Financial Aid FAQs for Online Students

Don’t Navigate Financial Aid Alone

If you have questions about financing options for online students, government aid, and the FAFSA application, please browse our frequently asked questions below. Your financial aid advisor is also a great resource when it comes to helping you understand your financial aid package.

Program Costs & Payment Options
Where can I find tuition costs and fees for WCU?

Tuition and fees vary by program. Tuition costs for our online programs can be found here:

Students enrolled in distance education programs are billed for tuition and fees based on cost per credit hour. As a result, costs vary based on individual student schedules.

What does cost of attendance include?

The total cost of attendance is the estimated amount it will cost a student to go to school, including both direct and indirect costs. Direct costs are items that will appear on your university bills, such as tuition and fees. Indirect costs are associated with going to school but do not appear on your bill, such as transportation and housing. Indirect costs are estimated to help students prepare a personal budget and financing plan. You do NOT have to pay these indirect costs to WCU.

When is tuition due?

Tuition is due by the start of the semester or trimester, unless alternative arrangements have been made with the Financial Aid or Bursar offices.

What payment methods are available?

Payments may be made by credit card, debit card, wire transfer, check, or money order made payable to West Coast University. Payments may be automatically debited from a valid pre-authorized credit card or submitted electronically each month on our secure student portal.

Are payment plans available?

We offer interest-free payment plans that allow annual tuition costs to be paid over the course of the academic year. To calculate the monthly amount, the balance is divided into seven equal payments and must be paid on time each month. Students who opt to continue with cash payments in subsequent academic years must have their balance paid in full at the end of the current academic year.

Can I pay a down payment to reduce my monthly payment obligation?

If you opt for our interest-free payment plan, you can choose to pay a down payment and reduce your remaining balance. This will help lower your monthly payment obligation, as long as payments are timely.

What is tuition reimbursement, and how does it work?

Tuition reimbursement (also known as tuition assistance) is a benefit that might be offered by your employer. Through this benefit, organizations help employees grow by covering part of their tuition for continuing education. Tuition reimbursement programs give employees the chance to increase their industry knowledge and develop advanced skills.

Questions about potential tuition reimbursement should be directed to your employer.

Am I required to purchase eBooks? Can I opt out of eBooks?

Our technology fee includes required electronic course materials, including eBooks. However, students may opt out and purchase books on their own. A notification is sent each term with instructions detailing how to opt out of using eBooks.

Federal Student Aid & Private Loans
What kind of federal financial aid am I eligible for?

The Federal Student Aid Estimator provides a projection of the aid you may receive. Additional information regarding the different types of federal student aid can be found here.

WCU offers students several options for payment of tuition. All students are encouraged to apply for financial assistance if they are unable to meet educational costs on their own. All students will have the opportunity to meet with a financial aid officer to discuss payment options.

I borrowed federal student loans for my undergraduate program. Am I eligible for additional funding for my graduate program?

The U.S. Department of Education’s federal student loan program is the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan program. Under this program, the U.S. Department of Education is your lender. There are Direct Loan options for graduate students, which can be found here.

Will taking one class per term instead of two classes impact my eligibility for federal student aid?

Eligibility for federal student aid depends on several factors, including enrollment status. When considering financial aid options, please take into account whether you will enrolled as a part-time or full-time student.

If I start school, can I defer my current federal student loans?

If you are currently repaying student loans from your previous education, you may be eligible for an in-school deferment when you enroll at least half-time. Learn more about student loan deferment.

If I have been granted Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA), am I eligible for federal student aid?

Unfortunately, undocumented students, including DACA recipients, are NOT eligible for federal student aid.

I am still enrolled at another school but am interested in transferring to West Coast University. Will that impact my eligibility for federal student aid?

There are a variety of factors that will affect the amount and types of aid you may be eligible for when you transfer to a new school. More information for transfer students can be found here.

Are private loans an option to cover costs?

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. Before considering a private loan, we encourage students to explore federal and state grants and loans, and to consider the anticipated monthly loan payments along with expected future earnings.

WCU does not make any recommendations regarding private lender selection for students who decide to pursue private loans. 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.

Can I get my financial aid award adjusted if my circumstances change?

If you had an unusual change in circumstances such as a decrease in income, a change in family size, or a change in dependency status, you may be eligible to have your financial aid award adjusted. To have your circumstances reviewed for this purpose, you must submit a professional judgment request with the Financial Aid office. If approved, our financial aid officers will be able to update the data used to calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which can potentially result in a revised financial aid package. Learn about our professional judgment policy.

Grants & Scholarships
Does West Coast University offer any grants or scholarships?

We offer several scholarship and grant opportunities to students who qualify. To be eligible, students must be admitted to the university and meet any fund-specific 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.

Explore our online division scholarships and grants.

Do scholarships and grants cover the full program costs?

While scholarships and grants may be included in your plan if you qualify, there is generally a remaining balance that is not covered by institutional funds. A financial aid advisor will help you explore other options to cover this remaining amount.

Do I qualify for grants or scholarships if I am a graduate student?

Read about our online division scholarships and grants to determine which ones are available to prospective graduate students.

What is the Alumni Pathway Grant, and how much of my tuition will it cover?

The Alumni Pathway Grant is available to West Coast University or American Career College alumni who enroll in online programs. Grant amounts vary but will not exceed 20% of tuition charges each term.

What is the Performance Grant and how much is it?

The WCU Performance Scholarship is a merit-based program available for students enrolled in a WCU online degree program and who meet the scholarship eligibility requirements. Scholarships for approved applicants may be offered as a 15% reduction of tuition for the program incurred for each academic year.

FAFSA Application
What is the school code for West Coast University? Where do I enter the school code on my FAFSA?

The school code is 036983 for all West Coast University programs and campuses. Enter it as shown below on your FAFSA.

FAFSA 036983

The IRS data retrieval tool is not working. How can I retrieve my tax information to complete the FAFSA?

An IRS tax return transcript may be requested online or by phone. To get transcripts online, visit, click “Get Your Tax Record,” and then click “Get a Transcript Online.” To request tax information by phone, call 1-800-908-9946.

I have questions about the information requested on the FAFSA. Who can I contact?

You can get help with your FAFSA form by contacting the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).

How do I know that my FAFSA was successfully submitted?

Once you submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form, you will be taken to a confirmation page with a confirmation number. Your confirmation number serves as proof of your successful FAFSA submission or correction.

Be sure to print or screenshot the confirmation page to keep for your records. If you provided an email address on your FAFSA form or correction, your confirmation information will also be emailed to you automatically.

To check the status of your FAFSA form, take the following steps:

  1. Log in to
  2. Select that you are a student.
  3. Select “Continue.”
  4. Your FAFSA status can be found on the “My FAFSA” page, which you’ll see right after you log in if you’ve started or completed a FAFSA form.

To check the status of your FAFSA form, contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).

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