Financial Aid Programs
The following is a description of the various financial aid programs available at West Coast University for students who qualify. Additional information may be obtained through the Financial Aid Office.
Federal Aid Programs
Federal Pell Grant: The Federal Pell Grant program provides a foundation of assistance to which other forms of aid may be added. Eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant Program is determined by a standard need-analysis formula that is revised and approved every year by the federal government. The student must be enrolled in an undergraduate program and may not already have a bachelor’s or professional degree. Unlike loans, grants do not have to be paid back. The maximum Federal Pell Grant for 2019-2020 is $6,195 per academic year. In certain situations, an eligible student can receive up to 150 percent of the maximum annual Federal Pell grant amount for an award year. A student can receive a Federal Pell Grant for no more than 12 semesters or the equivalent.
Federal Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant: The Federal Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant is offered to students who are not eligible for a Federal Pell Grant on the basis of their Expected Family Contribution as calculated from FAFSA data, but meet the remaining Federal Pell Grant eligibility requirements. In order to qualify, students must have had a parent or guardian in the U.S. armed forces that died as a result of military service performed in Iraq or Afghanistan after the events of 9/11. The student must have been under 24 years old or enrolled in college at least part-time at the time of the parent or guardian's death.
Federal Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship: This scholarship authorizes a Pell-eligible student whose parent or guardian died in the line of duty while performing as a public safety officer to be eligible to receive a maximum Federal Pell Grant for the award year for which the determination of eligibility is made. To qualify, a student must be Pell-eligible and have a Pell-eligible EFC, and be less than 24 years of age or enrolled at an institution of higher education at the time of his or her parent's or guardian's death. In subsequent award years, the student continues to be eligible for the scholarship as long as the student has a Pell-eligible EFC and continues to be an eligible student.
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants are available to a limited number of students with exceptional financial need. Grants are based on funds available and do not have to be repaid. Need is determined by the financial resources of the student's family and the cost of attendance. Offers are granted proportionately during the aid year until available funds have been exhausted.
Federal Work-Study (FWS): The Federal Work-Study program provides jobs for graduate and undergraduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay educational expenses. The program encourages community service work related to the student’s course of study. Funds under this program are limited. Students who indicate on their annual FAFSA that they are interested in FWS, and are otherwise eligible, will be offered FWS funds; however, students must apply for and be hired for a specific job opportunity in order to receive funds. Available positions are posted on our secure student portal.
William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan: Under the Federal Direct Loan (FDL) program the University certifies eligibility for each loan, and sends the loan details to the U.S. Department of Education. Loan proceeds are disbursed to the University electronically and then posted to the student's account. Students must repay the loan with interest to the servicer assigned by the U.S. Department of Education after the loan is disbursed. A description of the terms and conditions for borrowers of federal education loans is available at www.studentloans.gov.
Eligible students will be offered estimated student loan amounts based on FAFSA submission and the standard need-analysis formula. The University will estimate student loan eligibility on each student's initial financial aid offer for the amount necessary to cover direct institutional costs. Students interested in borrowing in excess of direct costs may request additional funds by contacting the campus financial aid office.
Students (and parents borrowing Federal Direct Parent Loans) must complete and submit a Master Promissory Note (MPN) to the Department of Education before loans will be processed. First time student loan borrowers must also complete loan entrance counseling prior to funds being disbursed. Both the MPN and loan counseling are available online at www.studentloans.gov.
Federal Subsidized Direct Loan: Federal Direct Subsidized loans are available to undergraduate students with financial need. Students may borrow up to $3,500 for their first academic year, $4,500 for the second academic year, and $5,500 for the third and fourth academic years, at a fixed interest rate which is established annually by the U.S. Department of Education. Current interest rates can be found at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/interest-rates#rates. The interest is paid by the federal government while students are in school. Interest begins accruing at the time students cease full-time enrollment or fail to carry at least one-half the normal full-time University workload. Regular payments begin six months after the student ceases enrollment or fail to carry at least one-half the normal full-time University workload. First-time borrowers may not receive this type of loan for more than 150 percent of the length of their program of study; U.S. Department of Education may stop paying interest if student who received Direct Subsidized Loans for the maximum period continues enrollment.
Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan: Unsubsidized Direct loans are available for students to borrow for additional education costs. Independent undergraduate students can borrow up to $9,500 for their first academic year, $10,500 for the second academic year and $12,500 for their third and fourth academic years, as a combined total with the Federal Subsidized Direct loan. Dependent undergraduate students can borrow up to $5,500 for their first academic year as a combined total with the Federal Subsidized Direct loan, $6,500 for their second academic year and $7,500 for their third and fourth academic years. Graduate students can borrow $20,500 each academic year. Interest rates are fixed and established annually by the U.S. Department of Education. Current interest rates can be found at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/interest-rates#rates. With the exception of demonstrating financial need and undergraduate status, borrowers must meet all eligibility criteria of the Federal Subsidized Direct loan program. Interest payments begin immediately after the loan is fully disbursed or may be added to the principal balance. Regular payments begin six months after the student ceases enrollment or fail to carry at least one-half the normal full-time school workload.
Federal Direct Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS): Federal Parent Loans for undergraduate students provide additional funds for credit-worthy parents to help pay for students' educational expenses. If a parent has no credit or a poor credit history, he/she may still qualify for a loan by applying with a credit-worthy endorser. Interest rates are fixed and established annually by the U.S. Department of Education. Current interest rates can be found at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/interest-rates#rates. Repayment begins immediately after the loan is fully disbursed. The University requires parent borrowers to submit a Request for Federal Direct Parent Loan form along with verification of the parent borrower's signature to the campus financial aid office prior to certification of a parent loan application.
Federal Direct PLUS Loans for Graduate Students (GRAD PLUS): Federal Graduate PLUS Loans for students pursuing a graduate or professional degree provide additional funds for credit-worthy graduate students to help pay for students' educational expenses. If a student has no credit or a poor credit history, he/she may still qualify for a loan by applying with a credit-worthy endorser. Interest rates are fixed and established annually by the U.S. Department of Education. Current interest rates can be found at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/interest-rates#rates. Repayment begins immediately after the loan is fully disbursed.
State Aid Programs
Cal Grant Program: Cal Grant A and B are grant programs administered by the State of California and are available to eligible undergraduate students who have applied before the March 1st deadline each year. Student eligibility must be approved by the California Student Aid Commission. Grants are based on funds available from the State and do not have to be repaid. All Cal Grant payments are credited to the student’s University account to cover outstanding tuition fees, and supplies. Cal Grant B access funds will be paid directly to the student as received, unless the student has provided the campus financial aid office with authorization to apply the funds to their student account to pay for tuition, fees, books, or supply charges.
Chafee Grant Program: The California Chafee Grant for Foster Youth is a grant program administered by the State of California. To qualify, the student must be a current or former foster youth and not have reached his or her 22nd birthday as of July 1st of the award year. The court must have established dependency for the student between the ages of 16 and 18. (KinGap youth, adopted youth, guardian placement, and voluntary placement may not be eligible for the Chafee Grant, unless court dependence was established, at anytime, between the ages of 16 and 18.) The California Department of Social Services will verify an applicant’s foster youth eligibility status. Chafee Grant payments will be stipend to the student for living expenses, unless the student provides written authorization to apply the funds to their student account to pay for tuition, fee, or book charges. The Chaffee Grant is federally and state funded and is subject to the availability of funds each year.
More information about Cal Grants and Chafee awards is available online athttps://mygrantinfo.csac.ca.gov/logon.asp.
Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program: This program offers three types of scholarships -- the Florida Academic Scholars Award (FAS), the Florida Medallion Scholars Award (FMS), and the Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars Award (GSV). The Program was created to establish a lottery-funded scholarship program to reward any Florida high school graduate who merits recognition of high academic achievement. Students must apply for the scholarship by submitting the Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA) no later than August 31 after high school graduation.
Benacquisto Scholarship Program: This program is a merit scholarship for Florida high school graduates who receive recognition as a National Merit Scholar. Eligible scholars will receive an award equal to the institutional cost of attendance minus the sum of Bright Futures and the National Merit award.
