"Will I be able to use my financial aid?" The answer is most likely! 
Federal, state, and most institutional financial aid may be applied directly to the cost of your program as long as you are a degree-seeking student at UWL and the courses your are taking abroad will applied towards the credits required for graduation. Students from other colleges or universities may be able to transfer aid through a consortium agreement.

For general information about Financial Aid and your education abroad program, contact the Financial Aid Office

FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

  • To be considered for Financial Aid, you must complete the FAFSA. Consider filling it out event if you have not received aid before.
  • FAFSA is available through the Financial Aid Office.
  • If you have already completed the FAFSA and did not indicate under item 21 that you will be studying abroad, you do not need to re-submit it.
  • Summer programs must completed a separate UWL Summer Application

Calculation of Awards
Indicate “Yes” for Financial Aid

  • When completing the online application, select YES if you intend to apply financial aid to your education abroad program.
  • Upon acceptance, IEE will submit Fee Summaries to the Financial Aid Office at UWL. The Fee Summary will include program fee and estimated expenses for the entire term of your program (i.e. housing, meals, travel, personal expenses, books, etc.)
  • The Financial Aid Office will recalculate your need based on this Fee Summary

Note: Stafford Loans received in the summer or Winter Intersession will reduce your eligibility for loans in the subsequent school year or semester.

Types of Awards

  • Need-Based Grant (up to $2000) available to students who are:
  1. Wisconsin residents
  2. Degree-seeking student at a UW System school
  3. Participating in a UW Sponsored education abroad program
No application needed: Automatic consideration to anyone applying for financial aid
  • Stafford Student Loans are federal aid that does not need to be paid back until six months after continuous enrollment at an institution of higher education ends or six months after enrolled less than ½ time
  • Subsidized Stafford Loan is need-based and does not accrue interest until the beginning of the repayment period. The unsubsidized Stafford Loan is NOT need-based, however interest accrues immediately but repayment may be deferred until enrollment ends or if your enrollment is less than half time.
  • Federal Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students (PLUS) and private lenders.

Regardless of the cost of your education abroad programs there is a limit on how much you can borrow on the Stafford Student Loans:

Stafford Student Loans (Maximum Limit for Qualified Students)
Yearly Loan Limit Classification Amount
Freshmen (1-29 credits) $5,500
Sophomore (30-59 credits) $6,500
Junior (60+ credits) $7,500
Graduate $20,500

These yearly maximums may be less depending on the eligibility of other financial aid programs.

Cumulative Loan Limit
Classification Amount
Undergraduate $23,000
Graduate $65,000

Financial Aid Disbursement

  • By Federal law, financial aid cannot be disbursed prior to the first day of each term at UWL regardless of the beginning date of your education abroad program.
  • Grants will be applied to your balance automatically.
  • If you will be receiving a Perkins Loan you must sign the promissory note in the UWL Cashier's Office prior to departure.
  • Many banks now offer electronic transfer for student loans. If your bank still issues paper checks or you expect to receive a change check, you must file a UWL Authorization to Mail Financial Aid form with the Cashier's Office to indicate where the check should be sent in your absence. The UWL Financial Aid Office recommends that you and a parent or other designate complete a legal power of attorney with a Notary Public concerning the processing of all of your financial aid.

Appeal for Financial Aid Reinstatement

  • Federal Law mandates that post-secondary institutions participating in Federal Title IV Student Financial Aid Programs, including educational loans, must monitor credits attempted and credits earned by a student to ensure that students are progressing toward a degree or certificate.
  • This creates a problem for study abroad students for the academic year and spring semester because transcripts from abroad are often not processed until the beginning of the fall semester, "red-flagging" education abroad students.
  • You will receive a letter from the financial aid office over the summer telling you that financial aid cannot be processed. DO NOT PANIC! You MUST complete the Appeal Form and return it with a copy of your current UW-L academic transcript. State on the appeal form that you studied abroad. Your financial aid will be processed, however, you will be placed on "Financial Aid Probation" until your education abroad credits have been processed.

Non-UWL Students

Only students who are degree candidates at UWL can receive financial aid from the UW-L Financial Aid Office. If you are a participant from another institution, you must ask your home campus' financial aid office to transfer your aid to La Crosse for the term(s) of your program. A formal, signed document between the two financial aid offices, called a "consortium agreement," must be completed. Procedures vary, so meet with your financial aid advisor at your home institution for more information on the steps to take.