Regardless of your circumstances, everyone should apply for financial aid because everyone may be eligible. The time invested to apply could well be worth the effort.
Apply for financial aid as soon as possible after January 1 of the year you'd like to attend college. Most financial aid is based on the financial "need" of each student. Need is the difference between the cost of attendance and your family's ability to contribute toward that cost. For students who have not yet enrolled in college, the U.S. Department of Education offers a free, introductory financial aid publication, Funding Your Education relating to federal financial aid.
Students need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after January 1 for the following fall enrollment. You only need to fill out one form to apply for federal, state, and campus-based financial assistance. For information call 1-800-4FED-AID; or TDD 1-800-730-8913 for the hearing impaired.
- Wisconsin Higher Education Grant (WHEG)
Up to $1,084 per year for Wisconsin residents for up to 10 semesters. Must be enrolled at least half time. Based on financial need. More details are available at the Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board.
- Federal Pell Grants
Up to $5,730 per year. Based on cost of attendance and expected family contribution. More details are available at the U.S. Department of Education.
- Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
Undergraduate students can receive from $100 to $4,000 based on financial need and campus policy. More details are available at the U.S. Department of Education.
- Wisconsin Talent Incentive Program (TIP) Grant
$600 to $1,800 initial award for Wisconsin residents, minimum $250 award, renewable up to 10 semesters. Based on financial need. More details available at Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board.
- Wisconsin Hearing and Visually Handicapped Student Grant
Undergraduate study grants for Wisconsin residents who are legally deaf or blind and show financial need. The maximum grant is $1,800 per year for up to 10 semesters. More details are available at the Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board. Medical certification is necessary.
- Minority Undergraduate Student Retention Grant
Up to $2,500 per year for up to 8 semesters. Based on financial need. Must be a second year student of a two-year program and enrolled at least half time at a WTCS college. Must be a member of a racial minority (Black, Hispanic, American Indian, or student from Cambodia, Laos, or Vietnam). More details are available at the Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board.
- Indian Student Assistance Grant
Up to $1,100 per year for Wisconsin residents who are at least one quarter Native American and enrolled in degree programs. Based on financial need. Ten semester eligibility limit. More details are available at the Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board.
- Federal Bureau of Indian Affairs Grant
Maximum grant depends on tribal policy. Must have tribal membership or be enrolled in a federally recognized American Indian tribe. Contact your tribe for application procedures.
- Federal Stafford Student Loans
Subsidized need-based loan to students enrolled at least half time. Students may borrow up to $3,500 for the first year, $4,500 for the second year of a two-year program. No interest charged to the student until six months after student graduates or loses eligibility. Up to 10 years to repay, although extended repayment options are available. Direct loans include origination fee of up to 1.1%. Interest rates are determined as of July 1 each year (these are fixed at 4.66% for 2014-15). More details are available at the U.S. Department of Education.
- Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan Program
Available to students who are enrolled at least half time, regardless of need. The maximum loan is the difference between the maximum Direct Loan allowed and the amount of the student's subsidized Direct Loan. Independent students may borrow an additional $6,000 based on cost of attendance. Dependent students may borrow an additional $2,000 in unsubsidized direct loan or up to $6,000 if parent has been denied Parent Plus Loan request. Students must have applied for all other types of financial aid before being eligible for an unsubsidized loan. Repayment terms, grace period and interest are the same as the Federal Direct Loan, except interest accrues immediately. Loans include origination fee of 1.1%, and interest rates are determined as of July 1 each year (these are fixed at 4.66% for 2014-15). More details are available at the U.S. Department of Education.
- Direct PLUS (Parent Loans for Undergraduate Students)
Parents of dependent students may borrow amounts equal to or less than the cost of attendance, minus all other aid received. Student must be enrolled at least half time. Loans include origination fee of up to 4.5% and interest rates are determined as of July 1 each year (these are fixed at 7.21% for 2014-15). Interest accrues immediately upon full disbursement and repayment begins within 30 days. The parent borrower may request a deferment from the loan servicer while the student is enrolled at least half-time and for an additional six months after leaving college. More details are available at the U.S. Department of Education.
- Wisconsin Nursing Stipend Loans
Eligible borrowers may receive up to $3,000 a year based on financial need. Students must be enrolled full time in either year of a two-year Associate Degree Nursing Program and agree to be employed as an RN in a Wisconsin hospital, nursing home, or home health agency. Up to 50 percent of the loan can be forgiven. Borrowers shall repay the loan if not employed as a nurse in Wisconsin.
Other Aid Programs
- Federal Work-Study Program
Hourly wage and work schedule determined by federal law and/or the employer. Based on financial need and uniform campus policy.
- Individual College Scholarships
Contact the financial aid office of the college you plan to attend for more information.
- Veteran's Tuition Remission
The State of Wisconsin provides a number of educational programs for state veterans that are in addition to any federal veterans' educational benefits that may be available. Eligibility varies between programs, including state residency requirements. Tuition remission is one of the state designated benefits for veterans.
Effective with the Fall 2005 semester, the Wisconsin GI Bill provides a waiver ("remission") of tuition and fees for eligible veterans and their dependents for up to eight full-time semesters or 128 credits at any Wisconsin Technical College System or University of Wisconsin System institution.
Find out details of the Wisconsin GI Bill.