Florida Postsecondary Student Assistance Grant Program: This program is a need-based grant program available to degree-seeking, resident, undergraduate students who demonstrate substantial financial need and are enrolled in participating postsecondary institutions. Students demonstrate financial need by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) prior to the first day of classes. Funds are offered by the campus financial aid office to students with the highest need for the Fall and Spring semesters. Funds are offered until all available funds have been exhausted.
Jose Marti Scholarship Challenge Grant: This grant is a need-based merit scholarship that provides financial assistance to eligible students of Hispanic origin. To be considered for this grant, students must submit a Florida Financial Aid Application no later than April 1st, during senior year of high school. Applicants will be ranked by their application submission date, if necessary. Applicants must have a minimum CGPA of 3.0.
Scholarships for Children/Spouses of Deceased or Disabled Veterans: These scholarships provide an award to dependent children or unremarried spouses of qualified Florida veterans. Applicants must submit a completed Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA) by April 1 for priority consideration of an initial award (available October 1). Question 31a-g of the FFAA must be answered with information related to the veteran by April 1 so that the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs can certify that the veteran qualifies.
Honorably Discharged Graduate Assistance Program (HDGAP):
The Florida Legislature created funding for the Honorably Discharged Graduate Assistance Program as a supplemental need-based veteran educational benefit. Funds are to be used to assist in the payment of living expenses during holiday and semester breaks for active duty and honorably discharged members of the Armed Forces who served on or after September 11, 2001. To qualify, applicants must be enrolled in an approved program of study, be a Florida resident, have completed an error-free FAFSA and have sufficient unmet need. Allocation of funds will be sent to the institution for certified veterans in mid-December of each year. Due to limited funding, funds may be exhausted during the first semester break.
Institutional Scholarships and Grants
West Coast University offers several scholarship and grant opportunities to students. To be eligible for WCU scholarships or grants, students must be admitted to the University and meet any fund-specific eligibility requirements. Unless otherwise noted, all WCU scholarships and grants are applied toward university tuition and fees. Funds are limited and not all who apply will receive an offer. Offer amounts may be proportionately reduced for less-than-full-time enrollment. Students who receive a scholarship or grant but withdraw prior to completion of their academic degree program will forfeit future disbursements, and students who withdraw in the middle of a semester or trimester will have their disbursement reduced proportionately to the percent of tuition earned.
Specific scholarship and grant opportunities are detailed in the next section of this catalog.
Private loans are available to students through various lending institutions to help pay educational expenses. Private loans, which are not insured by the federal government, have repayment terms that vary depending on the lender from which you borrow. West Coast University encourages students to explore federal and state grants and loans, and to consider the anticipated monthly loan payments along with expected future earnings before considering a private education loan. Federal student loans are required by law to provide a range of flexible repayment options and loan forgiveness benefits, which private student loans are not required to provide. The U.S. Department of Education provides a student loan repayment estimator online at: https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/repaymentEstimator.action.
Generally, private loans require that the borrower is a U.S. Citizen, a U.S. national, or a permanent resident and must be creditworthy. International students are eligible with a creditworthy cosigner (who must be a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident) and appropriate U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service documentation. If the student has no credit or a poor credit history, he/she may still qualify for a loan by applying with a creditworthy co-borrower.
Most lenders expect you to have a qualified co-borrower before they will approve the loan. Interest rates and repayment terms vary between private lenders. West Coast University does not make any recommendations regarding private lender selection for students who decide to pursue private loan options. Students may borrow from any lender. Be sure to research and review each lender's terms and conditions before making a final decision. A list of lenders previously used by WCU students is available at http://www.elmselect.com/, along with terms and conditions for each private lender.
Note: Most private loan are borrowed in the student's name as primary borrower, although an endorser may be required for approval. Some private lenders also offer parent loans with the parent or other relative as the primary borrower. In the case of private parent loans, any credit balance remaining on the student’s account after tuition and required fees are paid in full will be refunded to the primary borrower, unless the primary borrower has provided written authorization for alternative treatment of the excess funds.