Close Menu

Frequently Asked Questions About Financial Aid

We know that there can be many questions related to the financial aid process. Below are the most commonly asked questions we receive from students and parents. If your question is not answered here, please contact us. We want to make the financial aid process is as easy as possible for you.

When is the 2019-20Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) available?

Parents and students can complete the 2019-20 FAFSA as of Oct. 1, 2018. This is earlier than in past years.

What if tax return(s) will not be ready when the student needs to file the FAFSA?

The 2019-20 FAFSA will use 2017 parent and student income information. In most cases, both the parent and student can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to load income information into the FAFSA directly from the IRS.

How do students and parents make corrections to a FAFSA?

Using their person specific FSA ID, parents and students can make corrections online at When the corrections have been processed, the student will receive a corrected Student Aid Report (SAR) via the email address s/he provided on the FAFSA. The colleges listed on the SAR will receive a corrected electronic version.

When can students expect to receive a financial aid award?

New incoming fall 2019 freshmen can anticipate receiving their 2019-20 Financial Aid Awards from Whitworth University beginning in early February. Continuing students should receive their 2019-20 Financial Aid Award by the end of May.

How will students be notified if the financial aid award is revised?

Students will receive an email alerting them that there has been a change to their financial aid award. Students are asked to review their financial aid award on Pirate Port, where their most recent financial aid award will be shown. We remind students to discuss any changes to their awards with their parent(s) and with Whitworth Student Accounting Services if they have a payment plan in place.

What does it mean to be selected for verification?

The federal processor selects students for verification. You simply need to complete and submit the verification worksheet (which is available in our "Forms" section on the financial aid website), and return it to the financial aid office. And, if you haven’t already used the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT), then go back in the FAFSA and do so. If you are unable to load the IRS tax data into the FAFSA, you will need to provide a 2017 federal tax transcript directly from the IRS. Students and parents can obtain a federal tax return transcript by calling 800.908.9946 or by ordering it at Your financial aid advisor will compare these documents with the FAFSA you completed. The student will be notified if changes in verification affect his/her financial aid award.

What does it mean if the Student Aid Report states that a student does not qualify for a Pell Grant? Does this mean s/he will not receive any financial aid?

No. It simply means the student did not qualify for a high-need-based federal grant. The student will still be considered for other types of aid, including university grants.

Is the EFC what will be owed to the university?

No. The estimated family contribution (EFC) is only an estimate. Depending on the costs of a student's education and the amount of his/her financial aid award, the student could owe more or less than the calculated EFC.

What happens if the student's financial aid award it is not enough to allow him/her to attend Whitworth?

The first thing to do is to call our office and speak to a financial aid advisor. The advisor will be able to tell you whether additional loans and/or scholarship opportunities are available.

How shall I/my student communicate to Whitworth any special circumstances that were not indicated on the FAFSA?

Review our information on special circumstances (PDF). When appropriate, submit the documentation required for review.

Is it possible for a financial aid award to change after the freshman year?

We try to keep awards consistent from year to year. However, if there are significant changes to a family's resources reported on the FAFSA, the award may be affected.

Is there a payment plan available to parents?

Yes. The Whitworth Student Accounting Services administers that program. Students will receive detailed information over the summer on how to set up a payment plan. There are also Federal Parent Loans available to assist with financing a student's education.

What is required for a student to maintain satisfactory academic progress in order to continue to receive financial aid?

Satisfactory-progress requirements are outlined in detail on our website.

What are students' options re: work-study/student employment?

Most Whitworth students are eligible to apply for on or off-campus jobs. Working in college can help students pay for expenses, gain work experience, learn job-search and time-management skills, and network within the Whitworth and Spokane communities.

If a student has completed the FAFSA, s/he may be eligible for state or federal work-study. While eligibility for work-study is not a requirement for a student to search for employment, some positions may require that a student have eligibility in one of these programs.

Students can begin searching for jobs when they arrive on campus in early September. Students should be sure to bring an up-to-date résumé with them. While most jobs are available in the fall, there are positions available year-round.

Will financial aid resources be available to help my student purchase books?

Students should come to campus prepared to pay for books and supplies without financial aid assistance. In some cases, students may receive financial aid funds that can be used for books and supplies. But the timing of those funds varies, and they often are not available in the first days of the term.

What is the difference between the financial aid office and the student accounting services office?

The financial aid office is responsible for awarding and disbursing financial aid.

The student accounting services office maintains all Whitworth student accounts by applying charges and processing payments. This office facilitates all payment plans.

When can my student anticipate receiving his/her financial aid?

Financial aid funds are transferred to Whitworth student accounts twice weekly, beginning the first week of each semester. Credit-balance refunds are processed on Wednesdays and Fridays, with the credit balance issued via direct deposit or by check, available for pickup after 1 p.m. in the Whitworth Student Accounting Services Office. Balances issued via direct deposit are transmitted to students' bank accounts on Wednesdays and Fridays and are generally available within 1-3 days of the time of transmittal, depending on the bank's policy.

Where can a student research private scholarships?

Private scholarships are excellent resources for students and can be found in a variety of places: