Award Process

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After we receive your application for financial aid and you are admitted to the University of Washington Tacoma, we will send you an email if you are eligible for aid, referring you to MyUW where you can review the details of your financial aid award (the types and amounts of aid for which you qualify).  We start awarding in the spring before the next academic year begins.

If you receive a “Notice of Preliminary Award” (an estimate of your eligibility for aid) then you may accept this initial award; however, we will complete the review of information you provided on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before your award can be confirmed.  If you receive a “Notice of Award” then your application has been reviewed and your eligibility confirmed; however, you must accept your award online at MyUW by the date indicated to reserve your aid.

Please follow the instructions below to ensure your aid will be ready for you when you start the school year.

  • New students
    You will need your UW NetID in order to access your online financial aid award.
  • Check for errors in address, social security number or other information about you
    Read the assumptions (state residency, enrollment status, number of quarters you plan to attend this year).  Please contact our office if any of the assumptions are incorrect.  If you are not a Washington state resident but pay resident tuition because of a departmental appointment or Armed Services status, note the tuition benefit in the Resources Review/Update section in Financial Aid Status on MyUW.
  • Accept or reject each form of aid listed
    You are under no obligation until aid is disbursed; you may accept an award now and change your mind later.  You may also accept or reject aid from any fund without losing the other aid offered in your award.  If you reject an award or don’t accept it by the ‘reply by date’ then the award will be cancelled.  As we have limited funds, awards that are cancelled may not be able to be restored if you later decide that you need them.  Federal Direct Stafford Loans, Federal Direct PLUS Loans and Federal Pell Grants can usually be reinstated.  If you would like us to replace Work Study with a federal loan then contact our office after you accept your award.  However, we cannot replace loans with grants and scholarships.
  • Determine how much you want to borrow
    You may be offered a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan or a Federal Direct PLUS Loan to help meet your financial need or if you are not eligible for need-based aid.  These loans do not include a federal subsidy so interest begins to accrue after the loan proceeds have been disbursed.  Also, repayment on the PLUS loan begins 60 days after the last disbursement of loan funds (with some deferment of repayment available under certain circumstances).  Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford and PLUS loans should be used as a last resort in financing your education and require additional responsibilities from you or your parents.  You may want to review Request changes to your award to determine if your eligibility for need-based aid should be revised before you borrow from these loan programs.
    If you have been offered loans and you do not wish to borrow the full amount offered, you may indicate the reduced amount to us.  If you want to borrow more than we have offered to replace your family contribution, please contact our office.  To view additional information, see the student loan program chart and Completing paperwork for loans.
  • Make sure your award correctly reflects any benefits, scholarships, outside awards and other resources you will receive or think you may receive, even if it comes from another UW office
    You must report any information about your resources (and, if married, your spouse’s resources) that you have not already formally reported to our office.  It is imperative that our office has current and complete information on your resources throughout the year; otherwise, you risk being over-awarded and having to repay aid.
  • Permission to release student record information
    The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the privacy of your education records.  As a general rule the UW will not release your records to a third party without your written consent.
    To allow staff to discuss the status of your financial aid award with your parents, spouse or another person, you must complete a release of information form.  You can complete the form online or download a release of information form under General Forms and return it to the Office of Student Financial Aid.
  • Understand your obligations as an aid recipient
    • Enroll full-time each quarter and attend all your classes (12 credits for undergraduate, professional and certification students; 10 credits for graduates) unless less than full-time attendance is specifically noted in your award letter.
    • Pass sufficient credits to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress.
    • Report new sources of support and changes in personal circumstances (e.g., changing from non-resident to resident status, divorce, moving to parents’ home) as soon as you learn of them.
  • Accept your award on MyUW before the reply date
    Accept your award in MyUW Financial Aid Status before the ‘reply by date’.  If you do not accept it by this date, we will cancel your aid in order to offer it to another student.  Once you respond, we will continue processing your application and you may receive revised award notice e-mails reflecting changes in your contribution and your award.  Review these revisions on MyUW and accept or reject any new aid that has been offered to you.  Remember, accepting your financial aid offer is not the same as accepting your admissions offer. Freshmen need to pay the New Student Orientation Fee (NSEOF) to the Office of Admissions by May 1 to reserve their place.
  • Complete your file
    You must respond to any requests we make for certification statements, tax returns or any other documentation needed to finalize your award.  Since we cannot disburse any funds until all required information is submitted and reviewed, please reply promptly to any correspondence from us.
  • Receive your financial aid.  Read more about disbursement.
  • Apply for aid for summer
    If you plan to attend Summer quarter, you will need to complete your FAFSA and a summer aid application.  Your FAFSA should be completed by the priority deadline of January 15 and your summer aid application should be completed between April 1 and May 15 for priority processing.  You’ll need your UW NetID and password to apply online for Summer quarter aid. 
  • Remember, financial aid needs to be applied for every year!