Grants are considered “gift aid” and generally do not have to be repaid. Most gift aid is based on some type of need-based eligibility requirement. Therefore, you must complete the FAFSA to apply for most grants. Sources of grants include federal, state, private, and institutional funds. Award amounts vary and are based on the availability of funds and individual need. For a list of programs eligible for federal financial aid, click here.
UW Flexible Option Programs use Federal Pell Grant formula 4 to determine student award amounts.
The U.S. Department of Education offers a variety of federal grants to students based on financial need.
Learn more about federal grants.
The Wisconsin Grant provides grant assistance to undergraduate, Wisconsin residents enrolled at least half-time in degree. Awards are based on financial need. Eligibility for need-based state financial aid programs is determined using the data from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and cannot exceed ten payment periods.
UW-Milwaukee programs are eligible for the Wisconsin Grant. UW-Parkside programs are not eligible at this time. Eligible students will receive the Wisconsin Grant once per payment period and will not be awarded it every subscription period.
For more information, please visit the State of Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board website: http://heab.state.wi.us/programs.html#WG
Wisconsin Tuition Promise
Launched in fall 2023, the Wisconsin Tuition Promise is a new initiative to ensure underserved Wisconsin students can attend any UW System university without paying tuition or fees.
The Wisconsin Tuition Promise would provide up to four years of tuition and fee funding for students coming from families earning less than $62,000 annually and enrolling at the 12 public universities other than UW-Madison.
Students will be automatically considered for the Wisconsin Tuition Promise when they apply for federal financial aid. More information about the program can be found at https://www.wisconsin.edu/tuition-promise/.
Specific to UW Flexible Option, please note that you must be continuously enrolled to remain eligible for this program. While taking a one-month break is acceptable, taking more than a one-month break will cease your eligibility for the Wisconsin Tuition Promise. The Financial Aid Office will review eligible students every subscription period. Students can be eligible for the Wisconsin Tuition Promise twice per payment period.
UWEX Emergency Grant
The UWEX Emergency Grant is available to degree-seeking students currently enrolled at UW Flexible Option. These funds are to assist students with immediate, essential expenses due to temporary hardships related to an emergency. More information about this grant can be found here.
The Retention Grant is available to degree-seeking students currently enrolled at UW Flexible Option. These funds are specifically geared towards helping students pay their remaining tuition balance after federal and state aid is considered. Students must have need as determined by their FAFSA and must have accepted their full Federal Direct Subsidized Loan. The Financial Aid Office will determine eligible students, and no application is needed.
The Completion Grant is available to degree-seeking students currently enrolled at UW Flexible Option who are within 24 credits of graduating. These funds are specifically geared towards helping students pay their remaining tuition balance. Students must have need as determined by their FAFSA and must have accepted their full Federal Direct Subsidized Loan. The Financial Aid Office will determine eligible students, and no application is needed.
The Reentry Grant is available to students who withdrew from UW Flexible Option and wish to return but have an outstanding balance due to the Return of Title IV (R2T4) calculation. Students must have need as determined by their FAFSA. The Financial Aid Office will determine eligible students, and an application is required.
Technology Purchase Program
The Technology Purchase Program is available to degree-seeking students currently enrolled at UW Flexible Option. These funds are specifically geared towards helping students pay for technology required for courses. Students must have need as determined by their FAFSA and must have accepted their full Federal Direct Subsidized Loan. Interested students can reach out to the Financial Aid Office for an application and to learn more about eligibility requirements.
Federal Student Loans
Loans made by the federal government, called federal student loans, usually offer borrowers many benefits such as no credit history requirement, low interest rates, and more flexible repayment options than loans from banks or other private sources.
Learn more about federal student loan programs.
Before a federal student loan is paid out to you, you will be required to complete entrance counseling.
Loans will be submitted to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS), and will be accessible by guaranty agencies, lenders, and institutions determined to be authorized users of the data system.
Federal Parent PLUS Loans
The Federal Direct Parent PLUS Loan program is a federal loan program available to parents (biological, adoptive, or, in some cases, stepparent) of dependent undergraduate students admitted to federal financial aid eligible programs. The loan must be used to help pay the student’s educational expenses.
- Students must be admitted to a UW Flexible Option financial aid eligible program
- The parent must not have adverse credit history (exceptions may apply)
- The parent must not have a federal education loan in default
- Students must meet all general eligibility requirements and be offered federal financial aid; Click here for information on how to apply for federal financial aid
How to Apply
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- Apply for the Parent PLUS loan at https://studentloans.gov/. Click on the green Log In button to get started.
