Financial aid

Financial aid makes the difference.

Financial aid is the combination of grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study programs that make higher education possible for most students and families. While it's natural to worry about how to pay for college, by the time financial aid is considered, you could actually pay less out-of-pocket to attend WWU than you would at any other Adventist or private college—or even a state school!

Who gets financial aid? Almost everyone. 
Almost 90 percent of WWU students qualify, and the average annual award is about $25,690. So even if you think you won't be eligible, apply anyway for three good reasons:

  1. It's free, and it's not as complicated as it looks.
  2. It's the same federal form for every college and university.
  3. It's the only way to get financial aid.

Did you know?

  • WWU awarded $46.4 million in financial aid last year.
  • Students who qualify for financial aid receive an  average annual award of about $25,690.
  • The average out-of-pocket family contribution for students who qualify for financial aid is about $9,925.

In order to receive the maximum financial assistance available, students should plan their finances for the entire academic school year prior to registration and complete their financial aid file by April 30 prior to the school year.


Grants and scholarships

Grants are awarded based on financial need. Scholarships are awarded in recognition of significant achievements like high GPA or test scores, or holding leadership positions in high school.


Work-study jobs are made possible through federal and state funding. As part of their financial aid packages, qualifying Walla Walla University students are given the opportunity to defray part of their educational expenses through a work-study program. 


Student loans

No one likes borrowing money, and debt should never be considered lightly. But when it makes a college education possible, taking out low-interest student loans could be the smartest decision you'll ever make. 

Special aid programs

Information about financial aid for Canadians, U.S. Veterans, and students planning to study abroad.

How much financial aid can I get?

Financial aid fills the gap between what college costs and what you and your family can afford to pay, and makes a Christian education possible. Here's how the aid you will qualify for is calculated:

[Cost of attendance] - [Student aid index] = [Financial need]

Cost of attendance: That's the price tag for a year at the college you're considering. It includes fixed expenses like tuition, housing and food, and other student fees and variable expenses. The higher the cost of attendance, the more financial aid you're likely to get. View your estimated expenses.

Student Aid Index: This is the dollar amount that you and your family can reasonably be expected to contribute toward college. This amount is determined by the FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and is calculated by the federal government, not WWU. It is contestable. If you feel that the FAFSA results don't reflect your unique financial situation, you can dispute them through a process called "professional judgement." This process gives the WWU financial aid office the authority to take into account your unique financial circumstances and compensate for them.  

  • You can estimate your student aid index by using this SAI Calculator.
  • If you believe that the SAI doesn't accurately reflect your specific financial situation, call us to talk about the professional judgement process and what additional documentation is required. 

Some of the situations WWU can consider as part of a professional judgement:

  • There are other children in elementary or secondary school that parents paid tuition. This is for the same year as the FAFSA data. 
  • Parents’ combined income has decreased, or is expected to decrease, since the year used in the FAFSA. 
  • Student’s income (or the student and spouse’s combined income, if married) decreased, or is expected to decrease, since the year used in the FAFSA. 
  • Family has unusual expenses:
    • Unusual medical or dental expenses are defined as the amount that exceeds 11% of the parents’ “Income Protection Allowance”
    • Maintaining two households in different cities – document the expense of maintaining the secondary household
    • Unusual dependent care expenses, including eldercare expenses
  • Click here to access the PDF forms for these circumstances.
  • If any of these circumstances occurred, please call (509) 527-2315. We’ll talk with you on how to document the change:  
    • Parent divorce or marriage since the year of the FAFSA data
    • Parent has gone back to school and has been accepted into a degree program (not just taking occasional classes)
    • Your income changes drastically each year, and you want to request “income averaging”
    • A one-time capital gain, typically from the sale of an asset
    • Parents are unable to provide information. For example, long-term estrangement, incarceration.

Financial need: The difference between the cost of attendance and the student aid index. It is offset by financial aid, which includes grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study.  

Feel overwhelmed? Call us!

If you’ve applied for financial aid and explored the options listed above but still need financial assistance to make a WWU education possible, don’t hesitate to call us. Our financial counselors are trained to maximize all aid sources and will do everything they can to help you. 

1 (800) 656-2315 |