Financial Assistance

Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions about financial aid

  • How do I apply for Financial Aid?

    All students may complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at You will need an FSA ID (your official federal signature) - apply for one at if you do not already have one. The FSA ID replaces the previous PIN number that some students are familiar with having used in the past.


    Frequently Asked Questions about the FSA ID



    FAFSA and FSA ID Tips for Parents


    Completing the FAFSA: 2019-2020

    In-depth answers to all of your FAFSA questions.

  • Which FAFSA should I complete?

    UIW is a summer header school, which means our financial aid year begins in the summer. If you will be taking summer courses, you need the FAFSA with ENDS with the following calendar year.

    For example:

    Summer 2019 will be on the 2019-2020 FAFSA which covers Summer 2019 through Spring 2020.

  • When should I complete the FAFSA?

    The FAFSA opens on October 1 of each year for the following aid year cycle:

    October 1, 2017: FAFSA opens for 2018-2019 cycle and will use 2016 tax information.

    October 1, 2018: FAFSA opens for 2019-2020 cycle and will use 2017 tax information.

    The FAFSA must be completed before your enrollment has ended for that cycle.

    For example, if your courses end on April 27, 2019, you must complete the 2018-2019 FAFSA before that date in order to be eligible for aid during that cycle. If your classes end sooner, you must complete the FAFSA sooner!

  • Commonly Used Terms

    Financial Aid Commonly Used Terms

    Definitions of terms commonly used when discussing financial aid.

  • How will aid be divided for SPS students?

    SPS students typically attend courses year-round. Your aid will be divided evenly between Summer, Fall, and Spring, and then readjusted based on your actual enrollment (if necessary).

    For example, if you are a Junior/Senior student, your maximum loan eligibility will be up to $12,500 for the academic year. This amount will then be divided evenly into Summer, Fall, and Spring ($4,167 each).

    Each semester is then divided into two disbursements - one for each of the 8-week mini-terms.

    Students receiving Pell Grant in the 1st term of the semester will receive additional Pell Grant for the 2nd term course(s) only upon successful completion of the 1st term course(s). Courses dropped or not passed in the 1st term will impact funds for the 2nd term.

  • Can I apply for FAFSA if I am using Tuition Assistance (TA) or have employer funds?

    Yes! You can still complete a FAFSA to apply for additional aid.

    Employer reimbursement and/or tuition assistance funds must be accounted for as part of your financial aid package, and any remaining eligibility can be filled in with grants and/or loans (depending on what you are eligible for).

    If your employer requires an unpaid invoice in order to submit your funds, you may contact the Office of Financial Assistance (OFA) to have the funds removed. If you need them reinstated later, you will need to contact us.

  • What if I have previously used student loans or grants?

    The FAFSA will indicate to us any amounts of loans and/or Pell grants that you have used. There are annual as well as lifetime (aggregate) maximums for each of these funds. Once you have reached the lifetime maximum, you will no longer be eligible for that fund.

    Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loans: maximum of $57,500 total at the undergraduate level, maximum of $138,500 total at the graduate level (including amounts taken out previously at undergraduate or graduate level).

    Parent or Graduate PLUS Loans: no aggregate maximum, but requires credit approval

    Pell grant: lifetime maximum of 600% (the equivalent of 12 semesters of full-time enrollment)

    You should consider using student loans sparingly and minimize any refunds you are using for living expenses, especially if you are getting close to your maximum.

  • How do I get my previous loans deferred?

    As long as you are enrolled at least half-time (6+ hours per semester at the undergraduate level, or 3+ hours per semester at the graduate level), your enrollment will be reported monthly to the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC). Most loan servicers subscribe to these NSC reports in order to update student loan statuses.

    If you need your deferment updated sooner or your servicer does not subscribe to NSC, you will need to obtain an in-school deferment form from your loan servicer and submit it to the OFA to be completed.

  • What if I have other family members in college at the same time?

    Your FAFSA will ask you how many people are in your household, and how many of those in the household will be enrolled at least half-time during the same financial aid year.

