Jun 22, 2024  
2024-2025 Catalog 
  
2024-2025 Catalog

Financial Aid


The Mustang Central staff is responsible for coordinating all student financial assistance. This responsibility includes scholarships, grants, loans, VA benefits, and federal work-study. Each student is urged to consider the various financial aid options available.

The types of financial assistance at Western include:

  • Aid based on assessed financial need
  • Academic excellence
  • Foundation and Institutional aid

All Federal, Institutional, and most Foundation aid requires completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Supporting information may be required. Some institutional scholarships require the student to write a personal essay that details their career goals and educational plans and submit two letters of recommendation to support the application. Additionally, students must submit their final high school transcript, be accepted for admission to Western, and be in an eligible educational program before any financial aid award is disbursed.

How should I apply?

For institutional scholarship inquiries and applications, students should contact Mustang Central. Western’s priority funding date for academic and institutional scholarships is April 1 for Federal and Foundation Aid programs. Since aid programs are in high demand, students are encouraged to meet the priority dates while funds remain available. Aid is not reserved for late applicants; awards are made as files are completed.

For federal aid programs, students must file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and are responsible for submitting additional information requested by Western within the established deadline. Funds are limited, and the process may be lengthy, so students should plan accordingly.

For WWC Foundation aid, students must submit the Civic Grant application online. As many of these are need-based grants, students must file the FAFSA. Western must have the civic grant application and FAFSA results on file in Mustang Central by April 1 for priority consideration.

All financial aid applicants must have graduated or completed their high school equivalency requirements and be degree-seeking at Western Wyoming Community College. Mustang Central must receive the final high school transcript, high school equivalency scores, ACT/SAT, or Workkeys, where applicable, before the aid disbursement.

How are selections made?

Selection for aid is made following the priority dates. Applications received by those dates will receive priority consideration for all available monies. Applications received after the date will be processed and considered for available funds. Students should begin receiving award notifications in early spring through summer. Once an award is made, students can access the award notification on Western’s webpage through MyWestern. Login and password are required.

Often, students are offered a combination of federal and institutional aid programs to help meet their attendance costs. Attendance costs are the average costs for elements determined by financial aid policies and federal guidelines as necessary to complete an educational program at Western. These elements include but are not limited to tuition, fees, books, room and board, travel expenses, childcare, and miscellaneous living expenses. Other factors can be included on a case-by-case basis in the cost of attendance. Two examples of these are expenses incurred due to disability and the cost of a computer. Contact Mustang Central staff for more specifics about these and other additional elements.

To receive aid from any of the federal student aid programs, an applicant must meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • Have financial need, except for some loans;
  • Have a high school diploma, high school equivalency certificate (GED/HiSET/TASC), or have completed homeschooling at the secondary level;
  • Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an approved program at Western to obtain a certificate or degree;
  • Be a U.S. citizen, national, permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen;
  • Have a social security number;
  • Be making satisfactory academic progress toward completion of a certificate or degree;
  • Certify that financial aid funds are used only for educational purposes;
  • Not be in default on a federal student loan;
  • Not owe a repayment of a federal grant
  • Be enrolled at least half-time (six credits) for most programs (except Pell)

The U.S. Department of Education interfaces with other federal databases to confirm several criteria.

Federal financial aid can fund only classes that count toward a student’s certificate or degree (or are an allowable elective).

Federal Aid Programs:

Federal Pell Grant: Need-based grant money may be available to students attending approved post-secondary institutions. The Central Processing System determines eligibility through FAFSA completion.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG): Federal grants awarded to students with the lowest family contribution and greatest financial need.

Federal Work-Study (FWS): Student employment is available to a limited number of students with needs who choose to earn part of their educational funding.

Subsidized Direct Loan: Need-based federally subsidized loans to college students, which the Federal Direct Loan Program funds. While a student is enrolled at least half-time, the Federal Government pays the interest. The interest rate is fixed, and repayment obligations begin six months after a student completes their education or stops attending on at least a part-time basis. Entrance counseling and a Master Promissory Note are required before disbursement.

Unsubsidized Direct Loan: Federal loans available to students funded by the Federal Direct Loan Program. Interest payments begin within 60 days after loan disbursement unless students choose to defer these payments. It has a fixed interest rate. Entrance counseling and a Master Promissory Note are required before the final disbursement.

Federal Direct PLUS Loan: Federal loan available to parents whose dependent children attend post-secondary institutions. The interest rate is fixed, and repayment begins immediately after the last loan disbursement.

Institutional Aid Programs

Scholarships

Western’s academic scholarship program is funded through a combination of resources, including Western institutional funds, the state of Wyoming’s Hathaway Scholarship program, and the WWC Foundation. Scholarships with a specified fund amount are distributed over two years, and eligibility criteria must be maintained to receive the second scheduled award.

