The Department of Education has allowed students and/or their parents’ to use their 2015 tax information to complete their 2017-2018 FAFSA. Please use this tax season when completing your 2017-2018 FAFSA. If you are completing the 2018-2019 FAFSA, then students should use their and/or their parents’ 2016 tax information.

At WSSU, approximately 85% of our students receive some type of financial aid. And we understand that the Financial Aid Process can seem overwhelming - even to those of us who work with the process year-to-year. The more you know about the process, the more successful you will be in completing the process.

The first step in deciding how to pay for your education is to understand how much it will cost and how much money you may need after any financial aid awards. The next step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application online. However, it is important and to your advantage to file your tax returns before completing the 2017-2018 FAFSA and/or the 2018-2019 FAFSA application. Read our tips to completing the FAFSA.

You must file a FAFSA each academic year. All applications are processed centrally by a federal process. If the Federal Processor receives your FAFSA by early/mid October 2017 or by March 1st 2018 your application becomes a "Priority Application" for WSSU financial aid during the Fall 2018 semester. Although there are no guarantees, a priority application means that you have a better chance of receiving certain funds that are awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.

To complete the FAFSA application for the 2018-2019 school year, you will need financial information from 2016. You may need to refer to:

  • Your Social Security card. It is important that you enter your Social Security Number correctly.
  • Your driver's license
  • Your 2016 W-2 forms and other records of money earned
  • Your and if married, your spouse's 2016 Federal Income Tax Return.
  • It is important that you file your tax returns as early as possible.
  • Your Parents' 2016 Federal Income Tax Return, if you are a dependent student.

On May 10, 2015, FSA ID replaced the Federal Student AID PIN.

  • If this is your first time filing a FAFSA application, you and your parent, if applicable can apply for a FSA ID at Federal Student Aid. You can use your new FSA ID immediately to complete, sign and submit a new or updated FAFSA.
  • You will need to enter FSA ID to serve as your electronic signature for the FAFSA. If you are an undergraduate dependent student, your parent must also sign the FAFSA with their own PIN number.

Cost of Attendance

Winston-Salem State University’s Office of Financial Aid uses an estimate of cost to attend college as a basis for awarding financial aid. The cost of attendance (COA) is developed according to guidelines established by the Department of Education. Additional consideration is given to University of North Carolina General Administration’s concerns of parity and transparency among the constituent campuses of the University of North Carolina system.

Each year, WSSU establishes a total cost of attendance based on a student’s housing status (on-campus, off-campus, or living with a parent/relative), enrollment status (full-time or part-time) and residency status (in-state or out-of-state) and type (undergraduate or graduate).

The COA represents the total educational expenses a student may incur while attending WSSU for an academic year of nine (9) months, and is a critical element in determining a student’s eligibility for financial aid assistance.

Cost of Attendance Budget

The COA includes both direct and indirect costs. Direct costs such as tuition and fees, on-campus room and board (determined by the school and based on the amount normally assessed for most residents) are set by the University. The Student bill is made up of these Direct costs. Indirect costs, which are not set by the University include: books, supplies, personal expenses, transportation, and reasonable cost considerations for off-campus housing, utilities and food. These costs are typically presented as:

Direct Costs Indirect Costs
Tuition and Fees* Books and Supplies
Room and Board Transportation**
Miscellaneous / Personal


* Includes the cost of the University's mandatory health insurance. Students may waive the University's plan by providing proof of current health insurance coverage.

**The distance education cost of attendance does not include transportation and will be assessed only for students living off-campus.

To review the Cost of Attendance, click on the appropriate link below:

Student Aid Report

After you submit your FAFSA, you’ll get a Student Aid Report (SAR) in 3-14 days that summarizes the information you provided on your FAFSA. The SAR document gives you some basic information about your eligibility for federal student aid as well as listing your answers to the questions on your FAFSA. Review your Student Aid Report carefully to make sure the information is correct and complete.

If you provided an email address when you completed your FAFSA, you will receive an email with instructions on how to access and print your report. Otherwise, you will receive the SAR via postal mail.

If your application is complete, an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will display in the upper right-hand corner of your SAR. If your application is incomplete, your SAR will not include an EFC, but it will tell you what you need to do to resolve any issues.

If you listed WSSU on your FAFSA, WSSU will use your information to determine your eligibility for federal—and possibly non-federal—financial aid. WSSU may ask you to verify the accuracy of the data you provide on the FAFSA, so you need to be sure the information is correct.

If you don’t have any changes to make to the information listed on your SAR, just keep it for your records.

The SAR also contains a four-digit Data Release Number (DRN), which appears on the first page in the upper right corner of the paper SAR and SAR Acknowledgement. The DRN is located in the box that contains the Application Receipt date, below the EFC. You will need the DRN if you choose to allow your college to change certain information on your FAFSA.

Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

Your Expected Family Contribution is an amount calculated from information that was provided in your FAFSA. Your EFC is an estimate of the maximum amount that your family should be able to afford to pay towards your education for the academic year. Your EFC is subtracted from your COA to determine the amount of your financial need.