Federal Financial Aid Programs

Information for federal aid programs is subject to regulatory change by Congress at any time.

Federal Pell Grants

Federal Pell Grants are awarded to undergraduate students based on financial need and the cost of attendance. The Pell Grants program is the largest federal student aid program. As an entitlement program, students who qualify for a Pell Grant will receive the funds awarded. The amount of a Pell Grant is contingent on the federal government's educational budget. The Department of Education determines a student's eligibility for Federal Pell Grant funds based on the information provided on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Pell Grants are awarded only to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's or professional degree.

Disbursement of Books and Supplies for Pell Eligible Students

Students who are eligible to receive a Federal Pell Grant, as indicated in their financial aid package, where the Federal Pell Grant creates a Title IV (federal grants and loans) credit balance may receive a refund in the form of a check during the first seven days of the academic enrollment period to purchase books and supplies. To be eligible for the school credit, students must meet the following criteria:

  • The Federal Pell Grant funds could have been disbursed to the student’s account 10 days before the start of the semester. This means that students must have submitted a valid FAFSA, signed and returned copy of their financial aid award letter, completed financial aid verification (if required), and a Direct Loan Master Promissory Note and Entrance Counseling at least ten days before the start of the semester or seven days after the start of the semester.


  • The federal funds create a Title IV credit balance (cost of attending is less than the amount of the Federal Pell Grant and Federal Direct loans). Institutional and/or state financial assistance is not included.

Students may receive any other credit balance funds by check within 14 days from which the credit occurred.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)

A grant for undergraduate students with exceptional financial need, FSEOG awards range from $200 to $4,000. Each year, the Department of Education allocates FSEOG grants funds to Wells College. Filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the student's application for these funds. According to federal guidelines, Federal SEOG funds must first be awarded to students of exceptional financial need, therefore Federal Pell Grant recipients have first priority in receiving these funds. The average Wells College SEOG award is $500.

Federal Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants (TEACH)

Through the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, Congress created the TEACH Grant Program that provides grants of up to $4,000 per year to students who intend to teach in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves students from low-income families. Each year you receive a TEACH Grant, you must sign a TEACH Grant Agreement to Serve that will be available electronically on a Department of Education website. The agreement specifies the conditions under which the grant will be awarded, the teaching service requirements, and includes an acknowledgement by you that you understand that if you do not meet the teaching service requirements you must repay the grant as a Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan, with interest accrued from the date the grant funds were disbursed. To receive a Federal TEACH Grant students must meet certain academic achievement requirements: Be above the 75th percentile on one or part of an admissions test (such as the SAT or ACT) or have at least a 3.25 cumulative grade point average (GPA) for the first payment period — in high school for first year students and in college for other students. Students who are not first-time students must have a minimum 3.25 cumulative GPA  to be eligible.

Federal Student Loan Programs

Federal Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loan Programs are low-interest student loans made to students by the federal government to help pay for educational costs. These loans are the most popular because they are available in the subsidized program (principal and interest is deferred) or the unsubsidized program (interest is payable or capitalized onto the principal while the principal is being deferred). Even if you are deemed ineligible for need-based financial aid, you can receive an unsubsidized Federal Direct Stafford loan. The financial aid office will determine eligibility for these programs. The interest rate for these loans is calculated every July for the upcoming school year. Students are required to undergo an entrance and exit counseling session before entering and leaving the institution. Students have between 10 to 25 years to repay, depending on amount owed and type of repayment plan selected. Direct Stafford Loan limits for undergraduate students are: 1st year-$5,500; 2nd year-$6,500 and 4th and 5th year -$7,500. Unsubsidized Direct Stafford Loan Limits for independent students will allow for additional unsubsidized loan eligibility of up to $4,000 in freshman and sophomore years and $5,000 for junior and senior status. Dependent students who parents do not qualify for a Federal PLUS Loan (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students) are eligible to borrow additional Direct Unsubsidized Stafford loan funds. These limits are $4,000 for 1st and 2nd year and $5,000 for third and fourth year. Students will be packaged with their maximum subsidized and unsubsidized loan eligibility.

Direct loan eligibility is determined based on total credits earned. Therefore, if a student does not meet the chart standards below, they may have their loans prorated with the assumptions that the student will reach the next academic level in the following semester. Details of the student loan elegibility will be indicated on the student's offer letter. Progress will be reviewed mid-year for students who did not meet the academic standing chart in June before their second loan disbursements are made. If the student does not meet the assumed academic level, their loans will be adjusted accordingly and will receive notification from the financial aid office.

Academic Standing / Credits Earned / Maximum Direct Loan Total Eligibility
Freshman / 0-29.9 / $5,500
Sophomore / 30-59.9 / $6,500
Junior / 60-89.9 / $7,500
Senior / 90 and above / $7,500

Students may request in writing for a review of their academic standing and loan eligibility if credits have been transferred to Wells College after their offer has been determined.