All Western Scholarship information can be viewed in detail on the website.

Western Scholarship Information

Rights and Responsibilities

All students receiving financial aid must adhere to the Academic Standards for financial aid recipients. Awards are reviewed after each semester and considered for renewal. Renewal is required via the appropriate application following every Spring semester.

Upon request, Mustang Central staff will provide the following types of information: 1) descriptions of aid programs available to students enrolled; 2) procedures for applying for aid; 3) criteria for awarding aid; 4) rights and responsibilities of students receiving aid; 5) comprehensive costs; 6) description of academic programs and facilities; 7) loan repayment terms and schedules.

Academic Standards for Financial Aid Recipients

The Federal Department of Education (DOE) mandates establishing and enforcing a Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Policy for all institutions participating in federal Title IV aid programs. Federal Title IV aid programs include Pell, SEOG, Direct Student/Parent Loans, and Work Study. The regulations require the measurement of cumulative GPA, rate of progression, and maximum time frame. A change of program does not reset the SAP calculation. Western students are considered to be making SAP if they consistently:

Western’s qualitative measurement

Maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 2.00

Western’s quantitative measurement

Complete 66.667% of attempted credits*
Do not meet or exceed 150% of the program length. For example, 96 credits for Associate degree programs

* Attempted credits are any credits for which the student enrolled, whether or not the student received federal financial aid. Attempted credits include withdrawn, incomplete, failed, and repeated courses. Transferred credits accepted by Western are included in the 96-credit hour maximum. The table below illustrates how graded classes impact Financial Aid SAP.

GRADE   Cumulative GPA Attempted Credit    Completed Credit
A-F Yes Yes Yes
I (incomplete)** No Yes No
Repeats Most Recent Grade   Yes   Yes
W No Yes No
Transferred and accepted by Western    No Yes Yes

**When completed OR the student receives an F grade due to failure to complete the coursework as required, the new grade is used to calculate SAP at the end of the student’s next semester of attendance. The updated letter grade is treated per the table above when SAP is recalculated. Students are monitored for financial aid satisfactory academic progress (SAP) at the end of each semester of attendance. Students approaching the maximum time frame (96 credits for associate degrees), with less than a 2.00 cumulative GPA, or completing less than 66.667% of attempted credits are given Warning status.

Students with a Warning status are notified by MyWestern e-mail that they are in danger of losing their financial aid eligibility and what they must do to maintain eligibility. Students are eligible for federal financial aid with a Warning status during their next semester of attendance. Students with a Warning status who reach or exceed the maximum time frame (96 credits for an associate degree) and have less than a 2.00 cumulative GPA or a 66.667% completion rate are no longer eligible for federal Title IV financial aid and any financial aid that requires SAP. These students receive an unsatisfactory or Max Time SAP status. Students are notified via MyWestern e-mail that they are not eligible for federal financial aid. The e-mail includes information about how to regain eligibility and the appeal process. Western is not required to inform students of their SAP status; this is the student’s responsibility.

Treatment of Remedial Courses and English as a Second Language Coursework

No more than one year’s (24 credits) worth of reduced credit remedial coursework will be included in a student’s enrollment status or cost of attendance. ESL courses do not count against the one-year limitation. Remedial coursework is included in attempted credits when considering a student’s duration of eligibility.

Treatment of Incompletes, Withdrawals, and Repetitions

Grades of I (incomplete), F (failure), and W (withdrawal) are not considered completed classes but will be included in the number of attempted credit hours. Repeat courses will be counted in attempted and completed credits. Western students can repeat a satisfactorily completed course once and receive funding. Mustang Central staff will not include a completed course taken for the third time in a student’s cost of attendance or awarding purposes. Inappropriate selection of courses is not an acceptable reason for not maintaining satisfactory academic progress. Students should contact an advisor.

An incomplete course must be completed the following semester unless the student requests an extension from the instructor. Once the incomplete is completed and the instructor has updated the grade, the student will be responsible for contacting Mustang Central staff to recalculate their satisfactory academic progress for the term in question.

Treatment of Transfer Students, Second Degrees, and Second Majors

Students transferring to Western Wyoming Community College will have all attempted hours and transfer credits included in the maximum time frame of 150%. Once the student meets the 150% maximum time frame, a letter is sent to the student notifying them that they have reached the maximum eligibility duration and that they can appeal. If the student submits an appeal, a degree audit will be done to determine the required courses needed to complete the Associate’s Degree or Certificate. 150% of that number will be the maximum number of hours funded at Western.

