Before You Borrow

We want you to graduate in the best financial position possible, and one of the best ways to do that is to minimize borrowing whenever possible. We encourage you to take the following steps BEFORE you accept your loans to determine your borrowing needs.

We are more than happy to meet with you to help you through these steps.

 Step 1

Step 1: Review Your Costs

You may view your estimated cost of attendance in your accesSPoint or on our webpage. These are estimates, however, it ​will help you determine what your direct educational costs will be to determine what you may owe for the semester. Bills for the Fall semester are typically generated at the end of August each year. Bills for the Spring semester are typically generated mid January. If possible and applicable, we recommend waiting to see your bill before determining if you need to borrow loans.

 Step 2

Step 2: Compare Your Aid Offer to Costs

The financial aid offers are made on an annual basis. Your bill is generated by term, so double your bill to get your annual costs. Or, you can use our estimated costs on our Cost of Attendance webpage. Don't forget to add in housing and meal plan if you plan to live on campus! Use our college cost comparison worksheet for help.

If the amount is a POSITIVE number...
You will have a balance due to the school. You can determine if you need a loan to cover it, if you can afford a payment plan, or even a combination of these options.

If the amount is a NEGATIVE number...
Your grants and scholarships should fully cover your costs. In this instance, you should not need to borrow, unless you need to borrow a bit extra for things like supplies or additional books.

 Step 3

Step 3: Balance Your Needs Versus Wants

Your loan has been offered to you based on your MAXIMUM eligibility, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you need to take the full amount. If you want to take extra funds from your loans to assist with educational expenses, be sure to think about what you need versus what you want.

You may need fuel to get to and from campus. You need class supplies and supplemental books. You need food.

You want a newer computer. You want to go on a trip for Spring Break.

Bottom line... If it's not needed, you should not be borrowing to get it.

 Step 4

Step 4: Think Ahead

Do you have additional expenses that you can plan ahead for?

Here are some common expenses that UWSP students plan for:

  • Winterim course tuition
  • Study Abroad
  • Summer course tuition
  • Housing or meal plan changes
  • Significant online coursework or additional course fees

Borrowing a full loan at the start of the year will leave you with little to no funds available to cover these costs. If you are thinking about studying abroad or taking courses outside of fall and spring, it is in your best interest to reduce your loans so that you have funds available to assist later.

 Step 5

Step 5: Accept the Loans You Need

If you are offered both a subsidized and unsubsidized loan, you should borrow as much as possible from the subsidized loan before you use any unsubsidized.

Decline any unsubsidized funds that are not needed.

You can reduce loan offer amounts! When you select Accept, you are able to edit the loan amount to a reduced total before you submit. Remember that loans are offered on an annual basis, so if you need $1,000 for the fall semester, you need to enter $2,000 to give you $1,000 for fall and $1,000 for spring.

If you want a loan for one semester only, this cannot be done via accesSPoint. Please contact our office.

Bottom line... Request more loans later if you end up needing more! It's better to start small and increase rather than over-borrow.