Financial Aid Policies

The policies below relate to the assessment of need and eligibility for aid programs. Additional financial aid topics and policy-related information can be found on our Resources page as well as our General Resources page.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for and still have questions, you may contact us at

  • Code of Conduct

    Wake Forest University Code of Conduct for Financial Aid Administrators

    An institutional financial aid professional is expected to always maintain exemplary standards of professional conduct in all aspects of carrying out his or her responsibilities, specifically including all dealings with any entities involved in any manner in student financial aid, regardless of whether such entities are involved in a government sponsored, subsidized, or regulated activity.

    In doing so, a financial aid professional should:

    • Refrain from taking any action for his or her personal benefit.
    • Refrain from taking any action he or she believes is contrary to law,
      regulation, or the best interests of the students and parents he or she serves.
    • Ensure that the information he or she provides is accurate, unbiased, and does not reflect any preference arising from actual or potential personal gain.
    • Be objective in making decisions and advising his or her institution
      regarding relationships with any entity involved in any aspect of student financial aid.
    • Refrain from soliciting or accepting anything of other than nominal value from any entity (other than an institution of higher education or a governmental entity such as the U.S. Department of Education) involved in the making, holding, consolidating or processing of any student loans, including anything of value (including reimbursement of expenses) for serving on an advisory body or as part of a training activity of or sponsored by any such entity.
    • Disclose to his or her institution, in such manner as his or her institution may prescribe, any involvement with or interest in any entity involved in any aspect of student financial aid.

    As prescribed by federal regulations, and in compliance with 34 U.S.C. §601.21(c), student financial aid administrators at Wake Forest University may not

    • Engage in any revenue-sharing arrangements with any lender;
    • Solicit or accept gifts from a lender, guarantor, or servicer;
    • Accept any fee, payment, or other financial benefit as compensation for any type of consulting or any contractual relationship with a lender;
    • Assign a first-time borrower’s loan to a particular lender or refuse to certify or delay certification of any loan based on a borrower’s selection of a particular lender;
    • Request offers of funds for private education loans, including opportunity pool loans, from a lender in exchange for providing the lender with a specified number or loan volume of private education loans or a preferred lender arrangement;
    • Request or accept staffing assistance from a lender; and
    • Receive compensation for serving on an advisory board, commission, or group established by a lender, guarantor, or group of lenders or guarantors.
  • Priority Filing Dates

    Information on priority filing dates for new students (Early Decision I, II, and Regular Decision) and returning students can be found on the Applying for Aid page.

  • Dependency Override

    A student’s reluctance to request parent’s financial information or the unwillingness of parent(s) to pay educational expenses or provide information does NOT justify a dependency override.

    A student’s self-support, as a sole factor, does NOT justify a dependency override. Examples of situations where petitions may be approved include an abusive family environment or removal of the student from the parent(s)’ residence by court order.

    A successful petition for a dependency override depends on the specific information and documentation provided including appropriate legal documents.

    A dependency override may be granted for one year only. A student must request, and provide the appropriate documentation for, a dependency override each year.

    Petition Process

    Please submit the following to the Student Financial Aid Office:

    • Personal Statement – On a separate sheet of paper, describe the following:
    • Why you are requesting a dependency override
    • Your relationship with your parent(s) and include any related circumstances
    • How you provide for yourself
    • If you receive support from friends and relatives, describe the nature of the support
      Sign and date your personal statement.


    • Provide statements from at least three individuals who can verify the family circumstances that you described in your personal statement.
    • The statements should be from adults who are not related to you but have direct knowledge of the situation, or professionals from whom you have sought treatment or assistance.
    • Professionals include guidance counselors, doctors, lawyers, family counselors, social workers, law enforcement officers, and clergy members.
    • If a family member, who is not your parent, has raised you or is currently supporting you, submit an additional statement from that family member.
    • Statements must be signed originals but supporting documentation may be photocopies
  • Disbursements

    The Student Financial Aid Office disburses institutional and federal funds directly to Student Financial Services at least weekly. Funds are credited to student accounts electronically. Student records must be complete, enrollment status must be correct, and awards must be accepted before funds will disburse to student accounts. Loan funds are applied to student accounts weekly by electronic fund transfer. If a student chooses a non-electronic lender, loan funds are applied to their account as soon as the loan check arrives at the Student Financial Aid Office. Paper checks may require the endorsement of the student.

    Students must authorize direct deposit (on WIN) or complete a Refund Request Form from Student Financial Services, before any remaining financial aid is paid directly to them.

    Wake Forest University is committed to providing students whose applications and awards are completed prior to the opening of school with credit balances from federal financial aid. If you receive a Pell Grant, which when added to your other financial aid, exceeds your University charges, we will provide you with the means to purchase books within seven days of the first day of the semester. This can be either in the form of a student refund or credit on your Deacon One Card.

