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 https://stude​ or by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID. Students will need their social security number, tax information from two years prior, untaxed income records, and current bank statements. If applicable, students will also need the current net worth of their investments and business(es). 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 May 1 to receive the FAFSA and have all requirements met) to ensure availability of all aid programs. UWSP’s Federal School Code is 003924. View our Dates and Deadlines page for more information.

* It is anticipated that the FAFSA will not be available to complete for the 2024-2025 academic year until later in December 2023​. Please check the​ website frequently for updates. 

After completing the FAFSA, you'll receive an email from us once we have received your application from the Department of Education (typically we can begin downloading applications mid-November each year). You must be admitted to UWSP before a financial aid offer will be processed. Additionally, students must be making Satisfactory Academic Progress in order to receive financial aid. Please review other eligibility requirements.

View our Apply for Aid webpage for more information and next steps.

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

Absolutely! Many families mistakenly think that they don’t qualify for financial aid, so they don’t apply. Depending on your expected family contribution (EFC), which is calculated when completing the FAFSA, will determine how much need based aid you could qualify for, such as federal Work Study, the federal Subsidized Direct Loan and even an institutional grant. Sources of non-need based aid include the federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan and the parent PLUS loan. Also, many scholarship applications require a completed FAFSA. Receipt of all these types of aid require the financial aid application.

See our FAFSA fact vs fiction handout for more information.

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

Yes, each school year your financial aid eligibility is re-evaluated. The FAFSA becomes available each October 1 for the upcoming year.

* It is anticipated that the FAFSA will not be available to complete for the 2024-2025 academic year until later in December 2023​. Please check the​ website frequently for updates. 

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

If our office is aware of the additional resource before you receive a financial aid offer, the resource should have already been considered and represented in your financial aid offer. If however, we are notified after the fact, it may be necessary to reduce other financial aid as a result of a scholarship, assistantship and/or RA position to account for the additional resource. Be sure to report any scholarships or other resources on the Scholarship/Outside Resource Reporting Form found on our Scholarships webpage.

 How do I apply for aid for summer school?

You do not need to file a separate application to receive financial aid during the summer. The summer semester leads our academic year, where the FAFSA you file for the next year is what is used to award financial aid for the summer semester. In most cases, you must be registered at least half-time to receive financial aid during the summer. View our Enrollment webpage for more information.

 How do I get work-study?

Federal Work-Study is need-based aid and you must indicate that you want work study on the FAFSA in order to be considered to receive it as well as the availability of funds. So, be sure to file your FAFSA and have all other requirements met, if applicable, by our priority date.

If you are not awarded Federal Work-Study, there are a number of non-work study student employment opportunities on campus – see the Campus Activities and Engagement (CASE) website.

View our Student Employment webpage for more information.

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

The Student Financial Services office will post the detailed cost information as soon as it is available where you may review the cost information for the appropriate term and career level. Costs are updated each year after the UW System Board of Regents determines the amount of tuition. Generally these figures become available for the upcoming academic year in late July. Actual university bills are sent by the Student Financial Services office typically 1-2 weeks prior to the start of each term.

For planning purposes, you may view our estimated cost of attendance budgets. These are not actual costs. For actual costs, billing and information on payment options, please view the Student Financial Services webpages.

 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 university bill?

Students already receiving the maximum amount possible based on his/her grade level may apply for a private educational loan. Additionally, the Federal PLUS loan is available for parents of dependent students to help fill the gap. In certain situations, students who are awarded work-study may be able to reduce their work-study offer in order to increase their Federal Direct Loan. Please contact our office to find out if this applies to you. We always recommend searching and applying for scholarships.

View our Not Enough Aid webpage for more options.

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

You must submit the FAFSA each year using income from two years prior. Because of this, any changes in family income, student income, investments, household size and number of family members in college, or changes in federal regulations and formula may lead to a change in financial aid eligibility.

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

Complete the Financial Aid Appeal Form online, or on paper at the Financial Aid and Veteran Services office. A counselor will review the information provided to determine whether your financial aid offer 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 typically offered based on full-time enrollment, therefore, your financial aid may be adjusted accordingly should your enrollment status be less than full-time. Please check with the Financial Aid and Veteran Services office to see how dropping below a full-time status may affect your individual situation.

View our Enrollment webpage for more information.

 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 for verification, you must submit all required, completed and signed documentation to the Financial Aid and Veteran Services office.
  • Some financial aid types require that you actively accept them in accesSPoint and all requirements must be completed.
  • First time Federal Direct Loan borrowers are required to complete the loan Entrance Counseling and Direct Loan Master Promissory Note online at
  • Checklist items on your accesSPoint must be completed before your financial aid can be disbursed.

 How does my enrollment status impact my loan eligibility?

In most cases, your loans are offered and disbursed equally based on your terms of enrollment. For example, if you enroll for the academic year, your total loan amount will be split equally between fall and spring semesters. If you enroll for summer, the cost of your summer program will be considered and the remaining loan amount divided equally between the fall and spring semesters.

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

View our Enrollment webpage for more information.

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

For Federal Direct Loans, there is an origination fee taken off of the loan before it is disbursed toward your account. For more information see our Loans webpage.

 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 and your eligibility. 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 is responsible for the interest from the time the loan is disbursed until it is paid in full.
Visit our Loans webpage for more information.

 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?

Yes, it is possible!

  • A consortium agreement may be used while attending two schools simultaneously. However, only one school can provide you financial aid. You will identify one school as your home school. This home school may be able to provide financial aid while you temporarily take classes at another school (host school). With an approved consortium agreement, it may be possible to enroll in some courses 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 an agency who does not work through a Title IV school. 
  • Please 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.
View our Enrollment webpage for more information.

 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).
View more information about this topic on the Department of Education's webpage.

 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 (documentation to support this may be requested):
  • 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 who live with you and who receive more than half of their support?
  • At any time since you turned age 13, were both your parents deceased, were you in foster care or were you a dependent/ward of the court?
  • Are you a veteran of or currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces?
  • Are you or were you an emancipated minor?
  • Does someone other than your parent or stepparent have legal guardianship of you?
  • Did your high school, or school district homeless liaison, director of an emergency shelter transitional housing program, runaway or homeless youth basic center determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?

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, it may be possible to 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.

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

Financial aid offers may need to be adjusted for students who receive the WI G.I. Bill tuition remission. If your WI G.I. Bill tuition remission is approved after your financial aid offer has already been issued, your financial aid offer will be revised to reflect the new resources available. As a result, some of your financial aid may 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, scholarships, remissions or other resources.

 How will I receive my financial aid refund?

All financial aid applies directly to your university account. If your bill is paid in full,  the refund check is typically sent to your local address unless you sign up for direct deposit​ with the university. You may sign up for direct deposit in your accesSPoint.

 I’m coming back to school. Am I able to defer my student loans?

For information on in school deferment and forbearance please visit

 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 and Veteran Services office for information to set up an appointment regarding this request.

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

Financial aid may be awarded to 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: you may take a course and receive a D. Then you may want to retake the course to achieve a higher grade. If the second attempt of the course is not the grade you are seeking (some courses require a C or higher), you are not eligible to receive aid for that course in future attempts.

If you withdraw from all other Title IV eligible courses in the payment period or period of enrollment and continue to attend only the course(s) you are repeating, you may not receive Title IV aid during that period, and you will be considered as 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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