Financial Aid




The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse offers a wide array of merit-based, need-based and non-need based financial assistance for graduate students.

Eligibility Requirements

Need-Based Aid
Many financial aid programs are based on financial need as demonstrated by the application of a federal need-analysis formula to the student financial information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Need-based programs include Federal Subsidized Stafford Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, Federal Work-Study, Advanced Opportunity Program, Non-Resident Tuition Waivers and Native American Indian Grants.

Non-Need-Based Aid
Exceptions to the financial need requirement include Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loans, Federal Graduate PLUS Loan, and alternative private bank loans for higher education.

Merit-Based Aid.

Graduate assistantships are merit-based and do not require the demonstration of financial need. Graduate scholarships are also merit-based and in most cases do not require financial need. International student scholarships are merit-based and subject to a special need analysis administered by the Office of International Education.

Academic Requirements.

Admission to the university is a prerequisite to consideration for financial aid. Special non-degree students are not eligible for aid unless they are working for a qualifying, approved license or certificate. Students must demonstrate satisfactory academic progress in order to receive aid. Full-time status is required for many programs; less-than-half-time status will disqualify the student from all programs.

Other Federal and State Requirements.

These include proper citizenship status, registration with the Selective Service System, and not being in default on any federal student loan. (See "Withdrawal from University" for additional requirements.) Awards are subject to change at any time pursuant to changes in state or federal funding levels or regulatory mandates.

Application Procedures

Financial aid applicants must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to the Federal Central Processing System. File the FAFSA by March 15 for priority consideration. Nevertheless, applications are accepted throughout the academic year. The FAFSA is available from the UWL Student Financial Aid Office (FAO) or at

Students also are required to submit the UW-L Financial Aid Information Form (FAIF) to the UW-L Student Financial Aid Office. The FAIF is available from the FAO or at

Notification Dates

Students who complete their application by March 15 priority date can expect to receive a financial aid offer between April 15 and June 15. Students who complete this application after March 15 will receive a financial aid offer as soon as possible after June 30. Applications received after June 1 may not be processed in time for students to receive their aid by the start of the fall semester. These students should be prepared to pay their initial expenses from their own resources.

Financial Aid Programs

Non-Resident Fee Waivers

These need-based grants are available to residents of states other than Wisconsin and Minnesota. Minnesota residents are eligible for tuition reciprocity. Some graduate assistantships also carry full or half non-resident tuition waivers.

Advanced Opportunity Grant

These grants are available to qualified, statutorily defined ethnic minority graduate students (Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and Southeast Asian Refugees).

Native American Indian Grants(Federal/Tribal/Wisconsin)

Native American students should file an application with their tribe.

International Student Scholarships

These partial non-resident fee waivers are available to qualified international students. International students should file an application with the Office of International Education.

Graduate Scholarships

The UW-L Foundation awards numerous scholarships each year to graduate students. For more information or an application, contact the UW-L Foundation at: or (608) 785-8489.

Private Scholarships

Students may want to search for private scholarships on the Internet at This private non-profit resource maintains the largest database of private scholarships and does not charge for information.

Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan

This need-based loan is available to students who demonstrate financial need. Students borrow from a lender and the federal government pays the interest while the student is in school and until six months thereafter. Interest is at a fixed rate of 6.8%. Repayment begins six months after the student ceases to be at least a half-time student.

Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan

This need-based loan is available to students who demonstrate financial need. Students borrow from a lender and the federal government pays the interest while the student is in school and until six months thereafter. Interest is at a fixed rate of 6.8%. Repayment begins six months after the student ceases to be at least a half-time student.

Federal Unsubsidized Stafford Loan

This loan is not need based. Students must file the FAFSA. The terms are the same as the Federal Subsidized Stafford Loan except that the student is responsible for all interest that begins accruing from the date of the loan’s disbursement.

Federal Perkins Loan

This need-based loan is available to qualified students who demonstrate exceptional financial need. The loan is interest-free as long as the student is at least a half-time student. Repayment begins nine months after the student ceases half-time enrollment. Interest at that time will be 5%.

Federal Graduate PLUS Loan

Students must file a FAFSA and accept all available Stafford loans before they can be considered for this loan. This loan has a fixed interest rate of 8.5%. Credit history will be considered in determining eligibility. Repayment begins immediately after disbursement, but can be deferred while a student is in school.

