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Financial Aid

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to Common Financial Aid Questions

Below you'll find the answers to some of the questions we get most often at the Office of University Financial Aid. If you don't find the information you're looking for on this list, feel free to contact us in person or by phone.

Financial aid is the combination of gift, loan and/or student employment that is included in a financial aid award or package designed to help a student manage the cost of attending Case Western Reserve University.

The Office of University Financial Aid uses financial information received to determine what you and your family can reasonably contribute to your educational expenses. After considering all the resources available to a student, including any scholarships awarded, the university may provide gift and self-help assistance (a combination of loans and student employment) to provide support with your educational costs.

It is very important that you review and accept your financial aid award letter online through My Financial Aid. There you may also decline and/or reduce any of the aid that is offered to you and view any outstanding documents on the Documents tab. Aid will not pay to your student account if you have not accepted your award and completed all documents. If a Parent PLUS Loan is part of your award, parents must apply separately.

Visit our New Borrower/Loan Application Information page to learn how to apply for the loans that CWRU includes in Financial Aid packages. Parents can view the application steps for the Parent PLUS Loan.

Yes. Since Case Western Reserve University may have already met the student's full financial need, university assistance is adjusted if the student receives additional aid beyond the university's financial aid award. If a student receives an external scholarship from a source not directly associated with Case Western Reserve University and the student's financial need has been met, the scholarship will be substituted in place of loan or student employment previously awarded. If a student's need has not been met, the scholarship will be used to meet financial need first.

If a student receives a scholarship from the university after financial aid has been awarded, the financial aid award will be re-determined with a possible reduction in institutional grant assistance.

Scholarships, grants and loans are applied to the student's account at CWRU to pay direct charges (tuition, fees, housing and meal plan). Institutional scholarships, grants and loans are initially applied as pending/anticipated aid but are actually disbursed on the first day of the fall and spring semesters for students who have met all eligibility requirements and have completed all required loan documents. (Fall disbursement for first-year undergraduates takes place 10 days before the start of the semester to provide families with time to pay the remaining financial obligation during orientation.) Disbursement is then run on a weekly basis for the term. Once disbursement occurs, no pending/anticipated aid will be shown in SIS. Financial aid for the summer term is disbursed in early July in accordance with the university’s fiscal year.


Outside assistance, including outside scholarships and private loans, is disbursed as funds are received from the sponsor/donor. Earnings from student employment are paid directly to the student throughout the academic year, based upon rate of pay and the number of hours worked in a given pay period.  


If financial aid disbursements exceed charges, the excess funds are refunded to the student or, in the case of undergraduate parent loans, the parent. 

Yes. Many families mistakenly think they don't qualify for financial aid and prevent themselves from receiving it by failing to apply. In addition, there are sources of aid such as unsubsidized Direct Loans and Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) that are available regardless of need. We encourage all students to apply.

Under current university policy, any dependent undergraduate student who chooses to live off-campus for other than a documented medical reason will have his or her grant eligibility calculated on the basis of a commuter-level budget. The difference between the commuter and resident/off-campus budgets is $13,200  for the 2017-2018 academic year and may be met with an external loan, such as a private educational loan and/or PLUS Loan proceeds.

The summer session is considered optional, and only federal loans are generally available. Students should complete the financial aid application before May 1 to receive consideration for summer assistance. Although loan funds may be available for summer, students must also enroll for the following fall semester in order to meet the minimum enrollment length requirements for federal assistance.

For Assistance

Walk-in hours: 

Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Eastern

For appointments call 216.368.4530 or email us at