For the latest Financial and Financial Aid Information, as well as current advising hours, please visit wwwfinancialaid.uwm.edu
Mellencamp Hall, Room 162
Attending college is one of the most exciting and challenging times of your life. College tuition could be one of the largest expenditures you ever make—but also one of your best investments. The typical bachelor's degree recipient can expect to earn about 66 percent more during a 40-year working life than a high school graduate. Most students (and their families) will need to use a combination of tools to help finance their higher education. Our staff can help take the challenge out of financing a college education. Information is provided here and on our website to help you formulate a financing plan. We are confident you will find UWM very affordable as you compare your out-of-pocket costs with other colleges.
Before you can create a financing plan, you need to know how much money you will need. Unfortunately, tuition costs are often not available until mid- to late summer. However, you can look at the prior semester/year's costs and use them as an estimate. In fact, the budgets used by the Financial Aid Department are all based on estimates, assuming an increase in expenses each year. You are encouraged to become familiar with the Bursar's Office website (http://www.bfs.uwm.edu/fees/default.htm) which contains detailed information on costs and how to pay your bill.
You can review University Housing cost and meal plan information on the University Housing website, http://www4.uwm.edu/housing.
The Financial Aid Department develops an "Estimated Cost of Attendance" which is kept on our website and itemizes allowable costs that will be used in determining your budget if you apply for financial aid. These numbers are used in determining your eligibility for financial aid. However, even if you don’t apply for financial aid, you may find the numbers useful as a starting place in determining your own individual budget. Once you have an idea of what it will cost, the next step is to determine what you will have for resources.
Savings. Parents (and students) are encouraged to incorporate college savings as one component of their overall financial plan. While you may not be able to save enough to pay the entire cost of a college education, any savings will mean that much less that you have to worry about financing.
Families with a desire to save for future college expenses have more options than ever before. Powerful investment vehicles, including Section 529 college savings programs and Coverdell education savings accounts, were added to traditional investment options—savings accounts, taxable investment accounts, annuities, and U.S. Savings Bonds — as a means to save for college. You may wish to review http://www.savingforcollege.com which contains information on the basics of saving for college. Of course, the earlier you start saving for college, the better. If the tuition bill is right around the corner, you may need to supplement any savings you have accumulated with other resources.
Scholarships. Numerous scholarship opportunities are available through the Financial Aid Office, academic departments, and UWM Foundation. For a complete listing of all campus scholarships, as well as a copy of our Freshman Scholarship Brochure, please refer to the scholarship area of our website. We do post some scholarship notices outside the Financial Aid Office for applications that are available in our office. For all other scholarships you should request an application from the contact person listed. There also are numerous links to free scholarship searches on our website. If you are in high school, don't forget to check with your guidance counselor for potential scholarship opportunities.
Financial Aid. All students are strongly encouraged to apply for financial aid. It is free, easy, and should be done online at www.fafsa.gov. (Free Application for Federal Student Aid site.) Effective with the 2012-2013 academic year, it may be even easier – if you file your federal tax returns prior to submitting your FAFSA. Submitting your federal returns online two weeks prior to submitting your FAFSA may allow you to answer a number of the questions on the FAFSA by using the IRS Data retrieval. Using the retrieval means copies of your tax returns will not be requested. It could also mean a lower chance of being selected for verification which causes delays in determining your aid eligbility. March 1 is the annual UWM priority filing date for an academic year beginning that fall. However, you should file as early as possible to receive the best aid package available. Many programs have a limited amount of funding and aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. In most cases, it will take a minimum of one month from the date the FAFSA is submitted to complete the process of applying for aid and having your eligibility determined. Applicants waiting until after May 1 to file a FAFSA or submit a loan application will most likely experience longer processing times. You are required to complete a new FAFSA each year, although for subsequent years much of the information is already completed; you are asked just to update key data elements.
Many parents of college-bound students don’t bother filing the FAFSA because they’re convinced they make too much money to qualify for any financial assistance. In reality, though, most people underestimate their eligibility for financial aid. More than 76% of UWM students receive financial assistance, with an average award of more than $11,000 per student per year. Minimally, most students can receive a Federal Direct Stafford Loan (with a low fixed interest rate), but only after filing a FAFSA. To receive an early estimate of your expected family contribution as well as aid eligibility, you can go to www4.uwm.edu/financialaid/calculator or www.fafsa4caster.ed.gov.
