Review: Financial Aid Awards

What exactly is my Cost of Attendance?

The cost of attendance (COA) at West Chester University is defined as the total amount of costs a student may occur in a full academic year (fall through spring) in order to attend WCU. Tuition, Room and Board, and Fees make up this number. The total COA may vary based on several factors: In-State, Out of State, Undergraduate, Graduate, Full Time, Half Time, or Part Time. If you believe your cost of attendance is higher than what WCU calculated you can request to appeal your COA by emailing us at

What is the purpose of a Cost of Attendance?

The purpose of the cost of attendance is to let students and families know what the cost of West Chester University will be before all financial aid and scholarships. This number is also very important as it sets a limit for what financial aid can received during each academic year.

Student Aid Inex (SAI, prevoiusly Estimated Family Contribution, EFC)

The estimated family contribution is the number that is generated by the FAFSA to determine how much aid a student may qualify for at West Chester. This number is calculated by certain financial information that is listed on the FAFSA (earnings, assets, untaxed income, etc.). Other things such as household size and how many household members are attending college at the same time, also factor into these calculations. The Department of Education outlines the formulas for these calculations, and they can be found with this link; SAI Calculations.

Financial Need

The financial need for a student can be calculated by taking the estimated family contribution and subtracting that number from the total cost of attendance.

Example: SAI = $4,000, COA = $18,000

$18,000-$4,000=$14,000 Financial Need

West Chester will use this number to see where a student might be eligible for Federal Aid and University based need aid. Some scholarships and grants can be based on a students Financial Need.

Financial Aid Awards

Each program has its own set of regulations that guide how they are awarded. For example, the federal Pell grant is based on a student's SAI and enrollment. Work study requires a student to have unmet need using the calculation explained in section above. Once awards are posted, students can view them in their MyWCU under “Financial Aid” and accept any loans by using the "Accept/Decline" link. Awards for incoming students will be posted started in January of each year and awards for returning students will start to be posted in March of each year. Students receiving outside scholarships should send copies of their award notices to for timely posting. All students should make sure all “initiated” tasks in MyWCU are completed in a timely fashion in order to avoid delays in awarding.

Financial Aid Offer

Financial aid offers will be sent via email and text message each time an award is added to a student's account. If students believe their aid is incomplete, they are encouraged to check their financial aid tasks on MyWCU to make sure they do not have "initiated" items that need to be addressed. PA residents should also check their PA state grant portal to make sure their college choice is listed as WCU and they are not being requested additional information from PA State Grant. Financial Aid Offer costs are estimated and we encourage all students to use the cost calculator to better understand their anticipated out of pocket cost. The calculator can be found here.


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