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. While the Nurse Faculty Loan and Private Educational Loans do not require a FAFSA, submitting an application is strongly recommended to ensure that students are first taking advantage of the best financial aid programs.

The minimum enrollment status required is half-time (undergraduate 6 credits/graduate 4 credits) to participate in most loan programs. Students enrolled less than half time may have private educational loan options.

Federal Loans

Several federal loans require students to complete counseling and promissory notes in order to receive the funds. Learn more about those processes: Federal Loan Counseling and Promissory Notes

There are several different federally funded loans available to students. Learn more about the specifics of each below.

Federal Direct Loans (Includes Subsidized, Unsubsidized, and PLUS loans)

Direct Loans are low-interest loans for students and parents to help pay for the cost of a student’s education after high school. The lender is the U.S. Department of Education. In order to be offered a Direct Loan, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each academic year.

The Direct Loan Program offers the following types of loans:

Federal Direct Subsidized Loan
Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan
Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan
Federal Direct Graduate PLUS Loan

Direct Loan Eligibility Chart

The chart below shows the annual and aggregate loan limits for a Federal Direct loan. Annual loan limits are based on financial need and grade level. Aggregate loan limits are the lifetime maximum amounts a borrower is eligible to borrow for their academic career. A dependent undergraduate student whose parent is denied a Direct Parent PLUS loan becomes eligible for independent undergraduate student loan limits for that academic year.

 Dependent Undergraduate Student (except students whose parents are unable to obtain a PLUS loan)Independent Undergraduate Student (and dependent students whose parents are unable to obtain a PLUS loan)
Freshmen$5,500 (no more than $3,500 may be in Subsidized loans)$9,500 (no more than $3,500 may be in Subsidized loans)
Sophomores$6,500 (no more than $4,500 may be in Subsidized loans)$10,500 (no more than $4,500 may be in Subsidized loans)
Juniors and Seniors$7,500 (no more than $5,500 may be in Subsidized loans)$12,500 (no more than $5,500 may be in Subsidized loans)
Aggregate Undergraduate Loan Limits$31,000 (no more than $23,000 may be in Subsidized loans)$57,500 (no more than $23,000 may be in Subsidized loans)
Graduate Student Annual Unsubsidized Loan Maximum$20,500
Graduate Student Aggregate Loan Limits$138,500 (no more than $65,500 may be in subsidized loans). This limit includes Federal Loans received for undergraduate study.

All borrowers are strongly encouraged to review their federal loan indebtedness each school year. The U.S. Department of Education’s website is the central database for federal student aid. It provides information such as the type(s) of loans you have taken out, the outstanding principal and interest amounts, the total amount of all your loans, and who your loan servicer is. You will need your FSA ID to sign in to review your financial aid history. Once you log in, you will be able to see your loan detail in your personal dashboard. This website only has information about your federal student loans—private loans are not included.

For an estimate of your monthly loan payments after you graduate, take a look at the Department of Education’s loan simulator.

Federal Perkins Loan

This program was eliminated as of October 1, 2017.  If you have questions on repaying a Federal Perkins Loan received for attendance at UWM, contact the Office of Student Accounts at 414-229-4914 or in Mellencamp Hall Room 110.

Federal Nursing Student Loan

This loan is offered to students seeking a degree in nursing.

Requirements and Details:

  • Must be a junior, senior, second-degree candidate, or a graduate student pursuing a degree in nursing.
  • Based on financial need.
  • The annual interest rate is 5% and is deferred while enrolled at least half-time in the School of Nursing. Half-time enrollment is at least 6 credits for undergraduates and 4 credits for graduates.
  • Amounts range from $200-$5,000 per academic year.
  • Repayment begins 9 months after the borrower graduates, leaves the School of Nursing, or drops below half-time status. A minimum payment of $120 per quarter is required with a maximum repayment period of 10 years.
  • The repayment process of this loan is handled through the Office of Student Accounts. They are available at 414-229-4914 or in Mellencamp Hall Room 110 for any questions.
  • Students offered a Federal Nursing Loan must complete additional disclosures and a promissory note each time a new loan is accepted. Students must first accept the loan via their PAWS account before promissory notes become available for completion.
  • Beginning in June, if the loan has been accepted, a ‘Nursing MPN’ will appear as a TO DO item on PAWS. An email from ECSI (our third-party servicer) with instructions that include the URL to their website as well as login information will be sent to borrowers. If the email from ECSI isn’t received, borrowers should contact ECSI Customer Service at 1-888-549-3274 to get the URL and login information. An FSA ID is needed to sign electronically.
Minority Teacher Loan

