Applying and Awards

How to Apply for Financial Aid

  1. Create a FSA ID.
    The FSA ID is a user name and password required to log into certain U.S. Department of Education websites including  If you do not have an FSA ID, you can create one online at
  2. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FAFSA applications are available after October 1 each year. Students may complete the FAFSA online at Be sure to indicate Missouri Western (school code 002490) as a college choice when completing the application.
  3. Apply for Missouri Western Competitive Scholarships. Students may apply for Missouri Western competitive scholarships beginning in October each year. Unless otherwise specified in the scholarship description, students should complete all application requirements no later than February 1 to be considered. Students may search and apply for scholarships online at

February 1 Priority Deadline

The priority deadline is February 1 for federal, state and Missouri Western aid opportunities. The FAFSA should be submitted no later than the second week of January to ensure the February 1 priority deadline is met. Applications will continue to be accepted after February 1, however, program funding may be limited. 

File Review (Verification)

The federal Central Processing System (CPS) selects a percentage of all FAFSA filers for the verification review process. Missouri Western may also select additional filers for review to ensure accuracy and consistency. During the review process, the Financial Aid Office will verify all mandatory items identified by the U.S. Department of Education. In addition, the Financial Aid Office may verify discretionary items.

Students who are selected for verification by either CPS or by Missouri Western will be notified via their Missouri Western email account and will see all required documents listed on Goldlink. Students who do not elect to receive electronic communication from Missouri Western should contact the Office of Financial Aid for additional information.

Applicants whose FAFSA information requires correction will have those corrections electronically processed by the Financial Aid Office. The corrections will generate an updated Student Aid Report (SAR) which will be sent to the student by the federal Central Processing System (CPS). The student's aid eligibility may change based on corrections made.

If conflicting information is discovered after aid is awarded or disbursed, the Financial Aid Office must resolve the conflicting information regardless of whether the student was selected for verification. If it is determined that a student has received funds for which he or she is not eligible, the student must repay the amount to Missouri Western.

Missouri Western's priority deadline for completion of the verification process is February 1 each year. Completing the process after this date, may result in you not being considered for Missouri Western competitive scholarships and other aid opportunities including Federal SEOG. You may also be required to make payments towards your account balance until your aid eligibility can be determined.

The final deadline to complete the Verification process will be established by the U.S. Department of Education and published in the Federal Register on an annual basis

Student Eligibility

To be eligible for federal financial assistance, a student must:

  • be accepted for admission and enroll as a degree-seeking student in an eligible program;
  • be a U.S. citizen or national, U.S. permanent resident, citizen of the freely associated States or other eligible non-citizen;
  • have a valid Social Security Number;
  • not be in default on a federal loan or owe an overpayment of federal grant funds; and
  • be making Satisfactory Academic Progress.

High school students taking dual credit coursework, visiting college students who are not seeking a degree from Missouri Western, and self-enrichment students will not be eligible to receive financial assistance.

Enrollment Requirements

  • For financial aid purposes, a student's enrollment status will be determined at the end of the official add/drop period each semester.
  • Only classes that count toward a degree or certificate may be used in calculating financial aid eligibility. Audited classes and most continuing education classes do not count toward a degree or certificate, and may not be used in calculating eligibility for financial aid.
  • Financial assistance may be prorated or cancelled if the student is enrolled in less than 12 credit hours at the end of the official add/drop period.
  • Only Missouri Western credit hours will be included when determining a student’s enrollment status for Missouri Western scholarships.
  • Financial assistance will be recalculated for students who do not begin attendance, withdraw, are administratively withdrawn or stop attending and receive a failing or incomplete grade in all courses during a term.

Students who are enrolled at more than one college or university at the same time may receive financial aid from only one of the institutions, not both. Contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information.

Financial Aid Awards

Students may view and accept offered awards on Goldlink. Regulations require students to report any external sources of monetary assistance that are not reflected on the award notification.

Financial aid awards are based on the student’s demonstrated financial need, enrollment status, achievement, and other criteria. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the Financial Aid Office when there is a change in enrollment status, or if there is a change in family, or financial situation that may affect eligibility to receive financial assistance.

Financial aid awards may be reduced or cancelled if aid received from ALL sources causes the student to exceed unmet need or cost of attendance or if the student does not meet eligibility criteria. Adjustments made to financial aid awards or in a student’s eligibility to receive financial assistance will be reflected on Goldlink.

Disbursement of Financial Aid

Financial aid funds will be released to student accounts in two equal disbursements and will first be applied to outstanding charges for tuition, fees, room, board, and other authorized University expenses. Remaining funds will be issued to the student. By Federal regulation, excess funds MUST be used for educational expenses.

If a student's aid package includes PLUS loan funds, credit balance checks will be made payable to the student or parent and will be mailed to the parent’s home address.

The Financial Aid Office will disburse funds each Friday beginning the 2nd Friday of each semester. Students who elect to receive credit balance refunds by direct deposit, should allow five (5) additional business days for the transfer of funds to a personal bank account. Students who have not elected direct deposit, should allow ten (10) additional business days for the check to be mailed to the student's permanent address of record.

Financial Aid Advance to Purchase Books and Supplies

If a student is scheduled to receive more financial assistance than his or her current charges, Missouri Western will notify the campus bookstore of the student’s eligibility to apply up to $750 of pending financial assistance to purchase required books and supplies. The bookstore is located on the first floor of the Hearnes building.