Students changing majors and requesting an extension of aid eligibility will be required to provide a written appeal to the FA office, give notification of the major change, and make an official change of major with Mustang Central. The Director will verify this information utilizing the administrative computer system. For an extension of aid to be granted beyond the 150% time frame, the Change of Major must be well-defined (EX, Nursing to BIS). Suppose it is determined to be a well-defined change of major by the FA Director; a degree audit will be run. In that case, all developmental courses will be discounted, and 150% of the required courses for the new major will be extended to the student. Students can change their major no more than three times and appeal for an extension of aid (i.e., one declared major and two major changes).

Students seeking second associate degrees and requesting financial aid assistance must provide a written appeal to Mustang Central staff. Appeal requests will be considered if the second degree is in a clearly defined different area of study. For example, if the first AS was in Biology and the second associate degree is in Education, then an aid extension will be granted once. If it is determined to be a clearly defined second associate degree by the Financial Aid Director, a degree audit will be run, and 150% of the required courses for the second associate degree will be extended to the student.

Students who have exceeded the 150% time frame will be considered for an extension of aid eligibility if a stop-out period is three years or greater. A degree audit will be run to determine the courses still required for the degree, and that number will be taken by 150% as the maximum number of hours to be funded at Western.

Appeals

Western has an appeal procedure for students who fail to make satisfactory academic progress.  The student should understand the SAP for their aid and when subsequent grades place them in Aid Suspension. Mustang Central staff is not responsible for notifying the students, although we make every effort to do so. Furthermore, it is the student’s responsibility to notify Mustang Central staff when conditions have been met to receive financial aid again (generally a successful semester at the student’s expense) or to initiate an appeal.

Students are provided with detailed information on SAP when their financial aid is awarded.

Western students must appeal in writing to the Financial Aid Director. The appeal form that a student must fill out details their academic plan for the academic year. They must accompany the form with a letter explaining the extenuating circumstances that prevented them from meeting the SAP standards and any documentation (medical, legal, etc.) that would substantiate their case. Examples of mitigating circumstances by which an appeal might be approved include a family member’s death, illness, living conditions not conducive to academic success that are out of the student’s control, etc.

The Financial Aid Review Board comprises the Financial Aid Officer, the Vice President for Student Success, two Professional/Administrative employees, and two faculty members. If the FA Director denies an appeal, the student can meet with the FARB. The student appears in person or via conference call and explains the circumstances surrounding their failure to meet the institution’s SAP standards. The FARB can override the Director’s denial decision in such cases. Students can meet only once with the FARB during their time at Western.

Western students must submit the appeal in writing to the Financial Aid Director to meet with the FARB.

Students are allowed one appeal to the FARB. Only in exceptional circumstances is a second appeal allowed. The FA Director and/or the FARB may apply specific conditions to approve a student’s appeal.

The outcome of a student’s appeal, whether accepted or denied, is communicated to the student via email to the student’s MyWestern email address. The Director updates the administrative computer system regarding the SAP outcome. 

Documentation

Additional information may sometimes be required to document the mitigating circumstances surrounding a satisfactory academic progress appeal; therefore, forms of acceptable documentation that may be submitted in support of an appeal include but are not limited to:

  • Newspaper obituaries or death certificates to substantiate deaths
  • Physician’s statement to substantiate illness or accident
  • Statement from clergy or family member who knows the student’s situation
  • Statement from an academic advisor or professor

Regaining Eligibility

Students not making satisfactory academic progress may re-establish eligibility independently, either because their appeals were denied or because they did not avail themselves of the appeal processes.

In the case of a qualitative suspension, a student must pay for one semester (or more) at their own expense until they match the number of credits for which they were initially funded and correct the deficiency (earn a semester GPA of 2.0 or greater). It is the student’s responsibility to notify Mustang Central staff in writing through the appeal process that they wish to be evaluated for reinstatement of eligibility for financial aid.

Once the student has corrected the deficiency, they must communicate this information to Mustang Central staff. This is done by writing a letter to the Financial Aid Director notifying them that the deficiency has been corrected. Upon receipt and verification of the information, the student’s eligibility will be reinstated for the upcoming semester.

Refunds and Repayments for Students with Scholarships, Title IV Grants, or Title IV Loan

  1. A student in default or owes a refund to any institution of any funds received under Title IV grant or loan programs for attendance at any institution is not eligible to receive Title IV funds.
  2. A student who receives a scholarship, Title IV Grant, or Title IV Loan funds and withdraws, drops out, or is expelled before the first day of classes in the payment period must repay the total amount of all such awards.
  3. A student who receives a scholarship, Title IV Grant, or Title IV Loan funds and attended classes but subsequently withdraws, drops out, or is expelled must repay such awards per established policy.
  4. Overpayments: If the student described above received Title IV Grant and scholarship funds in excess of tuition, book allowance, housing, and board payments made to Western Wyoming Community College, such excess constitutes an overpayment to the student if it exceeds the standard living cost allowance for the student’s period of attendance. If an overpayment has been made, the student will be billed for repayment. Within the scholarship category, repayments to the respective funds will be made in the same proportion as awards received from those funds. Within the Title IV category, repayments will be prioritized, with repayment successively to the Pell Grant and SEOG funds. No repayment to a fund may exceed the amount the student received from that fund.