Alternative Loans

Many banks offer private, non-governmental, non-need-based loans for higher education. More information on available loans, including instructions for applying, is available at

Emergency Short Term Loan

These loans are for emergency purposes only. The applicant must have completed at least one semester at UW-L, be in good academic standing and enrolled full-time. Apply at the Student Financial Aid Office.

Graduate Assistantships

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse offers a variety of graduate assistantships. To apply, the graduate student communicates directly with the department of intended degree work. The Financial Aid Office does not administer the graduate assistantship program. Assistantships are available to resident and nonresident students. Awards may be made for assistantships which require 14 to 20 hours weekly of responsibilities during each semester of the academic year. Assistants are expected to carry no fewer than nine graduate credits each semester. Those with 14-hour assignments may carry up to 14 hours of graduate credit and those with 20-hour assignments should not exceed 12 graduate credits each semester. All graduate students in the MS-Biology program who hold fellowships, assistantships, or traineeships will be required to take a minimum of nine credit hours during each of their first two semesters of residence at UW-L. Information on assistantships is available from the Director of Graduate Studies and/or graduate program directors.

Summer assistantships may be available. During a regular eight-week summer session, eight credits are considered a maximum class load. Any deviation from these credit loads or work assignments must be approved by the appropriate department chair and/or program director and the Director of Graduate Studies. Graduate assistantships are limited in number and are awarded to specifically qualified applicants on the recommendation of the department chair or program director and with the approval of the respective dean.

Assistantships are not awarded to students admitted on probation. Graduate assistants must maintain a GPA of 3.00 or higher in order to retain eligibility for their awards. Tuition and fees are not waived for graduate assistants although the out-of-state portion of tuition may be waived in some cases. Further information and application forms may be obtained from department chairpersons and/or program directors.

UW-L complies with the Council of Graduate Schools Resolution regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees, and Assistants which follows: “Acceptance of an offer of financial support (such as graduate scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, or assistantship) for the next academic year by a prospective or enrolled graduate student completes an agreement that both student and graduate school expect to honor in that context. The conditions affecting such offers and their acceptance must be defined carefully and understood by all parties.”

Students are under no obligation to respond to offers of financial support prior to April 15; earlier deadlines for acceptance of such offers violate the intent of this Resolution. (UW-L notation: this deadline assumes a program begins in fall semester. Programs beginning earlier may have an earlier acceptance date.) In those instances in which a student accepts an offer before April 15, and subsequently desires to withdraw that acceptance, the student may submit in writing a resignation of the appointment at any time through April 15. However, an acceptance given or left in force after April 15 commits the student not to accept another offer without first obtaining a written release from the institution to which a commitment has been made. Similarly, an offer by an institution after April 15 is conditional on presentation by the student of the written release from any previously accepted offer. It is further agreed by the institutions and organization subscribing to the above Resolution that a copy of this Resolution should accompany every scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, and assistantship offer.”

Federal Work-Study Program

This need-based program provides on-campus employment to qualified students. Students who do not qualify for Federal Work-Study are eligible to work on campus through the Student Help program. Students should apply at academic or administrative departments. Students can also search for part-time on-campus or off-campus jobs in the private sector at

Satisfactory Academic Progress Standard

Federal Law mandates the post-secondary institutions participating in Federal Title IV Student Financial Aid Programs, including student loans, have in place and monitor an academic progress policy. There are two components of the UW-L Graduate Satisfactory Academic Progress Standard for Financial Aid: grade point average (GPA), and academic progress (credits attempted/credits earned).

  1. Grade point average is monitored by the academic deans. Requirements follow the university probation and retention policies listed in this catalog. Failure to meet these conditions will result in the student being academically suspended from UW-L. The student will also lose eligibility for student financial aid, including student loans. Notification of non-compliance with the GPA component and the appeal procedure for reinstatement will be made by the academic deans. If an appeal is granted, eligibility for financial aid will be determined by the Financial Aid Office.
  2. Academic Progress: all full-time and part-time graduate students must complete and pass 70 percent of all credits attempted at UW-La Crosse. This will be monitored on a yearly basis, September through August. Failure to comply with this component will result in the student’s financial aid eligibility, including student loans, being suspended.

Credits Earned.

The successful completion of a credit attempted is credit for which a grade of A, AB, B, BC, C, S, or P is received.


Any withdrawal after the start of a grading period will count as credit attempted and credit not earned.

Credit Drop.

Any credit drop after the start of a grading period, without an equal number of credits being added, will count as credit attempted and credit not earned.


