The following policies apply to all scholarships awarded by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and its schools, colleges, departments, and areas.

Policies for Students


What students submit in the Panther Scholarship Portal must be authentic, accurate, and written by the student.

  • Students may not plagiarize, falsify information, commit forgery, or otherwise make a knowingly false oral or written statement as part of the scholarship process.
  • No other individual (including family members) may compose or submit any information in the Panther Scholarship Portal on behalf of the student.
  • Students may not use any form of artificial intelligence technology (e.g., ChatGPT) to generate information they submit as part of scholarship applications or post-acceptance supplemental questions. The use of AI technology to refine a student’s original writing is acceptable.

Students who violate this policy may be reported to the Dean of Students Office for non-academic misconduct. If the student has been selected to receive a scholarship and is later found to have violated this policy, the scholarship may be rescinded by the sole discretion of the awarding unit.


Most scholarships have minimum criteria. The most common include a minimum grade point average (GPA), full-time enrollment, and the completion of a minimum number of total hours for the year.

Recipients are required to satisfy the eligibility criteria at both the time of recipient selection and throughout the duration of the award period. Recipients who do not satisfy the eligibility criteria for the duration of the award period may have their scholarship rescinded in the affected terms.

Grade Point Average (GPA), when stated as a minimum criterion for renewable scholarships, is reviewed annually following the conclusion of the spring term. Awarding units may elect to review GPA on a more frequent basis (e.g., following every fall/spring semester).

Good Standing must be maintained to remain eligible for most scholarships at UWM. 


Full-time enrollment in fall/spring terms is defined as 12 or more credits for undergraduate/associate students. The definition for graduate students varies by school/college/program and student status (e.g., dissertator).

  • Concurrent enrollment at another institution may not satisfy the full-time requirement for a UWM scholarship.
  • Students in their final graduating semester may request permission from the awarding unit to enroll less than full-time. If approved, the scholarship amount may be prorated to reflect enrollment.

Part-time enrollment is defined as fewer than 12 credits for undergraduate/associate students. The definition for graduate students varies by school/college/program and student status (e.g., dissertator).

Official enrollment for each term occurs at 11:59 PM on the tenth day of classes (“census date”). Students who do not satisfy enrollment requirements as of the census date will have their scholarships rescinded. If it becomes necessary for a scholarship recipient to drop below full-time status or fully withdraw after the census date, the scholarship may be rescinded. Please see the Rescission and Cancellation Policy for additional information.

Having a scholarship rescinded due to not satisfying enrollment requirements constitutes a break in continuous scholarship eligibility; the current and all subsequent terms of the affected scholarship(s) will be cancelled and ineligible for reinstatement. 

Rescission and Cancellation

Having a scholarship be rescinded or cancelled means the student may not receive the scholarship in future terms and is ineligible for renewal.

Recipients who neglect to satisfy the eligibility/enrollment requirements before the 60% point in the term and as a result have their scholarship rescinded/cancelled will be required to return the scholarship dollars to UWM for that term, regardless of when the rescission/cancellation occurs.

Recipients who first neglect to satisfy the eligibility/enrollment requirements after the 60% point in the term and as a result have their scholarship rescinded/cancelled may be permitted, at the sole discretion of the awarding unit, to retain the scholarship dollars for that term.

Having a scholarship rescinded constitutes a break in continuous scholarship eligibility; the current and all subsequent terms of the affected scholarship(s) will be cancelled and ineligible for reinstatement.

Determining Need

For scholarship purposes, “having need” is a general concept that is answered as “yes” or “no” based on the results of the FAFSA or UWM’s non-FAFSA Need Worksheet.

For eligible domestic students, UWM determines whether an applicant has financial need at the time of scholarship awarding based on results from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

For international, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and other ineligible non-citizen students, applicants may complete and submit UWM’s non-FAFSA Need Worksheet when they submit the Panther Scholarship Portal General Application.

Funding Availability

All scholarship offers are subject to available funding; offer values may vary due to the amount of funding or the number of eligible applicants. 

Taxable Income

Scholarships may be taxable as determined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

International Student Payments

Due to U.S. tax regulations, non-resident aliens (i.e., international students) often must be paid scholarship dollars via the payroll process. When this is true, the recipient will receive instructions about the process and the corresponding software program, Glacier, from the awarding unit.

Due to the tax treaty between the U.S. and the student’s home country, the recipient may not receive the full amount of their scholarship because it has been taxed as income.