- Complete the Parent PLUS Master Promissory Note (MPN) here. Click on the green Log In button to get started.
Parent PLUS Loan Request Denial and Adverse Credit History Information
A credit check will be performed during the application process. If the parent has adverse credit history, the Parent PLUS request may be denied. The parent can continue to pursue a Parent PLUS loan via the following options:
- Obtain an eligible endorser and complete Parent PLUS Counseling at https://studentloans.gov
- Submit an extenuating circumstances appeal to the U.S. Department of Education and complete Parent PLUS Counseling at https://studentloans.gov
If a Parent PLUS loan request is denied, a letter will be sent to the parent with details regarding the denial.
If the parent is unable to receive a PLUS loan, the student may be eligible for additional Federal Direct Unsubsidized loans. The student must email the UW Flexible Option Financial Aid Office at firstname.lastname@example.org to request the additional loan funding. The request must come from the student’s university email account.
Interest Rate and Origination Fee Information
Disbursement and Refunds
The UW Flexible Option Financial Aid Office will apply the Parent PLUS loan funds to the student’s account to pay for tuition and fees. Any loan funds remaining will be mailed as a refund check to the recipient chosen on the Parent PLUS loan request form.
The Parent PLUS loan enters repayment once the loan is fully disbursed. The loan servicer will contact the parent regarding repayment information. To request a deferment or forbearance on loan payments, the parent must contact the loan servicer.
Additional information regarding Parent PLUS loans can be found here.
Before you look at alternative funding, make sure that you have exhausted all possible federal and state financial aid funds available. File the FAFSA to be considered for all types of aid, including federal student loans, before applying for an alternative loan.
Alternative loans are used to help bridge the gap between the actual cost of your education and the amount of assistance available through government programs. Be sure to do some research and explore your options when choosing an alternative loan lender.
If you decide to borrow an alternative loan, FAST Choice can assist you in choosing a loan and lender.
Scholarships are a type of gift aid awarded to students on the basis of academic merit or other criteria such as talent, leadership, community involvement, and financial need. They do not have to be repaid as long as the enrollment period is completed.
Scholarships have become an increasingly sought after resource for students to assist with financing their college education. The below scholarship website information is intended to help students research and apply for scholarships. Just a reminder that you should never pay for scholarship opportunities and be aware of scams.
Occasionally, we are sent notices of scholarships by external organizations that our students may be eligible for. These are not exclusive to students in our program and we do not necessarily endorse the organization(s) offering them.
Federal Children of Fallen Heroes Scholarship. Criteria: Awarded to undergraduate students who are Pell Grant eligible and whose parent or guardian died in the line of duty while performing as a public safety officer. The student must have been less than 24 years old or enrolled at an institution of higher education at the time of the parent or guardian’s death.
Thomas Jones and Grace Stevenson Jones Scholarship. Criteria: Students need to live within Grant, Iowa, or Lafayette counties in Wisconsin. Deadline to submit application materials is March 1, 2021.
- UWM College of Nursing
There are several annual scholarship awards and opportunities for students to apply to within the College of Nursing. Please note that many scholarship amounts vary annually as available funds fluctuate, but typically range from $500 to $6,000 and applications are due in Spring.
Other Scholarship Websites
Database of more than 2,300 sources of college funding
Personalized search with a database of 1.5 million local, national and college-specific scholarships
Comprehensive source of student financial aid information, advice and tools with a link to FastWEB
Resources for international students and study abroad
More than 1.7 million awards
Helping students find free money for college since 1998
Unlimited access to a database of 2.4 million scholarships
To the best of our knowledge, these websites provide free scholarship searches and applications. We do not endorse any scholarship applications or processes that require students to pay a fee.
There are several types of educational benefits for veterans. For information about these benefits, and how to determine which benefits you qualify for, as well as support services and resources, please visit our Veterans Benefits webpage.
As a returning adult student your employer may offer a tuition reimbursement benefit to help pay for your education. Ask your human resources department if your company offers this benefit.
If you are receiving tuition reimbursement benefits from your employer, but still require federal financial aid to cover any difference, you’ll need to complete the additional aid reporting form and submit it to the financial aid office.
If your employer requires that the university needs to fill out a form showing proof of attendance and/or payment, please reach out first to your home campus bursar/cashier’s office.