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Your Financial Aid Offer


Understanding Your Financial Aid Offer

Cost of Attendance (COA) is the estimated amount that it will cost to attend UWSP for the academic year. The COA includes tuition and fees; housing and meals; and allowances for supplies, transportation, loan fees, and other miscellaneous personal expenses. Some of these are direct costs that are billed to your UWSP account and some are indirect costs that you are likely to incur but are not billed by UWSP. These costs are estimated; therefore, we strongly encourage you to plan your own specific budget based on your housing choice and meal plan, transportation needs, etc. Be sure to view your bill for actual charges when determining how much you owe the university each semester.

Direct Costs are costs that are billed by the university that need to be paid directly to the university. Direct costs include tuition, fees, text rental, on-campus housing, and meal plans. The costs displayed below are estimated expenses.

Indirect Costs are expenses that are related to attending school that we budget for but aren’t paid directly to the school. We are required to include allowances for additional books and supplies, transportation, loan fees, and other miscellaneous personal expenses as part of the cost of attendance. The costs displayed below are average estimated costs; indirect costs may vary by student.

Student Aid Index (SAI) is the number, based on the federal calculation, from the information provided on your FAFSA. The SAI is a measurement of your family's financial strength and is used to determine your eligibility for financial aid. This is not the amount of money your family will have to pay for college, nor is it the amount of financial aid you will receive.

Gift Aid includes Grants and Scholarships and do not require repayment. Some offers are based on financial need and some are based on merit. It should be noted, however, occasionally you may be required to pay back part or all of gift aid if, for example, you withdraw from school during a semester.

Net Cost is the estimated billable direct costs minus any grants, scholarships, or waivers you were offered.

Federal Student Loans must be repaid, with interest after you complete your degree. Federal Subsidized loans do not accrue interest until after you graduate. Unsubsidized loans accrue interest at the time of disbursement, but no student loan requires repayment until either you drop below half-time enrollment or graduate. The student is the borrower. In addition to accepting the loan(s), a first-time loan borrower must also complete entrance loan counseling and a master promissory note before the loan can be applied. Additionally, an annual student loan acknowledgment must be completed for all Federal Direct Loans.

Federal Parent Loan (Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students) is a federal loan that the student's parent (or graduate students) can borrow to help with the student's educational expenses. The parent (or graduate student) is the borrower. Interest accrues from the time of disbursement. The parent must apply for the PLUS loan and complete a master promissory note at

Federal Work Study are need-based funds that can be earned throughout the year by working a part time job for any UWSP department or approved community non-profit organization to help pay for college costs. The student is paid an hourly rate and wages earned are paid directly to you via direct deposit. However, a student does not have to have work-study to be able to work on-campus.  

View a sample financial aid offer letter

The total amount of need-based sources of financial aid (grants, scholarships, subsidized loans, and work-study) cannot exceed a student’s financial need. Only unsubsidized loans, PLUS, or private loans can cover any portion of your SAI. Watch the video on our Apply for Financial Aid webpage for further explanation on cost of attendance, expected family contribution and financial need.

Visit our Types of Aid tab on the left side of the page to view a summary of the different types of financial aid available.

Need more help understanding your financial aid offer? The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's has an online tool, Grad Path, to help students turn their offers into plans to pay for school.

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