An incomplete grade will count as credit attempted and credit not earned until the UW-L Records and Registration Office has recorded a passing grade. It will be the responsibility of the student to notify the Financial Aid Office of any change in grade using an Appeal for Financial Aid Reinstatement and attaching a copy of the student’s most recent UW-L transcript showing the grade change.


A student not meeting the annual progress component of the Satisfactory Academic Progress Standard for Financial Aid will be notified by the Financial Aid Office that the student’s eligibility for financial aid, including educational loans, has been suspended. The student can make an appointment in the Financial Aid Office, Room 215 Graff Main Hall, to discuss the situation.


A student on financial aid suspension can submit an appeal for Financial Aid Reinstatement outlining the conditions that prevented the student from complying with the UW-L satisfactory academic progress standard for financial aid, and how the conditions have changed. A copy of the student’s current UW-L academic transcript must accompany the Appeal Form. Third party documentation may be necessary to support the appeal or the Financial Aid Office may request it. If the appeal is approved, the Financial Aid Office will determine eligibility for financial aid and notify the student. If an appeal is not approved, the student may have to attend UW-L, pay for it on his or her own, do well, and again complete the appeal process.

More Information and Questions

  • For more information regarding student financial aid programs, visit the Student Financial Aid Office Web site at
  • Questions regarding student financial aid programs should be directed to the Student Financial Aid Office (215 Graff Main Hall) at (608) 785-8604 or
  • For more information about graduate scholarships, visit the UWL Foundation Web site at
  • Questions regarding graduate scholarships should be directed to the UWL Foundation (Cleary Alumni and Friends Center) at (608) 785-8489 or
  • For more information about graduate assistantships, contact the director of graduate studies or the graduate program director.

Scholarships, Awards, and Short Term Loans

Many scholarships and awards have been established by alumni, faculty and staff, parents, students, businesses, and organizations. Recipients are selected by scholarship committees on the basis of an application, grade point average and other materials as deemed appropriate by departmental committees. Scholarships are presented to students whose qualifications best fit the stipulations of the donor. Approximately one-half million dollars is awarded each year. Amounts vary annually based on funding from gifts or investment earnings available from a fund.

Almost all scholarships are contingent upon full-time enrollment both fall and spring semesters at UW-L. Scholarships and awards are usually paid for the academic year in two payments, the first half in the fall semester and the other half in the spring semester.

Scholarship criteria and application are available on the Web at:

A scholarship application is also available to currently enrolled students at the UW-L Foundation Office, Cleary Alumni and Friends Center. This application covers all scholarships unless otherwise stated. Some require specific applications. All applications (unless otherwise indicated) must be submitted to the UW-L Foundation Office. Applications are submitted to various offices that offer scholarships based on academic majors; please refer to the scholarship website. The deadline for scholarship applications is March 1 each year, unless otherwise indicated. Scholarships and awards are announced at the scholarship reception set for the last Monday in April. For more information, call the Advancement Office at (608) 785-8489.

The Foundation also administers a number of individual funds, which provide for interest-free, short-term emergency loans to students in need, provided they are enrolled for a full credit load of non-repeat courses. The Financial Aid Office, 215 Graff Main Hall, has more information and application forms.

The University of Wisconsin- La Crosse Foundation Inc.

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit, tax-exempt, 501(c) (3) Wisconsin corporation, created in 1967 to support the mission, purposes, services and programs of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. To accomplish this, the Foundation encourages, solicits, receives, manages and administers gifts from alumni, friends, businesses and other organizations. Gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law (as applied to the individual circumstances of each donor) and are used for scholarships, awards, grants and programs that advance the UW-L mission.

Web site: / E-mail:

Benefits for Veterans and Veterans' Dependents

The university is fully approved for the education of veterans and veterans’ dependents under both federal and state programs. New students who qualify for benefits should report to the veterans’ benefits coordinator in the Records and Registration Office, 117 Graff Main Hall, before or during registration. After this initial contact, registered students should keep the coordinator apprised of their status and needs.

If you receive support from veteran programs, you are required to report to the veteran’s benefits coordinator after registering for classes each semester to complete an enrollment certification form. The university must certify your attendance and credit load to the Veterans Administration. Payments of veterans’ benefits depend on the number of credits carried. Graduate students should carry at least nine credits to receive full benefits under most programs. Payment will be awarded according to the schedule below:

Graduate Credits Enrollment/Benefits Status
9+ Full-time
7-8 3/4 time
5-6 1/2 time