Frequently Asked Questions


While every student's financial need and package varies greatly based on a number of factors, here's a compilation of answers to the most common questions we receive. 

Please review these frequently asked questions before contacting the Office of Financial Aid.

My financial aid has been applied to my bill. How do I pay my balance?

There are 5 payment options:

When will my funds be applied to my account?

  • Grants: Once the student is enrolled full time (12+ units) and has submitted all necessary documentation.
  • Outside Scholarships: Each scholarship is different. The student should contact the agency providing the scholarship for more information.
  • Loans: Each loan requires its own set of completed documents (see Loans). The student must submit all the necessary requirements before loan processing can begin.

Why do you need my tax return transcripts?

Students are randomly selected by the Federal Processor to have their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) verified by the College. In order to verify your FAFSA, we must review certain financial documents (i.e. official tax return transcripts, W2s, dependent/ independent verification forms, etc). In most cases, students and parents may utilize the IRS data retrieval tool available through the FAFSA to send us the information electronically. To request a tax return transcript on-line please visit the IRS website.

What happens if I don't earn all my work-study funding?

Only the actual amount of work-study earned is applied to your tuition balance or to you. Unearned funds are not applied to your account or given to you and are not replaced by other forms of financial aid. You will be responsible for any balance on your account that this may cause. Unearned work study funding does not carry over into the next academic year.

What GPA do I need to maintain to keep my financial aid?

Minimum of 2.0 GPA.

What happens if I drop below 12 units?

Your financial aid awards can be affected (possibly decreased or canceled).

Why was my grant award removed?

There are various possibilities, some examples are: unsatisfactory academic progress, change in demonstrated financial need, study abroad, decrease in units, housing changes, switch-outs with other grant money, etc. Please feel free to contact the Office of Financial for specific information about your grant.

How can I qualify for more scholarship money?

Merit and talent scholarships are awarded upon admission to Whittier College. The amount typically remains the same each year. Outside scholarships are available through an array of agencies. The scholarship search sites on the Scholarships page are useful resources to help you find different scholarships. Also, local organizations such as your church, your parents' company, your high school, and city council sometimes provide outside scholarships.

My parents don't support me financially. Why am I considered dependent?

Although your parents may not support you financially, you can still be considered dependent. To determine your dependency status go to the Federal Student Aid website.

Does my aid change if I change my housing status?

Yes, there is a possibility that your aid can increase or decrease. Therefore, you must always notify us of any changes you make.

I receive tuition remission, does this affect my financial aid?

Yes, you must notify us of the units that will be paid via tuition remission because it can affect the amount and type of Federal Direct Loans you are eligible for.

When will my funds be applied to my account?

Federal Direct Loans: the student must complete and submit all the necessary requirement (see Loans) and be enrolled at least half time.

What happens if I drop below the units I originally reported to the Office of Financial Aid?

Your financial aid awards can be affected (possibly decreased or canceled). If the student falls below 4 units a semester, they will not be eligible for any Federal Direct loan funds.

Will I qualify for financial aid during student teaching?

Student teaching is treated like any other semester. Therefore, you may be eligible for a maximum amount of $20,500 in Federal Direct Loans for the year. Your student teaching site, the school or district, may offer paid internships.

Are grants available for graduate students?

Grants are not available through Whittier College for graduate students. Whittier College does, however, offer graduate fellowships. All students are encouraged to search for outside scholarships.