What is the purpose of Invest in Cougs?
Invest in Cougs exists to alleviate financial barriers to student success by matching a student’s savings toward their education at a rate of $4 for every $1 saved, as well as providing professional guidance and peer mentoring regarding college finances. Invest in Cougs reduces unmet need and builds a student’s capacity to more fully engage academically and persist to graduation.
What are the eligibility requirements for Invest in Cougs
WSU undergraduates who have in-state residency and are Pell eligible are may apply for Invest in Cougs. Admission is based on highest need as determined by unmet financial need and expected family contribution.
What are the program Requirements?
Once enrolled in the program, all participants must complete certain requirements to receive matching funds. These include maintaining good academic standing (including a 2.0 GPA or higher), abiding by all WSU community standards, completing the FAFSA and all required documentation within institutional deadlines, completing financial education requirements, contributing earned income to a savings account, and meeting with peer advisors at least twice per semester.
How often will Invest in Cougs enroll new students?
Generally, we will have an enrollment period once a year. However, new students will be enrolled as space becomes available.
If I don’t utilize all of my funds before completing my degree, what will happen?
Invest in Cougs staff will work with you and monitor your funds closely, especially in the student’s final year, to ensure the funds are utilized to the fullest extent. In the event that all funds are not used before graduation, a student may use them for postgraduate educational goals at WSU (grad school, nursing school, etc.). In the event you are unable to use your matched funds, your remaining savings will be returned to you unmatched.
Can I use the money for summer school? Study abroad?
Funds can be used for Summer Session on any WSU campus. WSU Faculty-led study abroad programs that charge WSU tuition are the only approved study abroad programs that we fund.
How will these funds affect my financial aid?
This depends on your financial aid package and the amount of unmet need you have. In many instances, Invest in Cougs funds may decrease the amount of loans offered. Invest in Cougs funds should not affect grants. We will work with you and Student Financial Services to ensure there are no adverse effects or surprises on your overall aid package.
Does the money I save have to be used for educational costs or just the matching funds?
Yes, all money saved, including your own, must be used for educational costs. Invest in Cougs agrees to match a student’s savings at a 400 percent interest rate upon successful completion of the financial education program and a minimum of six months of saving. One of the requirements of the program is the willingness to save one’s own earned income and be willing to contribute to educational costs.
Can the funds be used to pay off student loans?
No. All funds must be applied toward current educational costs limited to tuition & fees, books, and educational technology. However, by receiving the funds, a participant may be able to lessen their loan debt.