Fall Financial Aid FAQs

In the next week you’ll likely see some changes on your account. Soon (if you haven’t already) 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.  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.

  • 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 5. Once the balance is moved to the Installment Plan, you will have two new due dates—October 7 and November 6.
  • 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 disburses.

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 2019, you have satisfied the $100 payment requirement.

When will my aid disburse?

Financial aid disbursement begins Saturday, August 24, 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.  We sent emails to many students July 16 and will send more August 13 to those who 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 24 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 24 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 Tuesday, August 27.  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 https://studentloans.gov/.   If you need to do either, you should see it reflected as a “To Do Item” on your PAWS account.
  • 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 requirements to continue. This review is generally not completed until closer to the start of the semester.
What else do I need to know?

If you change your enrollment level 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 2019-2020 Financial Aid Handbook. Now would be a good time to review the entire handbook for important and timely information.

Ask the Panther allows you to submit your questions 24/7 and most questions will be answered immediately.  You can contact us by phone, email, or in-person as well.  Advisors are available to assist with more complex issues via phone as well as in-person.  You can schedule an appointment online.  Otherwise, Financial Aid Advisors will be available without appointments, on a walk-in basis:

August 5-23, 2019
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
August 5th and August 12th4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

August 26 – September 6, 2019
Monday – Friday: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
August 26th and September 3rd4:00 pm – 5:30 pm

The office will be closed 9/2 for Labor Day.