FAQs for Financial Aid

Financial Aid can be confusing, so we have compiled a list of questions from past and current students to help you as you apply. 

Once you have been accepted into Wheaton College, you can access your financial aid information on the Banner Self-Service link in the Wheaton Portal. The Admissions Office sends out instructions for creating a Wheaton email account and accessing the Wheaton Portal. 

In order for a student to receive federal financial aid and/or institutional need-based financial aid, the student must be eligible to apply. For eligibility information, please visit our Financial Aid Eligibility page. All students who are eligible and demonstrate financial need are eligible to receive aid. Nearly 80% of enrolled students receive some form of financial aid.

When you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the federal government sends your FAFSA information to the Student Financial Services Office at Wheaton. Our financial aid staff uses this information to assess your need. Each family is expected to contribute a portion of the parents' income and assets and a portion of the student's earnings and assets. With our Net Price Calculator, families can input their data and receive an estimate of their financial aid award at Wheaton College.

Three types of need-based aid may be awarded: grants and scholarships, low-interest student loans, and money earned through work-study. Wheaton College also offers several merit-based awards. These include Presidential scholarships, along with music and multicultural student scholarships. There is also other aid available, such as ROTC scholarships and loans that are not based on financial need.

You can choose to reduce the amount of the loan, or refuse it all, and still keep the grant portion of your package. We will offer a loan that is the maximum amount for which the student is eligible. Nevertheless, you do not have to accept the loans for which you qualify. Talk with your SFS Advisor for more information.

All financial aid funds will be disbursed during the week following the end of the add/drop period for the applicable semester, if all necessary requirements and paperwork have been received. Otherwise, these funds will be disbursed when the file is complete. The exception is in the case of student or parent loans, which may have a different disbursement schedule. Disbursement dates for a student or parent loan are listed separately when the loan is accepted. Once funds have been disbursed, if there is a federal student aid credit balance on the account, excess funds may be withdrawn from the student's account to purchase books and supplies.

We encourage you to investigate all possibilities for assistance, such as scholarships from corporations and private organizations or an education benefit from your family’s employer, such as another college or university. If you receive outside scholarships in an amount that would put your total resources above your demonstrated financial need, your award may be revised to first reduce or remove your federal work study, then your loans, and finally your grants.

There are low-interest Federal PLUS loans available to help parents finance their portion of the family contribution. Parents can borrow up to the amount of the full cost of attendance (financial aid budget) less all financial aid the student is receiving. Parents can apply online here. Visit our Supplemental Loans page for more information.

If your family experiences an unforeseen change in financial circumstances, or if you feel you have special circumstances that should considered, please notify our office. We will review your situation.

Students who do not receive need-based financial aid awards are still eligible to apply for certain other loans, payment plans, and parent loans. These are all made available to help families fit tuition payments into their budgets more easily. Call or e-mail the Student Financial Services Office for more information on federal unsubsidized Stafford loans and federal parent PLUS loans.

If you have questions concerning your eligibility to apply for Financial Aid, please visit our Financial Aid Eligibility page.

Financial aid awards are initially made based on the assumption that an undergraduate student will be enrolled full-time (at least 12 hours). If an undergraduate student is enrolled less than full-time, the amount of grants and scholarships that will be applied to their student account for that semester will be prorated based on the student’s enrollment. Undergraduate students enrolled in 9-11.5 hours will receive ¾ of each grant or scholarship amount applied to their student account. Undergraduate students enrolled in 6-8.5 hours will receive ½ of each grant or scholarship amount applied to their student account. Undergraduate students who are enrolled in fewer than 6 hours do not qualify for institutional grants or scholarships, however some federal and state grants are available for undergraduate students enrolled less than half time. These funds will be prorated according to the applicable federal or state rules.

E-mail your questions to sfs@wheaton.edu or call us at 630.752.5700.