Eligible students will receive an email notification and instructions 10 days prior to the first day of classes each semester. Students who do not elect to receive electronic communication from Missouri Western should contact the Financial Aid Office for additional information.

Students who purchase books and supplies through this program must authorize the campus bookstore to submit the actual value of his or her purchases to Missouri Western State University to be deducted from pending financial aid, regardless of its source. Only the amount of actual purchases will be deducted from the student's pending financial aid. Any additional funds will be issued to the student in the form of a credit balance refund.

Should the student's financial aid be reduced for any reason, the student's account must be paid within thirty (30) days. Students who default on their account, will be responsible for all attorneys' fees, other costs and charges necessary for the collection of the unpaid balance.

If a student needs to return books or supplies purchased through this program, the items must be returned to the campus bookstore. The bookstore will forward the return amount to Missouri Western State University and the student's account will be credited. All refunds will be issued within two weeks.

Only textbooks and school supplies may be purchased. Clothing, emblematic gifts and convenience items may not be purchased.

To participate in the program, students must present a valid Missouri Western student ID card at the time of purchase. Student may elect to opt out simply by not presenting his or her ID at the campus bookstore.

Penalties for Drug Law Violations

Rescinded July 2023

Federal law provides that a student who has been convicted of an offense under any federal or state law involving the possession or sale of a controlled substance during a period of enrollment for which the student was receiving financial aid shall not be eligible to receive any federal or institutional grant, loan, or work assistance during the period beginning on the date of such conviction and ending after the interval specified in the following table. If convicted of an offense involving:

Possession of a Controlled Substance Ineligibility Period
First Offense 1 year
Second Offense 2 years
Third Offense Indefinite
Sale of a Controlled Substance Ineligibility Period
First Offense 2 years
Second Offense Indefinite

A student whose eligibility has been suspended based on a conviction for possession or sale of a controlled substance may resume eligibility before the end of the ineligibility period if:

  1. the student satisfactorily completes a drug rehabilitation program that:
    1. complies with the criteria prescribed in the federal regulations; and
    2. includes two unannounced drug tests;
  2. the student successfully passes two unannounced drug tests conducted by a drug rehabilitation program that complies with the criteria prescribed in the federal regulations; OR
  3. the conviction is reversed, set aside, or otherwise rendered nugatory.

Treatment of Federal Financial Assistance When a Student Withdraws or Stops Attending

Federal regulations specify how Missouri Western must determine the amount of Title IV program assistance that a student has earned if he or she officially withdraws or stops attending. The Title IV programs that are governed by this law are the Federal Pell Grant, TEACH Grant, Direct Loan, PLUS Loan and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG).

When a student withdraws or stops attending, the amount of assistance that the student has earned is determined on a prorata basis. For example, if the student has completed 30% of the semester, he or she has earned 30% of the assistance that was scheduled for the period. Once a student has completed more than 60% of the semester, he or she has earned all scheduled assistance for the period. If the student did not receive all of the assistance that was earned, a post-withdrawal disbursement may be due.

If the post-withdrawal disbursement includes loan funds, Missouri Western must receive the student’s permission before these funds may be disbursed. The student may choose to decline some, or all, of the loan funds so that additional debt is not incurred.

Missouri Western may automatically use all, or a portion of the student’s post-withdrawal disbursement of grant funds for tuition, fees, and room and board charges, however, will require permission to use the post-withdrawal grant disbursement for all other charges. It may be in the student’s best interest to allow Missouri Western to keep the funds to reduce debt with the institution.

There may be Title IV funds that cannot be disbursed once a student withdraws because of other eligibility requirements.

If a student has received unearned Title IV program funds, Missouri Western MUST return a portion of the excess that is equal to the student’s institutional charges multiplied by the unearned percentage of funds or the entire amount of unearned funds, whichever is less.

Funds will be returned in the following order:

  1. Unsubsidized Direct Loan
  2. Subsidized Direct Loan
  3. Direct PLUS Loans
  4. Federal Pell Grants
  5. Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant
  6. Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
  7. Federal TEACH Grant

If Missouri Western is not required to return all of the unearned funds, the student must return the remaining amount. Any loan funds that the student must return may be repaid in accordance with the terms of the promissory note. That is, the student may make scheduled payments to the holder of the loan over a period of time.

Any amount of unearned grant funds that a student must return is called an overpayment. The maximum amount of a grant overpayment that the student must repay is half of the grant funds he or she received or was scheduled to receive. The student must make arrangements with the Missouri Western Business Office to return unearned grant funds.

The Office of Financial Aid will calculate the amount of return within 30 days of withdrawal, return those funds as required within 45 days of your withdrawal, and advise you by mail of the amount reversed, which will normally result in a balance due to Missouri Western. You will then have 30 days to either remit the full amount or make satisfactory arrangements for repayment.

The requirements for Title IV program funds when a student withdraws or stops attending are separate from Missouri Western’s Refund Policy. Therefore, a student may still owe funds to Missouri Western to cover unpaid institutional charges. The student will also be responsible for any Title IV program funds that Missouri Western was required to return on his or her behalf.

Missouri Western’s complete withdrawal policy in available online at

If you have questions about your Title IV program funds, you can call the Federal Student Aid Information  Center at 1-800-4-FEDAID (1-800-433-3243). Information is also available on Student Aid on the Web at