A student qualifies for need-based aid if the total cost of attendance, including tuition and fees, an allowance for room and meals, transportation, books and supplies, and personal miscellaneous expenses, is greater than their expected family contribution (EFC). Students who do not qualify for need-based aid may still be eligible for a non-need-based loan. To be eligible for financial aid, a student must also maintain satisfactory academic progress, be a United States citizen or an eligible non-citizen, be admitted to the University, and, in most cases, attend UWM on at least a half-time basis.
Financial aid falls into three broad categories, any or all of which may be offered to a student as part of his or her financial aid package: grants and scholarships (gift aid that does not need to be repaid), loans (money borrowed at low interest that must be repaid), and federal work-study (a program that provides employment opportunities for students). For details on grants, scholarships, student employment, and loans, please visit the various subsections of our website.
Student Employment Information. Many students work while attending college. Although some students, based on the results of their FAFSA, will be offered employment through the federal Work Study program, many more find employment on their own—both on and around campus.
Federal Tax Incentives. One of the best ways to increase the affordability of a college education is to take advantage of federal tax breaks aimed at families/students saving and paying for college. Additional information can be found on our website.
Installment Payment Plan. This plan is offered by the University through the Bursar’s Office to those who are unable to pay their bill in full (including any financial aid) by the first due date.Additional Loans/Resources
Many students (and often their parents) have no choice but to borrow. There are steps that can be taken to reduce the amount owed at graduation. To start, reduce your budget wherever possible. You may have heard the saying, “Live like a poor college student now so that you don’t have to live like one after you graduate.” Also, make sure you take full advantage of the Federal Direct Stafford Loan program before you take out any private loans. Additional information on the Direct Loan program can be found in the loan area of our website.
Parent PLUS Loan. A FAFSA must be completed before a Parent PLUS Loan can be certified. Parent PLUS Loans have a fixed interest rate of 7.9%. Parents must borrow this loan through the Federal Direct Loan program. A credit check is required.
Private Alternative Education Loans. These are private student loans, usually in the student’s name, which aren't guaranteed by the federal government. Some have fixed intrest rates, but most have variable rates that are typically tied to the prime rate or another benchmark. Rates range from about 6% to more than 14%. These loans should only be used as a last resort. Students usually need to apply with a co-signer. Not doing so generally means you will pay much higher rates or you might not be able to get a private loan at all.
Financial Aid Academic Progress Standards
University and federal regulations require that a student be making satisfactory academic progress (SAP) toward a degree to be eligible for financial aid. SAP consists of two components of measurement: qualitative and quantitative. A student's SAP is reviewed on a semester-by-semester basis.
Qualitative: Financial aid recipients are governed by the performance standards of the school or college in which they are enrolled. Failure to meet the required standards may make a student ineligible to continue enrollment, and therefore ineligible for financial aid.
Quantitative: Students will be expected to be making satisfactory "Pace" toward a degree by passing two-thirds, or 66.67%, of the classes they enroll in. Students' aid eligibility will be limited to 180 attempted credits for their first undergraduate degree. These new guidelines went into effect for the 2011-12 academic year. Students will be notified of their status under the new SAP standards shortly after grades are posted for each semester. For more information about the new SAP policy, please refer to the Academic Progress Standards page of our website.
- Time frame/maximum semesters of consideration for eligibility
- Minimum credit completion requirement per semester
- Quality of academic performance (GPA)
Students may be eligible for military educational benefits if the criteria are met under one of the programs listed: Post 9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Act of 2008, Montgomery GI Bill - Active Duty, Montgomery GI Bill - Selected Reserve, Veterans Educational Assistance Program, Vocational Rehabilitation, and Dependent Educational Assistance. Wisconsin veterans also may be eligible for educational assistance under the Veterans Education Grant Program and the Wisconsin G.I. Bill. The Wisconsin G.I. Bill also allows for tuition and fee waivers for eligible spouses and children of Wisconsin veterans who are deceased or 30 percent or more disabled. For detailed information about each program, please refer to the UW-Milwaukee Military Educational Benefits link on the financial aid website.
Members of the National Guard also may be eligible for tuition reimbursement under the National Guard Tuition Grant Program. Guard members should contact their unit for additional information on eligibility.
Members of the Reserves or students attending school while on active duty may be eligible for Federal Tuition Assistance to help with tuition costs.
