How do I use Financial Aid to cover rental expenses?

Many students come to college on financial aid whether it be scholarships, grants, or loans. It is important to know when financial aid disburses and that financial aid is only able to be disbursed directly to the student or University expenses like tuition and fees. The University will never disburse aid to an outside entity.

Landlords will often request proof of financial aid if a student plans to use this for rental expenses, but keep in mind that financial aid is not dispersed until 10 days before the start of the school year.

In the PAWS Student Center, students can find a link to their College Financing Plan. This form includes an estimate of what tuition will be as well as the total Grants and Loans for the school year. Students should be able to show a landlord this to explain that they have been offered aid in excess of what their tuition will be and plan to use this to pay renting expenses.

Students can also use the Onestop website which is a Total Cost Estimator. Here students can work through their own individual costs, add in their aid, and have the information emailed to them. The email they receive will show how much ‘extra’ they will have to use for other expenses. *It is important to keep in mind that the Onestop calculator only calculates expenses for the 9-month Fall and Spring semester periods and most leases are 12-months in length. Students will need to plan to have rent expenses covered for 12 months.

If you and your landlord are agreeing to utilize financial aid funds to pay security deposit and first months rent once it is disbursed, it is highly recommended you get this agreement in writing, outlining all of the details of the agreement to avoid facing eviction for unpaid rent and fees. The University Legal Clinic can help provide you with a written document both you and your landlord can sign and keep with your lease agreement.

If students have any questions related to financial aid, they should email the Financial Aid Office, finaid@uwm.edu