    Please contact Student Financial Services if your financial aid award is complete, and you have concerns about the ability to purchase books. If your financial aid award is not complete, please contact us.

  • Divorced/Separated Parents (Non-Custodial Parent Policy)

    Wake Forest’s policy for determining financial need is based on the principle that both parents have a responsibility to contribute to the costs of education. Wake Forest requires financial information from both the custodial parent and the noncustodial parent to determine eligibility for institutional aid.

    The custodial parent and spouse (if applicable) must file both the CSS Profile® and FAFSA™. The noncustodial parent and spouse (if applicable) are required to submit the online CSS Noncustodial PROFILE. When you complete your Profile registration, the College Board will notify you that Wake Forest requires the Noncustodial Profile. You will receive an e-mail that explains this requirement, which you should share with your noncustodial parent. This email will provide a link to the Noncustodial Profile website, with login instructions for your noncustodial parent.

    Both parents and stepparents are required to submit their federal income tax returns, including all relevant schedules, and W-2 wage statements, to the College Board.

  • Eligibility for Federal Financial Aid

    You are eligible to apply for federal financial aid if you:

    • Have a high school diploma (or equivalent, such as the GED), or score at an acceptable level on a federally approved test
    • Are enrolled as a regular student in a degree-granting program
    • Have a valid Social Security number
    • Are a US citizen or eligible non-citizen
    • Are making satisfactory academic progress toward completion of your degree
    • Are registered with the Selective Service and the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, if required to do so
    • Are not in default on any student loan or owe a refund on any federal grant
    • Are not ineligible for federal aid as a result of a drug conviction.
  • Enrollment: Repeat Coursework and Required Courses

    Financial aid eligibility is based upon full-time enrollment in an undergraduate degree program at Wake Forest.

    Full-time enrollment for purposes of financial aid is a minimum of 12 hours each semester, through the last day to drop second-part-of-term courses without penalty (University Academic Calendar).

    Eligibility for federal aid programs (and most state aid programs) is subject to a review of actual course registration. Most students should enroll in an average of at least fifteen hours each semester, in order to complete degree requirements in four years (eight semesters).

    Repeat Coursework

    To determine a student’s enrollment for purposes of federal aid programs and most state aid programs (including the North Carolina Need-Based Scholarship), a repeat enrollment in a previously-passed course counts one additional time, whether or not a student received federal aid for an earlier enrollment of the course. The third and subsequent attempts of previously-passed courses do not count as enrollment. If a student retakes a course that is no longer eligible for federal or state aid, the hours are excluded from the total enrollment and the student’s aid is adjusted to exclude those hours.

    Courses Required by Student’s Academic Program

    To determine a student’s enrollment for purposes of federal aid programs and most state aid programs (including the North Carolina Need-Based Scholarship), once a student has satisfied the courses required by his or her program of study, any additional courses in which the student enrolls are not considered part of the student’s program of study, and cannot be included when determining the student’s enrollment status or cost of attendance. If a student takes courses that are not eligible for federal or state aid, the hours are excluded from the total enrollment and the student’s aid is adjusted to exclude those hours.

  • Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act

    Wake Forest University protects the privacy of its students and their families in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). Students are entitled to see applications, grade transcripts, notice of financial aid awards and terms, and university reports and statistics. Since financial aid applications generally include confidential information from both parents and students, the Office of Student Financial Aid is committed under FERPA regulations to protecting the privacy of all parties. While financial aid counselors are permitted to discuss financial aid awards with students, they are not permitted to disclose specific parental financial information unless authorized to do so in writing by the parent. In cases of divorce or separation, financial information about the custodial parent cannot be shared with the noncustodial parent and vice versa.

  • IRS Verification of Non Tax Filing Letter

    As part of the verification process for financial aid, the Department of Education requires that people who do not file taxes submit an IRS letter of nonfiling status to the University. A nonfiling letter will be necessary for all parties in the custodial household (i.e. student, parent 1, parent 2, spouse) that did not file taxes.

  • Independent Undergraduate Students

    Except in the most extraordinary circumstances, Wake Forest classifies incoming students as dependent on their parents for institutional financial aid purposes, even though some students may meet the federal definition of “independence.” Students who enroll at Wake Forest as dependent students are considered dependent throughout their undergraduate years when need for institutional grants is determined. For institutional financial aid purposes, a student may not “declare” independence due to attainment of legal age, internal family arrangements, marriage, or family disagreements. When a student applies for need-based aid, both parents, including the noncustodial parent, are required to provide the requested financial information.

    If you have extenuating family circumstances, you should contact us.

