Fall Financial Aid FAQs

The current plan is to have the Fall 2020 charges assessed beginning July 31. By early the following week, you’ll be able to see a future balance due, and you’ll likely have some questions. Here are some of our FAQs!

What do I owe?

You will be sent an email and a paper bill from the Bursar Office with details on your fall semester payment. Those will go in the mail around August 5. Please read all emails and billing statements carefully. Billing statements for fall can also be viewed on PAWS for all registered students.

It is very important that you select “View Billing Statement” (shown below) which takes into account anticipated financial aid. DO NOT SIMPLY LOOK AT THE ACCOUNT SUMMARY.

Watch this video if you’d like a more detailed walkthrough of how to read your billing statement.

  • If the amount of anticipated aid is LESS than the amount owed, you will have a balance due to the university. As long as you have anticipated aid of at least $100, OR made a minimum payment of $100 or more, any remaining balance due will be moved to the Installment Plan (there is no paperwork for you to complete). This is scheduled to happen approximately September 7. Once the balance is moved to the Installment Plan, you will have two new due dates—October 7 and November 6; half of the balance will be due on each date.
  • If you will have a credit balance (i.e. you owe less than your anticipated aid), you do not need to make a payment; just confirm after August 24 that all of your aid has disbursed.

In some instances, you may appear to have a credit balance, but this may not be the case if all of your charges haven’t been posted. Please confirm all charges are reflected on your billing statement. Billing/payment plan questions should be directed to the Bursar Office:  (414) 229-4915, bursar @uwm.edu, Mitchell Hall Room 285

What if I don't have any anticipated aid showing?

Read the PAWS Financial Aid Tutorial for help reviewing your PAWS account including “To Do Items and Accepting Aid.”  If you haven’t applied for aid, it isn’t too late. Apply online as soon as possible at https://fafsa.gov. If you don’t have any anticipated aid, you must make the $100 minimum payment in order to participate in the installment plan and avoid possible late fees. Please note: If you are a first-year student who paid the New Student Confirmation Deposit for Fall 2020, you have satisfied the $100 payment requirement.

When will my aid disburse?

Financial aid disbursement begins Sunday, August 23, ten days before classes begin.  You should be able to see disbursed aid posted on your PAWS account that afternoon. Our office will send you an email the following week either confirming your aid has disbursed or explaining why it has not. E-mails will be sent in July and August to those whose accounts show they may experience a delay in their disbursement.

Beginning the week before the first disbursement, call volume in our office is extremely high, and you may experience longer than usual wait times. Please do not call us before August 23 to ask if your aid will disburse. If you do not see any To Do items in your PAWS account, and do not fall under one of the categories below, you can assume your aid will disburse on time.

The easiest way to verify your funds have disbursed is by checking your PAWS account after August 23 and read any email sent to your UWM account.

If your aid is more than your charges, the extra (excess cash check) is sent to your PAWS mailing address from the Bursar Office in the form of a check. If you are expecting a check, please make sure that your mailing address on PAWS is correct. The Bursar Office will begin mailing these on Monday, August 24. They are unable to hold checks for pickup. If you have questions on your excess cash check, after allowing for postal delivery times, any questions should be directed to the Bursar Office.

What could prevent my aid from disbursing?

Even when disbursement runs smoothly, some students experience delays in receiving their funds. The most common problems are listed below:


  • Enrollment level and Financial Aid Budgets must match in order for funds to disburse. Original financial aid awards are based on the assumption of full-time enrollment. If you are an undergraduate student enrolled in less than 12 credits or a graduate student enrolled in less than 8 credits, you must tell us how many credits you will take. Our office will review your aid for possible revisions and make sure these match which then allows your aid to disburse.  In most cases, a minimum of six undergraduate credits or four graduate credits is required to receive any amount of financial aid. If you have not previously provided our office with this information, please do so now. The most efficient way to inform us is via email or our online contact form. Please provide the number of credits you will take (fall and spring if known). Include ENROLLMENT or CREDIT LEVEL in the subject line and also make sure you include your STUDENT ID # in the body of your email.) Failure to notify our department by August 10 may result in a delay in the disbursement of your aid.


  • A one-time MASTER PROMISSORY NOTE (MPN) and ENTRANCE LOAN COUNSELING must be completed in order for Federal Direct and Grad PLUS loans to disburse. If this is your first time borrowing one of these loans, you will need to complete both of these requirements online at studentaid.govSelect Step 4 Sign Loan agreement to complete the loan application and Step 5 Complete Entrance Counseling if you are borrowing for the first time. If you need to do either of these, you should see it reflected as a “To Do Item” on your PAWS account. Watch a tutorial for help.
  • NURSING LOANS – A new promissory note is needed each year. You should see it as a “To Do Item” in your PAWS account if one is needed.


  • If you are on an academic plan, financial aid warning, or probation, we need to confirm that you are meeting the SAP requirements to remain eligible for aid. This review is generally not completed until closer to the start of the semester.
What else do I need to know?

If you change the number of credits you are enrolled in after your aid disburses, an adjustment to your award may be required. For details, please refer to the “Census Date” section of the online version of the 2020-2021 Financial Aid Handbook. Now would be a good time to review the entire handbook for important and timely information.

Pounce the Chatbot allows you to ask your questions 24/7 and most questions will be answered immediately. You can also contact a representative by phone or email. Advisors are available to assist with more complex issues via phone appointment. You can schedule an appointment online.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Financial Aid Office operating hours look a bit different this year, but we are still working to serve the needs of students, faculty, and staff. Find more details below.

You can reach a representative by phone 10 AM – 2 PM Monday through Friday until July 31. Beginning August 3, phone lines will be open 9 AM – 3 PM.

You can get all your questions answered remotely and submit most documents via e-mail or fax. Beginning August 10, should you need to turn in a document in person, the office will be open* to receive paperwork from 10 AM – 2 PM Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

*Please note that everyone must wear a mask in order to enter the building and our office. In the interest of everyone’s safety, there will be no exceptions made.

The office will be closed 9/7 for Labor Day.

Find all of our contact information on our website here.