How do I get financial aid?

The first step in the financial aid process is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online at or by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID. Students will need their social security number, tax information from the prior year, untaxed income records, and current bank statements. If applicable, students will also need current net worth of investments and business net worth. Dependent students will need this information from their parents as well.

When applying electronically, both the student and parent (if applicable) will use a FSA ID to sign the FAFSA. The FSA ID is obtained at You may apply after October 1st each year but UWSP has a priority date of March 15th to ensure all aid programs are available. UWSP’s Federal School Code is 003924. View our Dates and Deadlines page for more information.

After completing the FAFSA, the Financial Aid Office will receive this information in approximately 1-2 weeks. Students must be admitted to UWSP before the FAFSA application will be processed. Additionally, students must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress in order to receive financial aid. Check other eligibility requirements.

 I probably don't qualify for financial aid. Should I apply anyway?

Yes, many families mistakenly think that they don’t qualify for aid so they don’t apply. There are sources of non-need based aid, but receipt of these types of aid also requires a financial aid application. Some sources of non-need based aid include the Unsubsidized Direct Loan and the parent PLUS loan.

 Do I have to fill out a new FAFSA every year?

Yes, each school year your financial aid eligibility is re-determined. The FAFSA is available every January for the upcoming year.

 Do scholarships, assistantships, or Residence Hall Staff positions affect my eligibility?

Yes. If it is necessary to reduce other financial aid as a result of a scholarship, assistantship and/or RA position, aid would be reduced in the following order: loans, work-study and grants. Report any scholarships or other resources on the Scholarship Notification Form.

 How do I apply for aid for summer school?

The summer term leads our academic year, therefore, you just need to apply for the FAFSA after January 1st to be awarded for the summer. Once you are registered at least half-time, your financial aid award will automatically include the summer or you will receive a revised award email shortly after you have registered.

 How do I get work-study?

The FAFSA results determine who will be awarded federal work-study, depending on your financial need and the availability of funds. If you are not awarded work-study, there are a number of student employment opportunities on campus – see the Campus Activities and Enagagement (CASE) website.

 How much is tuition, housing, or the meal plan?

The Accounts Receivable website will post the detailed cost information as soon as it is available. Students should review the cost information for the appropriate term and career level. Costs are updated every year after the UW System Board of Regents decides the amount tuition will be increased. Generally these figures are available for the upcoming academic year in late July.

 The financial aid awarded to me from the FAFSA is not enough to pay my bill. How can I get money to pay the rest of my tuition?

Dependent students already receiving the maximum amount possible for his/her grade level may apply for a private alternative loan. The federal parent PLUS loan is also available for parents of dependent students to apply for. Independent students have the option of taking out alternative student loans. Additionally, in certain situations, students who are awarded work-study may be able to reduce the work-study allotment and increase their Direct Loan. Please contact our office to find out if your situation applies.

 Why didn't I get as much as last year?

Each year's aid is based on the previous year's income information. Any changes in family income, student income, investments, number of family members in college, or a change in federal regulations can lead to a decrease in aid.

 My family has some unusual circumstances since I filled out the FAFSA, how do I report that?

Complete the Unusual Circumstances Form online, or on paper at the financial aid office. A counselor will review the current financial situation and determine if your financial aid award can be adjusted.

Some special situations may include loss of employment, marital separation/divorce, death, or out-of-pocket medical expenses not covered by insurance.

 What happens to my aid if I'm less than a full time student?

Certain types of aid are credit sensitive. Financial aid is normally awarded based on full-time enrollment status, therefore, your financial aid may be adjusted accordingly. Please check with the financial aid office to see how dropping below full-time status would affect your individual situation.

 Why hasn't my financial aid paid?

There are several requirements that need to be completed before your aid can be applied to your account:
  • If your FAFSA is selected to be verified, you must submit all required, completed and signed documentation to the Financial Aid Office.

  • The financial aid award must be accepted.

  • First time Direct Loan borrowers are required to complete Entrance Loan Counseling and the Direct Loan Master Promissory Note online at

  • If you are receiving the Perkins Loans for the first time at UWSP, the Perkins Loan Office (ECSI) will contact you via email to complete a Perkins Master Promissory Note.

 How does my enrollment status impact my loan eligibility?

In most cases, your loans are awarded and disbursed equally based on your terms of enrollment. For example, if you enroll for the academic year, your total loan amount would be split equally between fall and spring semesters. Likewise, if you enroll for summer, fall and spring, the loan amount would be divided among the three terms.

If however, you would graduate at the end of the summer and/or fall terms, your loan amount(s) would then be prorated based on the number of credits for which you are enrolled.

 Why didn't the total amount of loans I accepted pay towards my account?

All loans will be equally divided amount the terms enrolled. For example, if attending summer, fall and spring, your loans will be disbursed in thirds among the three terms.

 What is the difference between subsidized and unsubsidized Direct Loans?

  • Subsidized loans are awarded on the basis of financial need as determined by our office. The federal government pays the interest on these loans while students are in school at least half-time and during certain periods, such as grace and deferment.

  • Unsubsidized loans are awarded regardless of financial need but the borrower will be responsible for the interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full.