Return to Title IV

When an official withdrawal is completed, Western has a clearly defined policy for student refunds for educational costs such as tuition and fees, room and board. See Policy 3810B for the college-wide refund process for tuition and fees, and refer to the Residence Halls Handbook for refund tables for housing and meal plans.

However, Students who withdraw or stop attending classes may be subject to a return of Federal Financial Aid funds. This calculation has requirements that are different from the refund policy mentioned above. Programs affected by this policy include but may not be limited to:

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans
  • Direct Subsidized Loans
  • Direct Parent Loans (PLUS)
  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Federal SEOG

Students may be required to return federal funds previously received because they did not fulfill the award’s requirements. The date of determination and the return of funds may be based on the following:

Official Withdrawal - Official withdrawals are calculated up to 30 days after receiving the Add/Drop form.

The date the student begins the withdrawal process OR officially notifies the institution of intent to withdraw.

Date on the official Add/Drop received by Mustang Central

Unofficial Withdrawal - Unofficial Withdrawals are determined up to 45 days after the end of each semester.

The student’s last date of attendance

The school determines the last date of academic activity

Withdrawing before completing 60% of the term: Title IV aid is earned per day up to the 60% point of each semester. All Title IV aid is subject to a return of funds up to 60%. After that point, all aid is considered “earned” and will not be returned.

Title IV aid is returned in the following order:

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans
  • Direct Subsidized Loans
  • Direct PLUS Loans (PLUS)
  • Federal Pell Grants
  • Federal SEOG

Post Withdrawal Disbursement - Once the determination date for withdrawal is made, the Return to Title IV funds will be calculated. When the aid disbursed is less than the aid earned by the student, a post-withdrawal disbursement occurs. Disbursement will be made up to 30 days from the determination date of withdrawal.

A sample worksheet used to calculate Return to Title IV Funds at Western is available at http://ifap.ed.gov/ifap/titleiv.jsp by selecting “Treatment of Title IV Funds When a Student Withdraws from a Credit Hour Program.”

If the Return of Title IV calculation requires the return of a portion of received financial aid, the student must return the unearned portion to Western upon receiving notification. Failure to do so may make the student ineligible for future federal student aid. Any unpaid balance on the student account will result in a hold placed on the student account and is subject to the college’s collection process.

Notification of Return of Title IV: The student receives a letter addressed to their current mailing address on file when a calculation has been completed, indicating the amount charged back, the current account balance, and the student’s option for repayment.

Questions about the Return to Title IV calculations may be directed to Mustang Central staff at (307) 382-1677, 1-800-226-1181, or financialaid@westernwyoming.edu.

Verification Policies and Procedures for Federal Student Aid Applications

  1. Conditions requiring verification
    An applicant must verify or validate by documentation and application information if the application is selected for verification in the federal processing and edit system. An application may also be selected for verification if Mustang Central staff has reason to believe that any application information critical to the calculation of the student’s expected family contribution is inaccurate.
  2. Notice of verification requirement
    If an application is selected for verification, applicants may access the application status and missing documents in MyWestern, Self-Service for Students - My Financial Aid.
  3. Deadline for submission of verification documents
    While the period granted to the applicant for completion of required documentation may vary with the complexity of the requirements and with the time remaining in the school term for which funding is sought, the deadline for submission of verification documents must be at least 30 days before the end of the school term for which funding is sought, to allow for processing (and correction if needed) before the end of the term to be funded.
  4. Consequences of failure to comply with verification requirements
    Should the applicant fail to provide required documentation within the specified period, Mustang Central staff must consider the application invalid, and the applicant will forfeit eligibility for assistance from the federal Title IV and any other student aid programs for the program year for which the invalid application was filed.
  5. Notice of results of verification
    Suppose the verification documents provided within the specified period confirm the accuracy of all application items requiring verification. In that case, the application is finalized, and if all other requirements have been met, an award letter is sent to the applicant. Mustang Central staff will resubmit the corrected data to the federal processor if the verification documents reveal inaccuracies in the application. If incomplete or inadequate verification documents are submitted, the applicant is notified of deficiencies and instructed on how to correct them. The applicant will be notified of their eligibility or non-eligibility by email.
  6. Fraudulent application information
    Should a review of an application for Title IV student aid indicate that the applicant may have engaged in fraud or other criminal misconduct in connection with their application, Mustang Central staff must refer all relevant information to the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Education for investigation. Such information includes false claims of independent student status, claims of citizenship, use of false identities, forgery of signatures or certificates, and false income statements.