Financial Aid FAQs

Application & Eligibility

Create an FSA ID

Students, parents, and borrowers are required to use an FSA ID, made up of a username and password, to access certain U.S. Department of Education websites. Your FSA ID is used to confirm your identity when accessing your financial aid information and electronically signing your federal student aid documents. We recommend you and your parent (if dependent) create your FSA ID before completing the FAFSA as it cuts down on errors and delays if you start your FAFSA form by providing your FSA ID on

You can create an FSA ID at or directly at the FSA website.

I already have a bachelor's degree and would like an associate's degree in a different discipline. How will this affect my financial aid?

You will be excluded from certain types of federal and campus-based aid, but can still apply for loans, work study, and institutional support.

What if my financial situation changes?

It isn't necessary to file another FAFSA. Send a letter explaining these changes to the Financial Aid Office.

What else can cause my award to change?

Scholarships, changes to the initial FAFSA, enrollment changes, state grants, and budget adjustments (living on campus vs. with parents) can cause your award to change. An email notification is sent to your Castleton email notifying you of any changes.

How is financial aid disbursed?

All federal grants, state grants, federal loans and private education loans are applied to the student's account electronically (typically in two installations - one for fall and one for spring). Your financial aid file and the verification process (if selected) must be complete before aid can be posted to your account.

How is my financial aid eligibility determined?

An explanation of how financial aid eligibility is determined can be found on our Financial Aid Eligibility page.

If I have no need, what federal financial aid is available?

The Federal Unsubsidized Student Loan and the Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan, which are low interest federal loans, are considered non-need-based aid.

What funds are considered need-based aid?

Pell Grant, FSEOG, Federal Subsidized Loan, Perkins Loan and Federal Work Study are all need-based aid. Need is determined by subtracting the federal Expected Family Contribution (EFC) from the cost of attendance.

What types of financial assistance are available?

Information on the types of financial assistance can be found on the Financial Aid page.

How do I know whether I am a dependent or an independent student?

Generally, if you are 24, or will be 24 by the end of the calendar year, you are considered an independent student. If you are younger than 24 but are a veteran, have dependents, are married, are an orphan or were a ward of the court, you may also be considered an independent student. If you feel you have extenuating circumstances, you should contact the Financial Aid Office.

When will I receive notification of my financial aid eligibility?

Once you have been accepted for admission to Castleton and the Financial Aid Office has received your processed FAFSA, your financial aid eligibility will be determined. An email notification will be sent to your email address per our database advising you to view your award via the Portal/VSC Web Services. Your award may be actual or estimated. Please view Financial Aid Document Status via the Portal/VSC Web Services to see what other documentation we may need to finalize your award. Submit additional documentation as soon as possible.

Castleton begins awarding newly accepted students mid-late November and mid-February for returning students.

What happens once I send in the FAFSA?

Once your application is processed, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the federal processor. It is very important to review this report for accuracy, as your financial aid eligibility will be determined based on this information.

When do I apply?

Applications may be submitted to the federal processor starting October 1. Financial aid is awarded on a first come, first served basis. Therefore, you are encouraged to apply as early as possible. We will consider anyone who applies by April 1 to be an on time applicant. Reminder: You must apply for financial aid each year.

How do I apply for Financial Aid?

You need to complete and submit a FAFSA (Free Application for Financial Aid) each academic year.
You can complete this application online by going to
Castleton's school code is 003683.

Who is eligible for financial aid?

Eligibility requirements can be found on our Financial Aid Eligibility page.


Federal Loans

I’ve been offered a Federal Perkins Loan. What do I need to do for the loan?

We have instructions for first time borrowers of Federal Perkins Loans.

What is the difference between the Federal Direct Subsidized and Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loans?

For a Federal Direct Subsidized Loan, the U.S. Department of Education pays the interest while you are enrolled at least half time. For a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, you are responsible for the interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it’s paid in full. You may pay the interest, or you may allow the interest to be accrued and capitalized. If you elect to defer paying the interest on the unsubsidized loan, we recommend that you check with your lender periodically to find out how much interest has accrued to date and if at all possible, make an interest payment so that you will have less interest that has to be capitalized. More information about Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct Loans is available including interest rate information.

I've been offered a Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan. What do I need to do for the loan?

We have information available for first time borrowers of Federal Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans.

How much can I borrow?

We have information on loans levels and limits.

Federal Work Study

What will be expected of me in my FWS position?

Each position has its own job description determined by the supervisor. Most importantly, all Federal Work-Study employees are Castleton University employees and are expected to be punctual, to follow confidentiality guidelines, to be respectful of students and supervisors, to dress appropriately, and meet all other expectations set by Human Resources and your supervisors.

Do I have to be enrolled full-time to be eligible for FWS?

No. Students may be eligible as long as they are enrolled at least half-time.

What other forms need to be completed for FWS?

The W-4 form is the Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. It is completed so that Castleton University can withhold the correct amount of federal income tax from pay. If students are taking classes, no income tax is withheld. During summer months income tax may be withheld if students are working on campus but not taking classes. Refer to a parent or to Human Resources for help on filling out your W-4.