  • International Students

    International students are eligible for most Wake Forest merit-based scholarship programs. Eligibility for federal aid programs is determined by the student’s FAFSA™ results.  However, students classified as international students by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions are not eligible to receive institutional need-based aid. International students may wish to consult the web site,, for comprehensive information about applying to colleges and universities in the U.S.

    International students may find the International Student website to be helpful.

    Loans for international students are available through MPOWER Financing.

    • No cosigner required for international or domestic students
    • Borrowers must be within 2 years of graduation
    • Fixed rates from 8.8% to 16.17% APR
    • 5% origination fee added to loan amount at time of disbursement
    • A 0.25% interest rate reduction is available for automatic debit
    • A 0.25% interest rate reduction after 24 months of on-time payments
    • Easy online application and 24/7 online account management
    • May be used for a past-due balance for the previous academic year
    • 3 and 10 year repayment periods, chosen at time of application
    • Small monthly payments required until graduation.
    • Additional benefits include free financial literacy courses from USA funds® onsite financial literacy courses upon request, resume building assistance, and job search assistance
    • All remaining balance is forgiven in case of death of borrower; in the case of disability, loan balances will be forgiven on a case-by-case basis
  • Outside Scholarship Policy

    Outside scholarships are added to an original financial aid package if possible. In some cases based on federal student aid program rules, outside scholarships reduce need-based student loan and work-study eligibility. In no case may aid exceed the estimated cost of attendance.

    Outside scholarship donors or the student recipient should provide official notification (copy of donor’s congratulatory letter to student, copy of donor’s award certificate to student, donor’s check to student, etc.) of outside scholarship awards to the Office of Student Financial Aid, so that the outside scholarship can be processed appropriately.

    Outside scholarship donors should include on the check the recipient’s name and the term(s) for which the scholarship is intended. Checks should be payable to Wake Forest University (or co-payable to Wake Forest University and the student) and sent to:

    Office of Student Financial Aid
    P.O. Box 7246
    Winston-Salem, NC 27109-7246

    Checks delivered by donors to the student should be forwarded to the aid office. If a student has instead previously deposited outside scholarship funds into her/his personal bank account, the student should notify the Office of Student Financial Aid to prevent the expected outside scholarship proceeds from showing as anticipated credit against semester charges on the student’s DEAC account. It is not recommended that students deposit outside scholarship funds into personal bank accounts; doing so may result in the student losing certain tax benefits.

    By submitting, or allowing donors to submit, checks to Wake Forest, a student gives permission for Wake Forest to write the Wake Forest University student identification number on the face of the check. If funds are not received by Wake Forest in a timely manner from an outside scholarship donor, the student becomes responsible for payment of charges previously deferred by the anticipated receipt of funds from the donor.

  • Requests for Reconsideration or Professional Judgement Adjustment (Appeals) Based on Special or Unusual Circumstances

    In the event of unusual/special circumstances or a dramatic change to a family’s finances that has not been previously described in a student’s financial aid application, a student may send a written request for reconsideration. The request must provide a detailed explanation of the financial circumstance and its associated monetary value, and should include relevant supporting documentation. Such requests should be addressed to the Student Financial Aid Appeals Committee at The Committee responds to all correspondence within a reasonable period of time (generally within two weeks of receipt, unless substantial documentation is required). We appreciate your patience during this time.

    The Office of Student Financial Aid offers students the maximum aid for which they are eligible based on the consistent and equitable application of financial aid policies. We do not match financial aid offers from other institutions or use other offers as a basis for increasing aid.

  • Satisfactory Academic Progress for Financial Aid Eligibility

    The Higher Education Act requires that institutions of higher education establish minimum standards of satisfactory academic progress for students receiving federal (Title IV) student aid. Wake Forest applies the same standards to all federal student aid programs, to institutionally-controlled need-based aid programs, and as required to state aid programs including the Need-Based Scholarship for North Carolina residents.

  • Student Responsibilities

    The Office of Student Financial Aid expects students seeking or receiving aid to be familiar with and comply with certain responsibilities.

  • University Disruption Refund Policy

    Circumstances may arise during a semester that cause significant disruptions to University operations and result in the University closing the campus.

    Information about the University Disruption Refund Policy can be found on Student Financial Services’ Policies page.

  • Withdrawal and Termination of Enrollment

    A student who officially withdraws or is granted continuous enrollment status during a semester may receive adjustments to tuition and housing charges as outlined on Student Financial Services’ Refund of Charges Policy page. A withdrawal (official or otherwise) or grant of continuous enrollment status also affects financial aid eligibility.

Financial Aid Resources

Discover financial wellbeing tools, learn about financial aid receipt and refunds, and explore outside
scholarship searches.