The Minority Teacher Loan is a loan for Wisconsin residents seeking teaching degrees. Eligible minorities are African American, American Indian, Hispanic, and South-East Asian (Hmong, citizens or descendants of Laos, Cambodia, or Vietnam admitted to the U.S. after December 31, 1975). This loan program is administered by the Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board (HEAB). Based on certain employment criteria, 100% of the loan can be forgiven. Eligible students will be identified and have applications mailed to them.

Additional Requirements:

  • Must be a first-degree sophomore, junior, or senior enrolled at least half-time (6 credits).
  • Enrolled in a program of study leading to a teacher’s license in a discipline identified as a teacher shortage area for this state by the Federal Department of Education.
    • Teacher Shortage Areas for the state of Wisconsin:
      • English as a Second Language
      • Bilingual Education
      • Foreign Languages
      • Mathematics
      • Science
      • Special Education
        • Cognitive Disabilities
        • Cross Categorical
        • Deaf and Hard of Hearing
        • Early Childhood-Special Education
        • Emotional/Behavioral Disorders
        • Learning Disabilities
        • School Speech and Language Disabilities
        • Visual Disabilities
  • 3.0 or higher GPA.
  • Terms of Forgiveness – Employed in a public or private elementary or secondary school in the city of Milwaukee as a full-time teacher in the high-demand area related to the recipient’s program of study. The loan recipient must receive a rating of proficient or distinguished on the educator effectiveness system or the equivalent in a school that does not use the educator effectiveness system.
  • Borrowers ineligible for loan forgiveness will begin repayment six months after graduating, leaving school, or dropping below half-time enrollment. Repayment must be completed within 10 years of the date repayment begins. For questions regarding repayment, please contact Joy Dyer (HEAB), 608-267-2212.
Nurse Faculty Loan

The Nurse Faculty Loan Program (NFLP), sponsored by the US Department of Health and Human Services, is available to nursing doctoral students interested in becoming nurse educators. Following graduation from the nursing program, up to 85 percent of the borrowers’ loan principal and interest will be canceled in exchange for the loan recipient’s service as a full-time nursing faculty member at a school of nursing.


  • Must make a commitment to stay in the NFLP program for the duration of the academic program and graduate. May only borrow money for five years.
  • Doctoral students taking classes must be enrolled in six or more credits for at least two consecutive semesters each year in which the loan funds are received. Although a leave of absence is allowed, it must be documented.
  • Must take at least two education courses from a list of approved courses.
  • Expected to obtain full-time employment as a nurse educator in a school/college of nursing after graduation. Must serve as a full-time nurse faculty for a consecutive four-year period to cancel the maximum amount which is 85% of the unpaid loan balance.


  • Eligible students and amounts are determined by the College of Nursing.
  • Loans are typically offered in August.
  • Ph.D. dissertators can enroll in 3 credits.
  • Upon completion of each of the first, second, and third year of full-time employment, 20% of the principal and interest on the unpaid loan balance may be canceled. Upon completion of the fourth year of full-time employment, 25% of the unpaid loan balance may be canceled. The remaining 15% unpaid loan balance will bear interest at a rate of 3%.
  • Given 12 months from graduation date to find employment as a full-time nursing faculty. The repayment of the loan begins nine months after graduation. If employment verification is not submitted within the 12-month period, students will not be eligible for the NFLP loan cancellation provision.
  • The loan interest rate is 3%. However, if students fail to complete the course of study or fulfill the obligation to obtain full-time employment as a nurse faculty following graduation from the program, the loan will bear interest on the unpaid balance at the prevailing market rate. Historically these rates have averaged about 10% to 15%.
  • Students will need to sign a promissory note and a letter of rights and responsibilities for each year that they borrow from the NFLP. After accepting the loan, information regarding the promissory note will be provided via the PAWS to-do list.