 I am an undergrad at UWSP and will be studying at another university for a term. Can I get aid from UWSP for those costs?

  • A consortium is an agreement between two schools that one school (home school) will provide financial aid while the student temporarily takes classes at another (host school). With a consortium, it is possible to take all your classes at another institution, or you may take some at UWSP and some at another institution.


  • The host school must be an approved Title IV school, meaning they have a federal Title IV code and can process federal financial aid. We will not approve a consortium if it is offered through a broker or agency who does not work through a Title IV school.


  • You may contact our office to schedule an appointment with a counselor to go over the details of the consortium agreement. Typically, the Dean of your major must approve the courses taken elsewhere in order to have an approved consortium agreement.

 My parents are divorced or separated. Which parent's information do I use?

  • If your parents are divorced or separated, you should provide information about the parent you lived with more during the past 12 months.
  • If you did not live with one parent more than the other, use the parent that provided more financial support during the last 12 months, or during the most recent year that you actually received support from a parent.

  • If this parent is remarried as of today, provide information about that parent AND the person whom your parent married (stepparent).

 Who is considered independent for financial aid purposes?

For financial aid purposes, a student is considered to be an "independent student" if they can answer yes to one of the following questions on the FASFA:
  • Are you 24 years old?
  • Will you be working on a master's or doctorate program?
  • Are you married?
  • Do you have children who receive more than half of their support?
  • Do you have dependents (other than your children or spouse) who live with you and who receive more than half of their support?
  • When you were age 13 or older, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent/ward of the court?
  • Are you a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces?

If you cannot answer yes to at least one of these questions, then you will be considered to be a "dependent student" for financial aid purposes.

If you do not qualify for independent status according to the above but you have special circumstances that you believe make you an independent student, you can submit an appeal to our office. Parents’ unwillingness to help with educational expenses or the fact that you are not claimed on your parents’ tax return does NOT qualify a student for self-support status.

 Is financial aid available for international students?

To receive financial aid from UWSP, you must be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen. Generally, you are an eligible noncitizen if you are:
  • a U.S. permanent resident and you have an Alien Registration Receipt Card (I551);
  • a conditional permanent resident (I551-C); or
  • another eligible noncitizen with an Arrival-Departure Record (I94) from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service showing any one of the following designations:
    • "Refugee,"
    • "Asylum Granted,"
    • "Indefinite Parole" and/or "Humanitarian Parole," or
    • "Cuban-Haitian Entrant."

If you are in the U.S. on an F1 or F2 student visa, or a J1 or J2 exchange visitor visa, or a G series visa (pertaining to international organizations), you are not a citizen or an eligible noncitizen and cannot receive federal financial aid from UWSP.

If you are not a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen, you may be eligible for private loans from lenders although most private loans require a U.S. citizen cosigner. You may also wish to check out UWSP’s International & Scholars Office.

 Can you tell me more about the Wisconsin Covenant?

For more information regarding the Wisconsin Covenant, please see the WI Covenant website. The website also offers FAQ's regarding the program.

 Will my financial aid be affected if I receive a WI G.I. Bill tuition remission?

Financial aid awards may need to be adjusted for students who receive the WI G.I. Bill tuition remission benefit. If your WI G.I. Bill tuition remission is approved after your financial aid award has already been issued, your financial aid award will need to be reassessed to reflect the new tuition resources you have received. As a result, your loans, grants and federal work study may need to be reduced. Financial aid reassessments may occur throughout the semester and are required by federal law whenever a student's financial need changes as a result of receiving additional loans, grants, remissions or other resources.

 How will I receive my financial aid refund?

All financial aid will come into UWSP and pay toward any balance due. If your bill is paid in full, a refund check will be issued and mailed to your local address unless you sign up for direct deposit​ with the university.

 What if I got married after I filled out the FAFSA? Can I change my status from dependent to independent now that I'm married?

Please contact the Financial Aid office to speak with a counselor.

 If I previously received a failing grade in a course, how many times can I retake that course and still receive federal financial aid?

You may include any repetition of a course, as long as you have never passed the course. If you previously passed the course, you may include one repetition after passing. Any second or subsequent repetition of the passed course may not be included in your enrollment status for the purpose of receiving federal financial aid.

Students are eligible to receive financial aid only ONCE for a previously passed course. For example: a student may take a course and receive a D. The student may want to retake the course to achieve a higher grade. If the second attempt of the course is not the grade the student is seeking (some courses require a C or higher), the student is not eligible to receive aid for that course in future attempts.

If the student withdraws from all Title IV eligible courses in the payment period or period of enrollment and continues to attend only the course(s) the he/she is completing or repeating for which he/she may not receive Title IV aid during that period, the student is a withdrawal for Title IV purposes. This is because a student is considered to be attending a Title IV eligible program only if he/she is attending one or more courses in that program for which the student is receiving Title IV, HEA program funds.

The regulations related to retaking coursework only apply to the definition of full-time for undergraduate students.

Scenario 1st 2nd 3rd
1 F D OK
2 D OK
3 D F No Aid
4 F F OK
5 D D No Aid
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