Financial aid is electronically applied to your university account. You can confirm this via the Account Activity link in your PAWS Self Service.

Financial Aid disbursement begins 10 days before the first day of the semester. If you are counting on excess financial aid to purchase books and supplies, please make sure to submit all requested paperwork in a timely fashion and keep an eye on your UWM e-mail. Additionally, be sure your mailing address on PAWS is correct and up to date. These things combined should ensure you receive funds with ample time to make your purchases prior to the first day of classes.

Disbursement Checklist

To have your aid applied to your balance the week before classes begin, you must:

  1. Accept any offered financial aid you wish to receive.
  2. Be enrolled full-time -or- notify us if you will be enrolled for less than twelve credits as an undergraduate. It can take 2-3 weeks for adjustments to be made, so notify us early to receive your aid on time. Graduate students enrolled in less than eight credits no longer have to notify us; as long as they are enrolled in at least four graduate credits, we will adjust our records to match enrollment shortly before disbursement begins.
  3. Have completed any loan counseling and/or promissory note requirements. Both Direct Loan Entrance Loan Counseling and Direct Loan Master Promissory Notes should be completed online at  Check your PAWS To-Do List for details on other loan requirements.
  4. Still meet all eligibility requirements.

Disbursement Details

  • Disbursement continues every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday night for the rest of the academic year.
  • It is your responsibility to monitor your UWM email and your PAWS To-Do List if your aid has not disbursed.
    • Dissertator students—if you are utilizing financial aid, you are encouraged to complete your Application for Doctoral Dissertator status as soon as eligible. If your dissertator status has not been reviewed and updated in PAWS prior to the start of disbursement, please be aware that your financial aid award will likely need to be adjusted and may result in you having to return financial aid funds previously provided. If you expect you will obtain dissertator status by the term add/drop deadline, it is advisable that you ask for the lower dissertator rate to prevent the subsequent return of funds.  Please review the dissertator status policy.

In late July, you will receive an email telling you to view your university bill for the following Fall semester via your PAWS account. Please read the email carefully but also select “View Billing Statement” via your PAWS account which provides a real-time Statement of Account.

Once charges have been assessed, your Statement of Account will reflect your total charges and will subtract your anticipated aid.  If you owe the university, you may pay the difference by the due date or enroll in the installment payment plan. All questions related to billing should be addressed to Student Financial Services, (414) 229-4541, or email

Please note that only aid accepted via PAWS will be reflected in your “Anticipated Aid” amountAlso, because Federal Work-Study requires a work component and students are paid bi-weekly, this is not considered “Anticipated Aid.”

What Happens Next

You may or may not have been offered enough financial assistance to pay for your university charges and other educational expenses.

  • If you have been offered aid for a semester that is more than what you owe the university that semester, the Office of Student Accounts will process your excess/refund. This happens approximately two days after the credit (excess) balance is reflected on your account—but no earlier than the week before classes begin. DIRECT DEPOSIT IS NOW AVAILABLE!! To sign up for Direct Deposit (ACH) refunds please visit: you have not signed up for Direct Deposit, a check will be mailed to your PAWS mailing address.

If you wish to purchase books before your aid disburses, you may need to purchase them using your own funds and reimburse yourself if you have excess financial aid.  For information on the UWM Virtual Bookstore, visit Books by eCampus.  The Office of Student Accounts does provide emergency short-term book loans.  Once approved, please allow approximately 3 days for the check to be available. A member of the Office of Student Accounts will email you when the check is available for pickup.

If your charges have not been assessed yet, the Total Cost Estimator may help you determine whether you will have an excess cash check or balance due.