Who is Eligible?

Your status at the University will determine the extent to which you are eligible for the financial aid programs. Your enrollment as a full or part time student, undergraduate or graduate, is particularly critical in determining your eligibility for government programs, and the extent to which you can be funded.

Additionally you must:

  • Have a valid Social Security number
  • Be a U.S. citizen/national or permanent resident
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Be enrolled as a regular student in a matriculated program
  • Make satisfactory academic progress (SAP)
  • Not be in default in any loan program
  • Not exceed the allowable limits of your program (ie: complete credits in a timely manner)
  • Register with Selective Service System (if you are a male between 18-25)

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate students pursuing their first four-year undergraduate degree (Bachelors) may be eligible for the full array of financial aid programs from the federal and state governments. Those students wishing to obtain a second four-year degree or a program certificate may only qualify for federal loans. Apply for federal and state financial aid each year by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Transfer Students

Financial aid does not transfer from institution to institution. There are several processes that must be followed by incoming transfer students to ensure that the University is able to process their financial aid. Learn more about Financial Aid for Transfer Students.

Graduate Students

Graduate students are eligible to apply for the Federal Direct Stafford Loan Program and Federal Work Study. Priority for Work Study is given to undergraduate students. Graduate students must have 5 matriculated credits per semester. A number of graduate assistantships and fellowships are available to qualified graduate students. Graduate assistants and fellows receive a stipend and a fee waiver for the academic year. Students interested in applying for these positions should contact the Graduate School and their respective academic departments for detailed information. Learn more about Financial Aid for Graduate & Professional Students

International Students

International students are not eligible for federal or state financial assistance. However, students possessing F-1 or J-1 visas may work part-time on campus through the University's own student employment program. Students may work up to twenty hours per week when classes are in session and forty hours per week during breaks. For information and eligibility criteria, contact Cinzia Richardson in the Center for International Education, or visit the office in Raubinger Hall.

New Jersey Dreamers

The New Jersey Alternative Financial Aid Application allows undocumented students enrolled in eligible New Jersey colleges and universities to apply for state financial aid. Learn more about Financial Aid Resources for New Jersey Dreamers.

Special Circumstance

If your status or your family's circumstances change because of a separation, divorce, unemployment or death, we may be able to help. Please complete a Special Conditions Request Form, found under the Forms tab on the Financial Aid webpage. The Form must be submitted with all required supporting documentation. Any adjustment in aid resulting from this request is contingent upon your eligibility according to program regulations and the availability of funds to the University at the time of review

Independent Status Review

To determine Independent Status, the Financial Aid Office is required to adhere to the standard definition of independent status as mandated by Congress and outlined by the United States Department of Education. 

According to this definition, you will be considered an automatic independent student if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • Have reached 24 years of age
  • Are an orphan or legal ward of the court (or were prior to your 18th birthday) - requires documentation
  • Are a veteran of the Armed Forces - may require documentation
  • Are married at the time of filing
  • Have enrolled in a graduate or professional program (beyond bachelor's degree)
  • Have legal dependents other than a spouse for whom YOU provide at least 50% support - requires documentation

Students who qualify as automatically independent are not required to provide parents' information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The Financial Aid Office does reserve the right, however, to request additional documentation to verify your dependency status. If you believe you have specialized circumstances that warrant being considered independent beyond the above reasons, please call to schedule an appointment with your financial aid counselor, and request a "Dependency Status Appeal Form". You would need to be counseled to proceed with this specialized appeal.

Cost of Attendance (Budget)

The cost of attending William Paterson University for an academic year (two semesters) includes your tuition, books and supplies, dorm/rental costs, transportation and loan fees. The Office will assume that you will be enrolled full-time (twelve hours or more each semester for undergraduates, nine hours or more each semester for graduates) for the academic year for the purposes of putting together the first Award Package. Adjustments will be made upon actual registration.

Financial Need

Financial Need is the difference between your cost of attendance (budget) and the Estimated Family Contribution as per the FAFSA. This system is federally legislated and used by post-secondary institutions across the nation. Mathematically, financial need is determined as:

Cost of Attendance (student budget) 
- Expected Family Contribution (parents and student) 
= Financial Need
Citizenship Policy

An applicant who is a permanent resident or other eligible non-citizen may need to provide documentation of that status to receive federal student financial aid funds. Confirmation may be provided automatically through the results of a computer match with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) records. If the applicant's status has been confirmed, no other documentation is required, and eligibility for federal aid has been established.

If INS confirmation is not received, the applicant must bring one of the following documents, if applicable, to the Financial Aid Office in order to establish eligibility:

  • a Certificate of Naturalization/Citizenship (preferred)
  • a valid U.S. passport
  • an Alien Registration Receipt Card (Form 1-151, I-551, or 1-551C)
  • a Temporary Resident Card (Form I-688)
  • an Arrival-Departure Record (Form 1-94)
  • a Family Unity Status Form (1-797s)
  • a Form FS-240
  • a completed Form G-641

A staff member in the Aid Office will review the document and make the determination to clear the student for financial aid or mail the documentation to the INS for confirmation. The INS will respond within 10-15 business days after mailing the citizenship confirmation documentation. Financial aid will not be awarded until the INS confirmation is received at the Financial Aid Office.

Applicants will meet eligibility requirements for federal aid as long as the documentation is submitted by the student and the secondary confirmation is determined by the last day of his/her enrollment during the academic year. If the documentation is not received by the last day of enrollment, the applicant will not be eligible to receive federal financial aid funds