Financial Aid FAQs

How do I apply for aid?

To apply for federal financial aid, please complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.ed.gov. Be sure to use the correct academic year when applying.

What is the timeline for being awarded?

Once you have been admitted AND our office has received a completed FAFSA, a financial aid award letter will be available on the student portal within 7-10 business days. If requested, be sure to submit any additional information needed to complete your aid application as it may cause delays in processing.

Where’s my award letter?

Your award letter can be accessed through the AU student portal at https://myau.american.edu. You will receive notification of its availability via email.

I accepted my federal financial aid awards now what?

In order for your loans to be disbursed you must complete Federal Direct Stafford Entrance Counseling and Federal Direct Stafford Loan Agreement (MPN) online at http://www.studentloans.gov. Our office will be notified electronically upon completion.

Federal Direct Stafford Entrance Counseling explains your rights and responsibilities as a student receiving federal financial aid. 

The Federal Direct Stafford Loan Agreement lists the terms of your loan, how much money you have decided to borrow, and the earliest possible date that the loan can be disbursed.  This document is your promise to repay any federal loans you may borrow. 

What do I do to receive my refund check?

Financial aid will be disbursed to your AU student account and applied first to any outstanding tuition, fees, or other AU charges.  If you have any financial aid funds remaining after your charges have been paid, then this amount will be refunded to you within 7–10 business days.  You can sign up for Direct Deposit (recommended) or a paper check can be mailed to the address you have on file.  The Office of Student Accounts is responsible for the processing of refund checks. Additional information about Direct Deposit and the student refund policy and procedures is available online at https://www.american.edu/finance/studentaccounts/Student-Refund-Policy.cfm.

What if the aid I’ve been offered isn’t enough?

As a graduate student, you may be eligible to receive up to $20,500 per year from the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan with an aggregate total of $138,500 (this includes all loans received at a previous institution). This is typically split as $10,250 per semester in your award letter. If you are eligible for the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, this will be awarded automatically based on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) once your application is complete. If additional funding is needed beyond this, you can also consider the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan. This loan does require a credit check and a separate application available online at the lender website. If eligible, you can receive this loan for up to the cost of attendance minus other aid received. For more information on either of these loans or to apply for the Federal Direct Graduate PLUS loan, please visit the lender website at www.studentloans.gov.

My employer is going to sponsor my education. What do I do?

Please contact Student Accounts regarding a sponsored billing situation at studentaccounts@american.edu.

As a graduate student am I eligible for any grants or scholarships?

The federal government does not have any grants or scholarships for graduate students.

Is there a payment plan?

There is a payment plan offered through the Office of Student Accounts. More information can be found online at https://www.american.edu/finance/studentaccounts/Payment-Plan-Overview.cfm.

What are the interest rates and other loan terms? Where’s the fine print?

Interest rates are updated annually by the Department of Education. For the most updated interest rates and other loan terms, please visit their website at https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/subsidized-unsubsidized#interest-rates.

What’s half-time?

Half-time enrollment for the purposes of federal Title IV financial aid, including federal loans, is 5 credits per semester.

What is Satisfactory Academic Progress?

To remain eligible for federal financial aid, students are required to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). For MLS students, this requires a minimum cumulative GPA of at least 2.0, completes at least two-thirds of all attempted credits, and completes the program within the maximum time frame. The AUWCL Financial Aid Office will evaluate your SAP status each year at the end of your program’s spring semester. For most students, this will occur after all spring grades are reported. The complete SAP policy is available on our website https://www.wcl.american.edu/financial-aid/forms/policies-procedures/.

What are the annual and aggregate loan limits?

Limits on the amount you can borrow are determined by the Department of Education. For more information, please visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/subsidized-unsubsidized#how-much.

What happens if I drop a class or all my classes?

Every time you drop a course, the AUWCL Financial Aid Office will re-review your aid eligibility based on your new enrollment status to determine if your aid needs to be reduced or cancelled. Before you make a decision to drop a course, you are welcome to contact the AUWCL Financial Aid Office to determine the impact the change in enrollment will have on your financial aid.

What is the Cost of Attendance?

Your total financial aid from all sources cannot exceed your total cost of attendance (COA). Your COA will vary depending on both the total number of credits that you enroll in and the total number of modules that you enroll in. If you are enrolled less than half-time for the semester, then your COA for that semester is limited to the total of your tuition and fee charges. If you are enrolled at least half-time for the semester, then your COA may also include estimated living expenses such as room and board. The following is an example of your COA for one module. Please note, the following figures are based on the 2018-2019 cost figures and does not include the fees for immersion courses. Those course fees will vary and will be in addition to the amounts listed below.

Cost of Attendance for ONE Module (10 weeks)

Tuition for 6 credits ($2058/credit) =
$12,348
Room/Rent =
$4,788
Board/Food =
$1,626
Books & Supplies =
$550
Personal Expenses =
$483
Loan Fees (based on UNSUB loan only) =
$55
TOTAL COST =
$19,850

What if I have additional questions?

Please see our website at https://www.wcl.american.edu/school/admissions/finaid/ Our counselors are also here to assist you Monday through Friday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm. To speak with a counselor, contact our office at finaid@wcl.american.edu or via phone at 202-274-4040.