The I-9 is required by the Department of Homeland Security to establish employment eligibility. To complete this form, employers must examine evidence of identity and employment eligibility prior to the date employment begins. For Castleton University purposes, we must have a completed I-9 along with the W-4 in order to approve a Student Employment Form.

Do I need to complete Student Employment Forms for FWS?

Yes. Students and their supervisors must complete the Student Employment Form for every student that is hired in the current academic year. This is regardless of whether the student worked in that department last year.  The form must be completely filled out in order to be approved.  This includes completing the pay rate, job classification and job title. Supervisors are responsible for completing the pay rate portion of the form. Students cannot start working until all paperwork is processed and approved.

Can I earn more than my FWS award?

NO! It is very important that the supervisor and the student monitor the earnings of the students so that they do not earn over their awarded amount. In some cases students may be able to increase their awards. To find out if their FWS eligibility could be increased they would have to make an appointment with the Financial Aid Office to review their financial aid eligibility.


How much are students awarded for FWS?

Your FWS award is listed on your award notification (that you view via Web Services). At Castleton University new incoming students are awarded up to $1500 for the academic year, $750 for the fall semester and $750 for the spring semester. This will allow new students to work an average of 5-6 hours per week each semester depending on their rate of pay. Returning students are awarded up to $2000 per academic year, $1000 for the fall semester and $1000 for the spring semester, allowing them to work 7-8 hours per week. Castleton University offers these awards based on financial need and the availability of Federal funds.

How do students get FWS?

At Castleton University, students must apply for Federal Financial Aid every year by submitting the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Federal Work-Study is awarded by the Financial Aid Office based on need.

How is the FWS program administered?

At Castleton University the Federal Work-Study program is administered by the Financial Aid Office. However, it is the responsibility of the students and the supervisors along with the Financial Aid Office to monitor earnings. If students have questions regarding their work study eligibility, they should contact the Financial Aid Office.

What is Federal Work-Study (FWS)?

Federal Work-Study is a financial aid program funded jointly by the U.S. Federal Government and a pre-approved employer. The program was created to allow students to earn wages during college while working for non-profit, educational institutions, government and community service employers. At Castleton, an approved employer is either an office or department on campus or an off-campus nonprofit agency approved by Castleton.

Can I work more than one FWS job?

Yes. Students may be employed at more than one location on campus. You must complete a Student Employment Form for each position. Keep in mind that you may meet your earnings limit sooner than expected and that you cannot earn more than your award. The Financial Aid Office will notify both the student and the department supervisor when eligibility limit is reached. Once you have earned your award amount you must stop working.

When can I begin to work in a FWS position?

Students will be approved to begin work when there is a W-4 on file, an I-9 on file, a completed Student Employment Form and their financial aid file is complete. The Financial Aid Officer will use email to notify both the supervisor and the student when employment has been approved. If there is a problem with one of the forms submitted, an email will be sent from either Financial Aid or Payroll.

How do I find a work study job?

Castleton does not place students in Federal Work-Study positions, giving students the opportunity to find a job that is of interest to them and that fits into their schedule. Students cannot work during a time that they are scheduled to be in class. Overtime is not authorized for federal work-study student employees and any overtime worked will be at the individual department's expense. Please check “How to Apply for Work Study” which lists the departments and supervisors that hire Federal Work-Study students. Students should go to the supervisor of the department that they are interested in working for to apply for a position.

Scholarship Info

Does Castleton offer scholarships?

Scholarships for new students are available through the Admissions Office. Check the Financial Aid section for New Student Scholarship details and deadlines. Returning Student Scholarship information can be found in the Financial Aid section as well.

Do I need to inform Castleton if I receive a scholarship or other assistance?

Yes. Please read information on Outside Scholarships on the Financial Aid web page.

What if I get a scholarship? How will that affect my financial aid?

Any scholarship notification should be sent to the Financial Aid Office. Scholarships are considered a resource and may result in a reduction in your federal student loan(s) and/or work-study, and possibly the Parent PLUS loan or private education loan.

State Grants

How do I apply for a state grant?

Information about state grants can be found on our State Grant Application page.


Why was I chosen for Verification?

The federal processor randomly selects applicants for verification. We may also choose an applicant for verification due to a possible error on the FAFSA or when there is conflicting/unclear information submitted on the FAFSA.

What documents do I need to send in for verification?

For the 2016-2017 Academic Year verification information is now available.
For the 2017-2018 Academic Year verification information is now available.

Will verification change my award?

Yes, if there is a change in the EFC calculation on the FAFSA, then the financial aid eligibility will be reviewed. The student will be sent notification via e-mail that the verification process is complete and that they should view their award via the Portal / VSC Webservices for any changes.

What is Data Retrieval?

Information on Data Retrieval is available on our site. 

What is the easiest way to provide tax information for verification?

Instructions on how to use Data Retrieval is available.

Instructions on the IRS Tax Return Transcript Request process is also available on our site.