Apply for Financial Aid
If at any time during the Financial Aid process you don’t understand your next steps, or if you have general questions, contact the Financial Aid Office.
Start by going to fafsa.gov. If you completed a FAFSA last year, you will need to login using an FSA ID. If this is your first time, you will be given the opportunity to create an FSA ID once you begin completing the FAFSA. Once you get to the School Selection screen, enter the school code 003896 for UWM.
The FAFSA is free to complete and takes about 30 minutes. You can save an application in progress and finish later. If you need help, you can contact the Financial Aid Office or browse Department of Education resources here.
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool lets you import your tax return information directly from the IRS website to your FAFSA, which makes the filing process easier. If you are unable to use the IRS DRT, be sure to use the correct federal income tax year while completing your FAFSA. For the 2017-18 academic year, be sure to use your 2015 federal tax information.
After you’ve submitted your FAFSA, you can log in to fafsa.gov with your FSA ID to check the status. Within 3-10 days of submitting, the Department of Education will send your Student Aid Report, or SAR, to you and the UWM Financial Aid Office.
Since the Financial Aid Office will use your SAR to determine your financial need, you should look it over carefully and check for errors. You can make corrections at fafsa.gov.
Check your PAWS To Do List and UWM Email Address frequently, because you may have to provide additional information or participate in FAFSA Verification before your award can be processed. Once your information is complete, processing in the Financial Aid Office takes at least 3 to 4 weeks.
If you have been selected for Verification, you will receive an email from the Financial Aid Office asking you to complete the items in your PAWS To Do List. It will also be mentioned on your Student Aid Report (SAR).
If your PAWS To Do List includes a request for tax transcripts, you can return to your Student Aid Report at fafsa.gov and transfer your tax return information using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. If you aren’t able to use the Tool, you can request an official tax return transcript from the IRS.
Financial Aid Eligibility
It’s important to understand your responsibilities as a student before and after you’ve accepted financial aid. You can review the Financial Aid Student Rights and Responsibilities page online for more information.
Contact the Financial Aid Office if you have questions about your eligibility.
- You need to be a current UWM student
- You need to be a US citizen or eligible non-citizen and have a valid Social Security number
- If you are a male, ages 18-25, you need to be registered with the Selective Service
- You cannot be in default on a federal loan
Most aid sources require you to be half-time, which is defined by the Financial Aid Office as six or more credits for undergraduates and four or more credits for graduate students. The Financial Aid Office maintains a complete list of requirements for being offered, receiving, and accepting aid.
- Complete your program within a defined time frame: Undergraduates have 150% of the standard 120 credit time frame (or 180 credits), Graduate students have 200% of their published program credits
- Make PACE by passing a percentage of credits attempted: Undergraduates must pass two thirds (66.67%), Graduate students must pass half (50%)
- Maintain a 2.0 Grade Point Average or any GPA requirement of your school or college by the time you are a Junior
You can review the Undergraduate and Graduate Satisfactory Academic Progress policies for the full list of requirements. If you’re ever not making Satisfactory Academic Progress, or if you’re getting close to the maximum time frame allowed, the Financial Aid Office will send a notification to your UWM Email Address.
Keep in mind that most financial aid awards require you to maintain half-time enrollment status. The Financial Aid Office defines half-time as six or more credits for undergraduates and four or more credits for graduate students.
All classes you are enrolled in on the Census Date will count as attempted credits whether you pass them or not. To make Satisfactory Academic Progress, undergraduates using financial aid can attempt up to 180 credits. All students are sent an email with details on the importance of the Census Date shortly after each semester begins.
The requirement for Title IV Financial Aid program funds when you withdraw are separate from the tuition refund policy that UWM has in place. While completing more than 60% of the semester will allow you to keep all of your aid, you will also be charged 100% of your tuition for the semester. Please reference the Registrar’s Add/Drop Calendar for the tuition refund policy prior to determining if you will drop classes before or after completing 60% of the semester. Satisfactory Academic Progress will be based on all credits you are enrolled in past the tenth day of classes.
