Student Financial Aid Office
2nd Floor Maxwell Hall (507.457.5090)
The Student Financial Aid office can provide students advice and counsel about their long- and short-term plans for financing their education. Students who are entering WSU for the first time or who are transferring to WSU may contact the Financial Aid office for information about loans, scholarships, grants, and part-time employment. (See Tuition & Fees for general information about tuition, fees, and other financial information. View current tuition and fees.
In general, financial aid administered by the University is awarded after applicants meet eligibility criteria and establish financial need. A student must be enrolled or accepted for admission as a regular student in an eligible academic program for the purpose of earning a degree, be in good academic standing, and maintain satisfactory academic progress to be considered for financial aid. Awards are usually made for one academic year and are disbursed at the beginning of each semester.
Students’ Rights and Responsibilities
Students have the right to know:
- The cost of attendance.
- The refund policy for students who withdraw.
- What financial assistance is available from federal, state, and institutional sources.
- Procedures and deadlines for submitting applications for financial aid.
- How financial aid recipients are selected.
- How financial aid eligibility is determined, including all resources the Financial Aid office considers available to the student.
- How and when funds will be disbursed.
- An explanation of each type of award received.
- For any student loan received: the interest rate, total amount to be repaid, when repayment begins, the length of the repayment period, and the cancellation or deferment provision of the loan.
- For any work study job: a description of the job, the hours to be worked, the rate of pay, and how and when they will be paid.
- The criteria used to determine satisfactory academic progress for financial aid purposes.
Students are responsible for:
- Reading directions thoroughly, completing all application forms accurately, and complying with any deadlines.
- Providing any supplemental information or documentation required by the Financial Aid office or other agency, if applicable.
- Reading, understanding, and keeping copies of any forms they are required to sign.
- Repaying any student loans they receive.
- Completing entrance and exit interviews as required if they receive student loans.
- Notifying the Financial Aid office of any changes in enrollment or financial status (including any scholarships or grants received from outside sources). Students who have loans must report changes of address and enrollment status to the lender.
- Satisfactorily performing the work agreed upon in a work study job.
- Knowing and complying with all requirements for continuation of financial aid, including satisfactory academic progress requirements.
To initiate the process, students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Paper FAFSA forms are available upon request from the U.S. Department of Education at the above website. The WSU FAFSA code is 002394.
Awards to new students are made as soon as possible after the student is admitted to the University; awards to continuing students are made at the end of each academic year (in May). Certain programs have limited funding; others are entitlement programs and have funds available throughout the year.
WSU students attending WSU-Rochester should submit the FAFSA, listing Winona State University (FAFSA code 002394) as the receiving school. Skype meetings are offered for students attending through Rochester. See Student and Campus Services on the RCTC campus.
Satisfactory Progress for Financial Aid Recipients
Federal and state regulations require that all financial aid recipients maintain satisfactory progress. The intent of this requirement is to encourage all aid recipients to advance steadily toward the completion of their degree. The minimum standards required to receive financial aid apply to all academic work at Winona State University, whether financial aid was received at the time or not. Satisfactory progress is evaluated following each semester, including the summer term.
Minimum Standards of Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid Recipients
This standard became effective fall semester 2011.
I. Qualitative Measure - Cumulative Grade Point Average
Students are required to maintain a minimum financial aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Grade Point Average (SAP GPA). WSU and consortium agreement credits are used to compute the SAP GPA. Please refer to Section VIII D below for a description of consortium agreement credits.
Undergraduate Students: An undergraduate student with the following number of attempted credits at the end of a semester must have at least the minimum listed SAP GPA.
- 1-15 attempted credits - 1.75 minimum SAP GPA
- 16+ attempted credits - 2.0 minimum SAP GPA
Graduate Students: A graduate student with the following number of WSU attempted credits at the end of a semester must have at least the minimum listed SAP GPA.
- 1+ graduate credit - 3.0 minimum SAP GPA
II. Quantitative Measure - Percentage of Credits Completed
A. Required Completion Percentage: 66.66% cumulative completion rate for all credits attempted, including developmental coursework (English 099 and Math 050) and credits accepted in transfer, once 5 WSU credits have been attempted.
To measure the Required Completion Percentage:
- Combine WSU earned credits, consortium earned credits, and credits accepted in transfer to obtain cumulative earned credits.
- Combine WSU attempted credits, consortium attempted credits, and credits accepted in transfer to obtain cumulative attempted credits.
- Divide the cumulative earned credits by the cumulative attempted credits to obtain the completion percentage.