Students who are sent instructions for the Glacier process have 60 days from the date of the email to complete the necessary steps to receive payment. Students who do not complete the necessary steps within 60 days will have their scholarship award taxed at the rate of 30%.

Policies for Departments

When paying a student, it is important to ensure the payment is classified correctly to comply with federal and state regulations, UWM policies, and donor intent. UWM makes every effort to maximize a student’s funding opportunities, and, in most cases, it will be easy to provide financial support to students. There will be situations, however, when a department wants to provide funds or cover expenses, but doing so will necessitate the reduction of another resource due to limitations prescribed in regulations for federal aid recipients. UWM strives to comply with the intent of donors when administering funds to students. However, donor intent, no matter how specific or strongly worded, may not supersede the university’s obligation to meet federal and state financial aid rules and IRS or other regulations. When requirements conflict with each other, the most stringent of applicable rules prevails regardless of the funding source for payments to students.

How to Pay a Student

At UWM, the most common ways to provide funds to students are as follows. It is important to understand which method is correct for each set of circumstances to facilitate accurate treatment and reporting for both the student and the university.

  • Via the Student Information System (SIS). This method is used for awards issued to support the student’s direct education and education-related expenses (generally scholarships/fellowships, grants, and prizes). UWM’s current SIS is PAWS.
  • Via payroll. This method is used when compensation is provided to a student for services performed (i.e., employment).

It is not appropriate to circumvent these systems to provide compensation or other funding through other means.

The majority of institutional funds made available to students should be awarded in the Student Information System (SIS). This facilitates proper internal and external reporting and ensures compliance with IRS rules and the requirement that any educational benefits paid to a student, regardless of the source, be considered in the determination of eligibility for federal financial aid. “Financial aid” includes student loans.

Institutional/department funds for students that are not wages and not loans are considered scholarships or fellowships and must be awarded or accounted for in the SIS. See the Definitions Policy below for additional information.

Panther Scholarship Portal

At UWM, regardless of the award name, departmental aid is awarded via the Panther Scholarship Portal, which syncs to the SIS. The Portal is UWM’s universal system for student financial awards issued by the university (as opposed to the federal/state government). This includes scholarships, fellowships, stipends, retention grants, emergency grants, CGSAs, travel awards, etc. Utilizing the Portal creates a cohesive, consistent experience for students and ensures the appropriate workflow and data points are captured in the process of offers, acceptances, approvals, and disbursements. The Portal ultimately syncs data to the SIS for disbursement.

Official offers of scholarships and other awards that fall under this umbrella term must occur via the Panther Scholarship Portal. Admission letters or other communications that reference a scholarship offer should indicate that the official offer is forthcoming from the Panther Scholarship Portal.

The only exception to Portal use is payments related to employment, including teaching, research, and project assistantships (TA/RA/PA).


  • Award: Generic term for funds for students. All financial aid falls under this definition.
  • Departmental Aid: Institutional financial aid or awards for students made at the discretion of an individual department, usually an academic unit. This may include UWM Foundation or other funds awarded to students by the unit.
  • Emergency Grant: A scholarship awarded for non-tuition emergent student needs, regardless of the funding source or name of the award.
  • Fellowship: Gift aid awarded to graduate and professional students. This term is synonymous with scholarship. Nearly all fellowships awarded by UWM’s academic units (i.e., schools and colleges) fall under this definition.
  • Fellowship Stipend (Graduate School): Gift aid awarded by the Graduate School to graduate and professional students. A fellowship stipend is typically paired with a tuition remission/waiver and accompanied by an offer of human resource benefits (e.g., health insurance) and a travel stipend. If the fellow is receiving human resource benefits from UWM but is not required to perform a service for the university, funds must be paid via payroll. Nearly all fellowships awarded by UWM’s Graduate School fall under this definition.
  • Retention Grant: A scholarship awarded to assist with a student’s UWM balance (direct university charges) to support persistence, regardless of the funding source or name of the award.
  • Scholarship: Gift aid for undergraduate or graduate students, regardless of the funding source or name of the award, given to aid a student’s study, training, research, and education-related expenses when there is no requirement for the student to perform a service for the university.
  • Stipend: Gift aid awarded to support graduate and professional students’ pursuit of their studies. If offered in exchange for work/service, a stipend is considered compensation and must be paid via payroll. If offered when there is no requirement for the student to perform a service for the university, this term is synonymous with scholarship, and funds must be paid via the SIS.
  • Student: A person seeking a degree or other educational credential at UWM. A student ceases to be a student upon graduation or official separation from UWM. A student who is not enrolled in the summer but has not graduated is still a student.
  • Student Information System: The computer software (currently PeopleSoft, called “PAWS”) used by UWM to process, display, and store student admissions, registration, bursar, and financial aid data.
  • Third-Party Billing: For entities external to UWM (not UWM departments) wishing to apply awards directly to tuition and/or fees. Additional information is available on the Billing & Payments page.
  • Tuition Remission: When a UWM department pays tuition costs for an eligible student (e.g., a Graduate Assistant). Additional information is available from the Graduate School and on the Billing & Payments page.
  • Tuition Waiver: When the university forgives tuition costs for an eligible student.