To determine qualifications under these programs or to apply, contact the Veterans Affairs personnel in the Military Educational Benefits Office (located west of the Financial Aid Office) in Mellencamp Hall, Room 168A, by phone at (414) 229-6627, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rates. The base undergraduate fees/tuition rate for Wisconsin residents during the 2011-12 academic year was approximately $8,681 for a full-time (12-18 credits) student. The full-time rate for nonresidents was approximately $18,410. These tuition amounts do not include the differential tuition charged for some programs; additional special course fees for online/distance education classes; or special course fees related to materials, equipment rental or field trips. Consult the Schedule of Classes for the fee/tuition rates currently in effect.
Financial Obligation and University Credit Agreement.. Students make a financial commitment when registering for classes at UWM. All students are required to sign a University Credit Agreement. The University Credit Agreement is now available online from the Student Center (Home Page) in PAWS. Students can click on the Credit Agreement link located in the Finances section to view and complete the agreement.
Those who register prior to the start of classes must either 1) pay full fees/tuition; 2) have been awarded sufficient financial aid to cover their full fees/tuition; or 3) make the minimum payment by the tuition due date for the upcoming term (fall and spring terms only). Students who fail to satisfy their fee obligation by the due date may have their classes cancelled and will have to re-register during the late registration period. Those who choose to make the minimum payment will be placed on the Installment Payment Plan that permits the remaining balance to be paid in installments.
Students who have been awarded and have accepted sufficient financial aid by the due date to cover their full fees/tuition will not have to make the minimum payment. Students awarded financial aid for less than their full fees/tuition will need to pay their balance in full by the tuition due date or they will be placed on the Installment Payment Plan. Late aid applicants also will have to make the minimum payment (or pay their fees/tuition in full) to avoid cancellation.
Those students registering close to the tuition due date must make their minimum payment plus pay all outstanding financial obligations with a prior due date before they are allowed to register. Please see the Bursar's website (http://www.bfs.uwm.edu/DEPTS/AcctsRec.HTM) for the exact date requiring the minimum payment before registration is allowed. If you are only auditing classes and your full fee is less than $200, that full fee is due before being allowed to register. A "hold" preventing registration will be released within two hours after payments are posted to your PAWS account.
NOTE: It is recommended that students check their financial services account on PAWS to make sure they have no outstanding financial obligations with a prior due date. If there are charges with a prior due date, the minimum payment will be applied to those charges first. This may result in cancellation for nonpayment for the current semester.
Due Date. Payment is due on the date specified on the student PAWS account. For the fall semester, this will generally be during the third week of August, and for spring semester, during the second week of January. Failure to view PAWS does not negate student’s responsibility to pay by the due date.
Payments on PAWS. To review your account, view payment due dates, or make payments online, select the "Finances" option on PAWS at www.paws.uwm.edu. All PAWS charges may be paid with webCheck, an electronic check payment option. MasterCard and American Express credit cards also are accepted. A 2.5% convenience fee is charged for PAWS online credit card payment transactions. For more payment options, visit the Bursar's website at www.bfs.uwm.edu/DEPTS/AcctsRec.HTM.
Excess Credit Surcharge. University of Wisconsin System policy stipulates that undergraduate students who accumulate more than 165 total credits at UW System schools or Wisconsin technical colleges while working on their initial undergraduate degree may be subject to a 100% tuition surcharge. See Excess Credits Policy for additional information.
Installment Payment Plan. The Bursar's Office administers the Installment Payment Plan, primarily for students who do not have sufficient funds at the start of the semester to pay in full. For more information about the payment plan, contact the Bursar's Office, Mitchell 295, phone (414) 229-4914, or see the Bursar's Office website at www.bfs.uwm.edu/DEPTS/AcctsRec.HTM.
Cancellation for Nonpayment. As outlined above, students who register prior to the start of classes must make at least the minimum required payment by the due date to avoid cancellation of their classes. Students who re-register after cancellation or who register after the due date may also owe late registration and late payment fees. These students must pay the minimum before enrolling.
Withdrawal. A percentage of the fees/tuition assessed is charged for withdrawal beginning with the tuition due date. Nonattendance does not constitute withdrawal. Students who fail to formally withdraw in writing or drop all courses online via PAWS will remain responsible for full fees/tuition and will be subject to failing grades. In accordance with UW System policy, proof of withdrawal rests with the student.
Students' financial aid eligibility will be recalculated if they withdraw, are dismissed, or take a leave of absence prior to completing 60 percent of the semester. The recalculation is based on the equation "aid minus earned aid equals unearned aid." Unearned aid is returned to the funding source. When unearned aid for institutional costs is returned, students may incur a tuition, housing or food service balance with the University. If students need to repay unearned aid for noninstitutional costs, they will be contacted by the Department of Financial Aid.
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