10-year period based on 8.25 percent interest rate.
Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS)
The Federal Direct PLUS loan enables parents with good credit histories who are not in default of a federal loan to borrow funds to pay the educational expenses of each dependent undergraduate child enrolled at least half time. The yearly limit on a Federal Direct PLUS is equal to the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid. Parent borrowers can choose to defer payments on a Federal Direct PLUS loan until six months after the date the student ceases to be enrolled at least half time. Accruing interest could either be paid by the parent monthly or quarterly, or be capitalized quarterly. Payments on interest may be tax deductable, and there are no penalties on paying off the loan early.
State Aid Programs
State Grants—Each state has its own grant program, as well as its own award levels and eligibility criteria. Generally, state grants are awarded on the basis of need and limited to students attending school within their own state of residence.However, if a reciprocity agreement exists between two states such as Pennsylvania and Delaware, students may use the grant in the reciprocal state. All financial aid applicants are expected to apply for their state’s grant (some states are reciprocal, except for NJ, NY, and MD). For information about your state’s reciprocity agreement and application instructions, contact your state agency.
Army ROTC National Scholarships—The Army Four-Year and Three-Year Advanced Designee Scholarship programs are available to students who will graduate from high school or possess an equivalent certificate before September 1 of the first year they enroll in college. Students are awarded these scholarships through a highly competitive national selection process. The scholarships provide full tuition and mandatory fees per year, plus $1,200 per year for books and a $420 per month tax-free stipend. Army ROTC scholarship winners at Widener also receive free room and board (cost of basic double room and gold meal plan) as an incentive, after other grants are applied. The stipend and book allowance provided by the Army must be counted as gift aid when determining a student’s overall eligibility for financial aid.
Scholarship applications and information are available online at www.armyrotc.com. Applications must be received by the U.S. Army Cadet Command no later than February 4 of the year leading to fall semester college enrollment. Although the minimum requirements are as follows, scholarships are awarded competitively to the most qualified: applicants must have 920 or higher on the SAT (CR and Math), or 19 or higher composite score on the ACT; be a U.S. citizen; be 17 years old or older by October 1 of the year they enter college; and have four years of college remaining for a baccalaureate degree. Interested students should contact the Widener Department of Military Science at 610-499-4098.
Army ROTC Campus-Based Scholarships—The Campus-Based Scholarship program is available to freshman and sophomore students and to seniors applying to a two-year graduate program. The Widener University Department of Military Science awards to qualified students full tuition scholarships including mandatory fees, plus $1,200 per year for books and $420 per month tax-free stipend. Army ROTC scholarship winners at Widener also receive free room and board (cost of basic double room and gold meal plan) as an incentive, after other grants are applied. The stipend and book allowance provided by the Army must be counted as gift aid when determining a student’s overall eligibility for financial aid. Applications must be submitted to the Department of Military Science by November 1 or April 1 of the semester prior to anticipated benefits. Although the minimum requirements are as follows, scholarships are awarded competitively to the most qualified: applicants must have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher, be full-time students, be U.S. citizens, pass the Army Physical Fitness Test, be DoD medically qualified, and be able to graduate and commission before the year of their 31st birthday. Interested students should contact the Widener Department of Military Science at 610-499-4098.
Army ROTC Advanced Course—The Department of the Army pays $420 per month during the regular school year to students contracted in the Army ROTC Advanced Course. Upon completion of the Advanced Course and graduation from Widener University, students are commissioned as officers at the rank of second lieutenant. Interested students should contact the Widener Department of Military Science for further details at 610-499-4098.
American Legion, Smith Howard Post ‘93 Scholarship—A $2,500 scholarship is awarded annually to a senior Army ROTC cadet at Widener who demonstrates excellence in academics, leadership, and military service.
General (Ret.) and Mrs. John H. Tilelli Jr. Annual Endowed Leadership Scholarship—One partial scholarship is awarded annually to a student who is a member of the ROTC Dauntless Battalion, a member of the Green-to-Gold program, or a veteran of the armed forces. This recipient will be a student who participates in university-sponsored activities or who is active in community service projects, has no record of indiscipline, and who maintains an academic GPA of 3.0.
Other Sources of Aid
Students should contact local organizations such as the Lions Club, Kiwanis Club, Veterans’ organizations, and church organizations for local scholarship funds. Parents should contact their employers about scholarships and grants that may be available for their sons and daughters.