Private Loans

Private/Alternative loans are not subsidized by the government and are subject to lender approval including a credit check. Many lending institutions offer a variety of private/alternative loan programs. Not sure if a private loan is for you? Compare PLUS and Private Loans side by side.

What is a Private Loan?

View Private loan information: What is a Private Loan

Private Loan Details and Eligibility
  • Require enrollment at an eligible post-secondary institution.
  • Filing a FAFSA is strongly suggested as most students will qualify for a Federal Direct Loan which generally offers better loan terms. If you apply for a private loan before we receive the results of a FAFSA for you, you will be sent an email encouraging you to submit a FAFSA. If you have no intention of filing a FAFSA, please let us know.
  • Consider only after all other financing options have been exhausted.
  • Borrowing for less than half-time enrollment will be limited to tuition/fees, books, and transportation.
  • Borrowing for a past term will be limited to the exact amount of the balance due for that term.
  • Students may use these loans to cover educational expenses up to the cost of attendance minus all other financial assistance.
  • For more information on private loan search tips, please view the Private Preferred Lender Arrangement.
  • Your lender will require you to complete a Private Loan Self-Certification Form as part of your application. This form will be provided to you through your lender, but you can also print a copy and obtain additional information here: Loan Self-Certification Information.
  • It will take approximately two weeks to receive funds after school certification.
  • You should start applying about 90 days before the start of your requested semester. Applying earlier may put you at risk of your credit check expiring before the loan can be processed. Applying late may create a delay in your disbursement.
  • UWM adheres to the UW System Student Lending Policy.
  • You may borrow from any lender you choose and are not restricted to this list. To apply for a private loan not listed, you will need to apply directly with that lender.

Your lender will provide you with a Loan Self-Certification Form that you will have to complete as part of the application.

Private Loan Selecting a Lender

Trying to select the lender that is best for you can seem overwhelming. UWM provides a tool, FASTChoice, which allows students to compare and research several lenders’ terms and conditions prior to applying for a private loan. The list reflects the top ten most utilized lenders at UWM within the past two years that provide a competitive product, value exceptional customer service and inclusivity, offer online processing, and are able to guaranty, disburse, and accept refunds via electronic funds transfer (EFT) through ScholarNet which helps borrowers receive their funds in a timely manner. The lenders also use ScholarNet to provide UWM with detailed loan record information in order for us to provide borrowers with the most accurate information concerning their accounts. This list is re-evaluated annually. Students may borrow from any lender and are not restricted to this list. UWM encourages all students to complete the FAFSA in order to be considered for all Federal and State aid programs that may be more favorable than provisions of private education loans.

Disclosures for lenders listed on UWM’s preferred lender list are located in FASTChoice. You will find individual lender disclosures by selecting one or more lenders within FASTChoice and selecting compare. Under the loan rates and fees section of each lender, select the View 10K Disclosure link, which will direct you to the appropriate disclosure form.

Click the link below to begin researching the best option for yourself.

Minnesota Residents (SELF Loan)

The SELF loan program, unique to Minnesota, is an educational alternative/private loan provided by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. You are strongly encouraged to exhaust all eligibility for federal aid programs before you consider this program.

  • Minnesota residents attending UWM are eligible to apply.
  • Loan amounts depend on grade level.
  • For details visit SELF Loan.
  • All SELF applications are certified by the school and require a completed application by a credit-worthy co-signer.
  • IMPORTANT!!! The SELF loan does not offer a grace period or deferment options to borrowers.