**Spring Semester 2020 Special Exception**
Due to the academic disruption created by the COVID-19 global pandemic, courses having grades of W, I, or IP will be excluded from the cumulative completion rate calculation (II. Quantitative Measure), if the last date of attendance or grade recorded by faculty is after March 12, 2020.
B. Maximum Time Frame: Students may not exceed the maximum number of attempted credits listed below and continue to receive financial aid (these include credits earned at WSU and credits accepted from other institutions):
- Undergraduate Student: May not exceed 180 attempted credits.
- Post Baccalaureate (2nd degree) Student: May not exceed 45 attempted credits.
- Graduate Student: May not exceed 45 attempted credits. Contact the Financial Aid Office for programs with degree requirements exceeding 30 credits.
III. Evaluation Period
Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress is evaluated at the end of each semester including the summer term.
IV. Failure to Meet Standards
A. Warning for Failure to Meet Standards: A student who does not meet standards is placed on warning for the next semester of enrollment. A student may continue to participate in student aid programs during the warning period.
B. Suspension for Failure to Meet Standards: A student who is on warning and does not meet standards during the warning period is places in a suspended status. A student may not participate in Federal and State student aid programs while on suspension. A student with a special circumstance that caused the suspension has the right to appeal. See the “Appeals” section for details.
At the end of each semester including summer term a warning notice is sent via the WSU e-mail account to students who were in good standing and no longer meet the standards. At the end of each semester including summer term, a notice of suspension is sent via the WSU e-mail account to students who were on warning and do not meet the standards.
A suspended student who has experienced a special circumstance may submit an appeal to the Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress Review Committee to have the situation reviewed for possible reinstatement of aid. In order for an appeal to be approved the student must demonstrate that extraordinary circumstances have directly affected the student’s ability to maintain satisfactory progress. Examples might be illness, hospitalization, death of a relative, etc. In addition, a student may appeal after an absence if there is a valid reason to appeal. An appeal may be submitted to the Financial Aid Office using the online electronic Financial Aid Suspension Appeal Form.
The appeal should consist of:
- An explanation of why the student has fallen below the standards.
- What changes are being made to ensure the student will be able to get back on standards
- Any other documentation to support the case
If the appeal is approved the student will be placed on probationary status for one semester and will retain financial aid eligibility. The student will remain in probationary status if he/she do not meet the cumulative standards but has successfully completed 75% of the classes attempted for that semester with a 2.20 GPA. Financial aid will be reinstated on a semester by semester basis until the student is either back on standards cumulatively or placed back on suspension.
If the appeal is not approved the student remains in a suspended status and is not eligible for federal and state financial aid.
When the cumulative standards are met the student automatically returns to a status of good standing. Aid cannot be reinstated for a semester in which the student is academically ineligible.
VIII. Additional Elements
- Treatment of Grades: WSU courses receiving grades of A, B, C, D, F, W (withdrawal), P (pass), NC (no-credit), I (incomplete), IP (in progress), Z (no grade reported), HA (Honors) and HB (Honors) are considered to be credits attempted for purposes of monitoring the financial aid Satisfactory Academic Progress standard. WSU courses, which receive grades A, B, C, D, P, HA and HB are counted as satisfactorily completed for purposes of monitoring the financial aid Satisfactory Academic Progress standard. WSU courses with grades of I (incomplete), IP (in progress), and W (withdrawn) count as attempted but not earned credits for the determination of completion percentage and maximum time frame, and are not included in cumulative grade point average.
- Academic Pardon: Credits for which students have been granted academic pardon (“academic forgiveness,” “fresh start,” etc.) shall be recorded and retained in the Student Data System in such a way that they will be included in both the qualitative and quantitative measurement of financial aid satisfactory academic progress.
- Audited Courses: Any courses being audited do not count as credits attempted or credits earned and are not funded.
- Consortium Credits: Credits for which financial aid is received under a consortium agreement are recorded in the Student Data system to be included in cumulative GPA, completion percentage, and maximum time-frame calculations as transfer credits.
- Remedial Credits: Classes in this category are considered attempted for purposes of monitoring the Required Completion Percentage. Up to 30 remedial credits are excluded from the Maximum Time Frame calculation.
- Repeated Courses: When a student repeats a course, only the last grade received and credits earned are counted in the grade point average and as earned credits for this standard. However, the credits are considered to be attempted each time the course is taken. For financial aid Satisfactory Academic Progress there is no limit on the number of times a single course may be repeated, however a student shall not be permitted to receive financial aid for more than one repetition of a previously passed course.