    Your FAFSA will take into account that total number in determining your aid eligibility for the year. Having other family members concurrently in college does NOT cause you to lose any aid eligibility, unless you have inaccurately reported that information.

    If you have children in your household who are in college, you DO list them in the number in college. If your parent is in college, you do NOT list them in the number in college.

  • How is my aid affected by previous or current coursework?

    All aid requires you to be making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).

    As an undergraduate student, you must maintain 75% course completion, and a 2.0 cumulative GPA or higher.

    As a graduate student, you must maintain 75% course completion and a 3.0 cumulative GPA or higher.

    This includes ALL previous attempted coursework, whether you were receiving at aid the time or not. You must also (at either level) not attempt more than 150% of the number of hours required for your degree program.

    If you do not meet these minimums or exceed the 150% timeframe, we require you to go through an appeal process in order to possibly regain aid eligibility. If your appeal is denied, you will need to pay out of pocket or pursue private loan funding.

    The Dept. of Education also monitors students who have attended and received aid at more than 2 schools in the past 4 years. If that is the case, your FAFSA will be flagged for further review. If you have not been receiving credit for the semesters in which you have received aid, you may be denied future aid depending upon your specific circumstances for not earning credit.

  • What if I plan to live off-campus?

    Students often ask about financial aid for living off-campus. This is different from living at home with relatives, as it includes the additional costs of rent, utilities, food, etc.

    Financial aid is based on a standard cost of attendance, which includes reasonable living expense amounts meant to assist you with covering those costs (not necessarily covering them completely). It is important to understand your direct billed costs (such as tuition and fees) and then plan for your other costs (such as books, housing, and food). You can refer to your award letter and contact our office if you have questions!


    When you are living off-campus, you will be charged only for direct costs - tuition, fees, parking, insurance, etc. There will be no room or board charges on your account, so the amount you will owe UIW will not include housing costs. However, you can still use loan assistance to help pay for rent, utilities, groceries, and other monthly costs.

    If the amount of aid you are receiving is greater than the direct costs billed by UIW, you will receive a refund check (or direct deposit, if you sign up for e-refunds) that you can use to help cover your living costs.


    Living off-campus can give you more flexibility in determining how much you will pay for such items as rent and groceries. Be sure to develop a realistic monthly budget that includes all of your expenses, including cable, internet, and other utilities. UIW uses a room and board budget that includes a reasonable budget for rent (based on nine-month double-occupancy) and groceries. Additional financial aid will not be granted for costs that exceed this budget, even if you choose not to have a roommate.

    It is important to remember that if you are eligible for a refund, it will not be available to you until after the 100% drop date of the semester, if your file is complete and you are meeting the enrollment requirements for your aid. You must budget accordingly to make sure you do not miss any rent, deposits, or other payments while you are waiting for your aid.


    Financial aid cannot be increased to cover additional costs such as:

    Length of lease: Financial aid is based on a nine-month schedule, but most leases require a twelve-month agreement, so you may have some rent payments without financial aid. You must budget for these extra months accordingly.

    Security deposit, move-in fee, and first month's rent: In addition to the first month's rent, many apartments/leases may require you to pay a security deposit and/or a move-in fee at the time of signing. You may need to pay these expenses before the end of the current school year for the upcoming year's lease, depending upon your lease terms.

    Start-up costs: Many utilities, such as internet, and cable may require a security deposit and/or installation fee, if you have never had services with them before.


    • Enroll in direct deposit to speed up the refund process. This is separate from your work-study/payroll direct deposit and can be set up through the Business Office.
    • Develop a reasonable cost plan for off-campus expenses and compare it to on-campus costs before making your final decision.
    • If you plan to have roommates off-campus, it is easier to handle financial matters if everyone's name is on the lease and utilities. Make sure your roommates understand how they will be able to pay their share of the expenses.
    • The Office of Residence Life provides a listing of nearby off-campus residences. While UIW does not endorse or recommend any particular property over another, it can be a good place to get information to assist in your search.