Always work with your Academic Advisor before attempting to withdraw on your own.
Receiving Your Aid
If you have any trouble accepting or declining your awards, or completing additional steps, contact the Financial Aid Office for assistance.
- Log in to PAWS
- Under the yellow Finances header, click on the blue Accept/Decline Awards link
- Select the aid year of the current award (you can also view previous years)
- On the Award Package page, click the name of the award in blue to view important program details
- Select the boxes to either Accept or Decline each individual award
- To accept a lower amount, check the Accept box first which will allow you to enter a lower amount in the Accepted field
- Click the SUBMIT button when you’re done
- Once submitted, click the blue Account Inquiry link to view your Pending Financial Aid by term
Keep in mind that all aid is offered and accepted for the entire year. University charges are assessed shortly before each semester begins.
The Master Promissory Note, or MPN, is a legal document that the borrower of the loan signs as a promise to repay any loans and interest. Go to studentloans.gov to sign the MPN electronically using the FSA ID. If you have trouble navigating the studentloans.gov website, or if you have questions about first time borrowing, contact the Financial Aid Office.
To understand how a student loan impacts their finances, new borrowers also have to complete an online module called Entrance Loan Counseling. Exit Loan Counseling is also required when you graduate or leave school. Log in to studentloans.gov to complete the counseling modules.
Take the time to review your bill so that you understand the charges that your financial aid has covered. This may include tuition, room and meal plan charges, and fees.
If you still have a PAWS account balance after Financial Aid Disbursement, you are responsible for paying the balance. This amount will be placed on the Installment Plan with new due dates. If you need assistance with paying the remaining amount, you’re encouraged to review the “Additional Financial Resources” section from the most current edition of the Financial Aid Handbook.
Once your financial aid has been posted to your PAWS account, it will credit room, meal plan charges, and tuition and fee balances. You will be able to see these amounts as well as a refund date by clicking Account Inquiry in the drop down menu under the yellow Finances header in PAWS.
I’m New to Financial Aid
If you have never applied for financial aid before, the most important things to consider are how much you need and what types of aid are available to you.
If your cost is beyond what you can afford, you can estimate what you might get before you apply using the Financial Aid Office’s Net Price Calculator or the FAFSA4caster on fafsa.gov. These online tools use a formula created by the Federal Government to suggest a dollar amount you might expect to receive.
Whether you need aid or not, you should complete the FAFSA to see what awards you might be eligible to receive. If you have trouble using the calculators or need assistance figuring out your total cost, contact the Financial Aid Office.
You can review scholarships offered by UWM and the different Schools and Colleges here as well as several websites that you can browse for free scholarship searches. Just remember, you should never have to pay to obtain a scholarship.
When you apply for scholarships, be professional, showcase your strengths, and apply early for anything for which you qualify.
Your eligibility for most grant programs is determined by your FAFSA results, so it’s important to complete the FAFSA early and accurately.
A loan is federal or private funding that must be repaid. A Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed each year to be evaluated for most loan assistance. A minimum enrollment status of half-time (undergraduate 6 credits/graduate 4 credits) is required to participate in most loan programs. Students enrolled less than half time may have private educational loan options.
Once your loan funds have disbursed, you’ll receive information from your Loan Servicer. They will be your main contact for making payments, qualifying for loan deferments, loan balance inquiries, and any other questions specific to your loan. If you have general questions about loans, you can contact the Financial Aid Office.
In addition to grants and loans, filing a FAFSA allows the Financial Aid Office to determine if you qualify to earn income through the Federal Work Study program. Federal Work Study is for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need. Many UWM students find regular employment both on and around campus. However, due to limited program funding, work-study is awarded to approximately 500 UWM students. Federal Work-Study recipients are not assigned to a Work-Study job. Students must apply to the employer for any of the job titles that interest them. Jobs are posted on the PantherJobs database on the Career Planning and Resource Center website.