- Transfer Credits: Transfer credits accepted by WSU are counted as credits attempted for calculation of cumulative completion percentage. Grades associated with these credits are not used in calculating cumulative GPA. Transfer credits accepted by WSU apply toward the Maximum Time Frame calculation.
- Withdrawal: If a student withdraws from the University before financial aid disbursement, the student does not receive any aid since no progress has been made toward a degree. The student must pay expenses from his or her own funds. Standard University refund policies and procedures are followed when a student withdraws from the institution for any reason during the term after student aid has been disbursed. Withdrawal credits are considered credits attempted for purposes of monitoring the financial aid Satisfactory Academic Progress standard.
- Change of Grade: Late posted grades or a change of grade will not change your Satisfactory Academic Progress status until the next evaluation period. You may request to have your status recalculated after you have confirmed the grade change has been posted to your academic record.
- Change in Major or Degree: Students who change their major or degree will have all classes previously taken count in the qualitative and quantitative Satisfactory Academic Progress evaluation.
- Pursuing a Second Degree: Students who are completing a second degree with be required to appeal once they reach their maximum time frame. This appeal will require documentation from the student’s academic department indicating the number of credit hours needed to complete their second degree. If the appeal is successful, the student’s maximum attempted hours will be reset based on the information from the department.
Federal Pell Grant: A federal grant program available to undergraduate students on the basis of financial need. The Pell Grant processor notifies students of their eligibility by sending them the Student Aid Report (SAR).
Minnesota State Grant Program: Available to qualified Minnesota residents on the basis of financial need. Students must apply within 30 days of the beginning of a term in order to be considered for that term. Students can get information about eligibility criteria and application procedures from any high school counselor or from the Financial Aid Office.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant: A federal grant available to undergraduate students who are eligible for a Pell Grant and who demonstrate exceptional need.
Post-Secondary Child Care Program: The state of Minnesota provides funding for child care to students who meet certain income guidelines, who are Minnesota residents, and who are not receiving MFIP (Minnesota Family Investment Program) assistance. Contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.
Bureau of Indian Affairs Grant: Grants are available to students with one-quarter or more Indian blood. Students who qualify can get more information and application forms by contacting the agency or area office serving their tribal group.
Rehabilitation Services: Students who have a disability may qualify for rehabilitation benefits that help defray college costs. Students who qualify should contact their high school counselor or local Division of Rehabilitation Services for detailed information.
The loans listed below require repayment of the principal after a student leaves the University. In contrast to most commercial loans, some of the loans below are interest-free while the student is enrolled; others have interest accrual.
Subsidized Federal Direct Loan: This need-based loan provides up to $3,500 for first-year students, $4,500 for sophomores, $5,500 for juniors and seniors. The federal government pays the interest while the student is enrolled on at least a halftime basis and during a six-month grace period.
Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loan: The terms and conditions are the same as those for Federal Direct Loan, except that the borrower is responsible for interest that accrues while attending school. Independent students may be eligible for higher loan limits.
Federal Perkins Loan: A need-based loan at 5% interest. Repayment and interest do not begin until after the student leaves school, and the loan may be partially canceled if the graduate obtains employment in certain areas according to the terms in the promissory note.
Student Educational Loan Fund (SELF): The Minnesota Higher Education Services Office provides loans for undergraduates and graduate students. Currently, students can borrow up to $20,000 per grade level. Students are eligible for SELF loans regardless of family income; however, the student must have a creditworthy co-signer.
Federal PLUS Program: A loan program allowing parents of dependent students to borrow. Parents can borrow up to the cost of attendance less other financial aid the student receives.
Short-Term Loans: These loans are available to students for emergency expenses. For applications and more information, students should contact the Financial Aid office.
See Scholarships for information about scholarships awarded by the Financial Aid office.
Students can work up to 20 hours each week and earn a portion of their college expenses under the Federal Work Study Program, a program in which students can participate if they demonstrate financial need. The program pays minimum wage or more; students are paid twice a month. Most of the Federal Work Study Program jobs are located on campus; however, students can work for approved off-campus, nonprofit organizations or agencies. Eligibility for work study does not guarantee employment. Although WSU tries to maximize the number of work study opportunities each year, there are typically more eligible students than available jobs.
Students who are Minnesota residents can participate in the State Work Study Program. Students must demonstrate financial need to be eligible for the program. Students are paid minimum wage or more and, as in the federal program, they can work on- or off-campus. Work Study Program earnings are taxable. However, the earnings are not included in the total income when filing the FAFSA for future years.
Students who do not qualify for work study may still be able to find employment on campus in student help positions. These positions are not based upon the results of the financial aid application and are not considered student financial aid. View a listing of available work study and student help jobs.