Undergraduate students may borrow under the Federal Direct Loan Program depending on their demonstrated need as determined by the FAFSA. Dependent freshmen may borrow up to $5,500 in their freshman year (no more than $3,500 can be in the subsidized program), sophomores may borrow up to $6,500 (no more than $4,500 in the subsidized program), and juniors/seniors may borrow up to $7,500 with no more than $5,500 in the subsidized program. Independent freshman and sophomore students may borrow up to $9,500 and $12,500 for independent juniors and seniors. Interest rate on Federal Direct Loan Program is 5.5% beginning July 1, 2023, and will have loan origination fees of 1.057%. Subsidized loans have the federal government paying interest while the student is enrolled. Interest on the unsubsidized loans will accrue during a student's enrollment. The student has the option to either pay the interest as it accrues or or capitalize any accrued interest at the time the student enters repayment. Students cannot receive more than the cost of attendance. First-time Direct Loan borrowers are required to complete the Direct Loan Entrance Counseling, Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement, and Master Promissory Note (MPN) before their loan(s) can be processed for payment.

The Direct PLUS Loan Program is a federal loan that is in the parent’s name only.  This program offers low-interest loans to parents and reasonable repayment plan that can span up to ten years or more.  Parents can borrow up to the cost of attendance each year.  The fixed interest rate on this loan is typically determined by the end of June for loans that will be disbursed during the July–through–June academic year.  The Direct PLUS Loan interest rate is 8.05% beginning July 1, 2023, with current loan origination fees of 4.228%.  Parents enter repayment on this loan immediately but will be offered the option to defer during the application process.  If the parent chooses to defer payment, interest will accrue during the deferment period.

Federal Direct Loan Program NSLDS Notification

Once a student or parent federal loan has been disbursed in the Direct Loan or Perkins Loan program, the loan disbursement notification is then submitted to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). The borrower to view at any time:

  1. Total federal loan disbursements and status
  2. Loan servicing agency with appropriate contact information

In addition to the borrower being able to access their loan information, NSLDS allows the loan information to be accessed by the loan guaranty agencies, lenders and schools that hold appropriate federal authorized usage.

Federal College Work-Study Program (FCWSP)

For students demonstrating financial need, Wells arranges jobs on campus and with community service organizations. Application is made through the Office of Experiential Learning and Career Services. Students who receive work study as part of their financial aid package may apply for student employment. Students must complete an employment application and interview successfully to receive a job placement. Wage is determined by the nature of the job and the qualifications of the applicant.

There are a limited number of positions and placement for federal work-study/student employment cannot be guaranteed.  If a student secures employment through this program, they will be paid for the hours that they work in the form of a payroll check and will not receive funds in advance. Campus job openings can be viewed at wells.edu/employment; look under the "Student Positions" tab.

United States Bureau of Indian Affairs Aid to Native Americans

Students who are at least one-fourth American Indian, Eskimo, or Aleut and are enrolled members of a tribe, band, or group recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, may qualify for aid under this program. Application forms may be obtained from the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

If you (or your spouse) are a veteran or you’re the dependent of a veteran, educational benefits may be available. Under the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Act of 2008, many post-9/11 veterans and service members will be eligible for a new comprehensive education benefits package that goes beyond helping to pay for tuition. Many veterans who served after September 11, 2011, will get full tuition and fees, a monthly housing stipend, and a $1,000 a year stipend for books and supplies. The new bill also gives Reserve and Guard members who have been activated for more than 90 days since 9/11 access to the same GI Bill® benefits. More information is available at the U.S. Department of Verterans Affairs education benefits website or call 1.888.GI.BILL.1 (1.888.442.4551).

Students are required to notify the financial aid office of the amount and type of veteran’s benefits that you will receive each year. Your Veteran’s Benefits do not affect your eligibility for federal funds. However, Wells College will consider any veteran’s educational benefit as a resource for financial aid. This means that financial assistance (grants and/or scholarships) offered through Wells may be reduced when the amount of VA benefits are factored into the award. The total of your veteran’s benefits, other federal, state and institutional aid cannot exceed the Wells College cost of attendance.

U.S. Armed Forces

The Armed Forces also offer financial aid opportunities for service members and their families. For more information, visit Today's Military, a website produced by the U.S. Department of Defense.


This program provides full-time educational awards in return for community service work. You can work before, during or after your post-secondary education, and you can use the funds either to pay current educational expenses or to repay federal student loans. For more information, contact:

Corporation for National Service
1201 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20525
1.800.942.2677 (TTY Number: 1.800.833.3722)

The federal aid programs listed above are subject to modification by legislative action and federal appropriation levels.