Federal Aid and Award Limitations

Federal regulations under the Higher Education Act of 1965 require institutions to monitor and limit total financial resources awarded to students receiving federal financial aid (including grants, need-based employment, and loans).

  • Federal aid recipients cannot have total resources in excess of their cost of attendance (COA). The COA, therefore, represents a cap on total funding.
  • Federal aid recipients with aid based on financial need cannot have need-based funds in excess of the calculated financial need. Financial need is defined as the difference between the COA and the Student Aid Index (SAI) and the student’s Other Financial Assistance (OFA). The SAI is calculated for each student who completes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • An ‘over-award’ occurs when the student receives more aid than he or she is eligible to receive. This may be need-based aid in excess of need, total resources in excess of COA, or both. UWM is required to resolve all over-awards.
  • Student-Athletes should refer to the Student-Athlete Handbook for limitations and questions about their athletic aid.

Departmental Funds

  • It is the awarding department’s responsibility to monitor expenditures from their accounts including funds awarded, disbursed, adjusted, or cancelled.
  • If funds were donated, awarded as part of a grant, or have any spending restrictions, the department selecting recipients is responsible for ensuring compliance with donor intent or other awarding constraints.
  • Recipients of scholarships, fellowships, and fee remissions should be informed that institutional financial aid will be taken into consideration when the Financial Aid Office determines eligibility for funds from other sources, including federal loans.
  • In many cases, departmental aid will not impact the student’s other aid when processed through the SIS. If other aid must be adjusted to accommodate new funds, loans will typically be reduced first. Lessening a student’s education loan debt is a positive outcome.
  • Processing departmental aid without an SIS entry to record funds or through any other process that circumvents SIS recording could result in financial aid over-awards and potential penalties and fines for the university.

Timing and the Order of Awards

  • Scholarships, fellowships, or fee remissions processed after UWM creates financial aid packages may result in a reduction of aid previously offered, so it is best to make awards before UWM determines eligibility for other funds. Contact the Office of Student Scholarships for the dates by which your awards should be made, for new and returning students, for both the academic year and summer to reduce confusion and frustration.
  • Regardless of when an award is entered in SIS, or when the student needs the funds, aid must be attributed in the SIS to the enrollment period it is intended to cover even if that period has ended or has not yet begun.

Expectation of Service for an Award

  • It is not appropriate to pay a student with a scholarship if the recipient is required to perform a service that benefits the university. If the student is working in any capacity for a specified number of hours with campus supervision, scheduling, or oversight, this is work, and compensation should be made in the form of wages, and taxed as such.


Most prizes awarded to students for winning a contest or drawing are scholarships and must be processed as such. It does not matter what the “winnings” are called or where funding came from.

Winnings must be considered as a scholarship or fellowship if any of the following conditions apply:

  • Eligibility to participate in the contest or drawing is restricted to students, OR
  • The recipient is required to use the prize for educational purposes, OR
  • The contest or drawing is related to the student’s university courses or degree completion.

When the prize awarded for winning the contest or drawing can be used for educational purposes or to pay for expenses included in the student’s cost of attendance, the value of the item must be recorded as a scholarship in the SIS. Items that cannot be used for educational purposes are not recorded in the SIS, but value limits must be in accordance with Universities of Wisconsin policies.

If you are awarding prizes to students for contests or drawings and none of the conditions listed above apply, the prize is not treated as a scholarship. The prize is includable as taxable income to the winner under IRS regulations, even if the winner is a student. Consult your divisional finance officer regarding how to pay the student.