Affording college

Visit UWL's Scholarship Resource Center 

Additionally, a list of scholarships can be found on the Financial Aid's site 

or through UWL Foundation 

Check out this site from financial literacy expert, Adam Carroll:

Comparing Parent PLUS and Private Student Loans

Parent PLUS loans and Private Student Loans are two great ways to help handle college payments. Both are great tools to use but which is right for you?

Loan Repayment Plan Comparison

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Everything You Need to Know About Student Debt


Everyone needs a calculator at some point in their life...Might not be the typical one on your desk either, but either way, it is best to know your numbers! Below are some financial calculators that will make managing your personal finances easier. 

Cost to Attend UWL

While the overall costs of attending college vary with each student, there are certain costs which can be anticipated. Whether you're an undergraduate, graduate, or international student, use this calculator to figure out your cost to attend UWL. Cost to Attend

Cost of Living Calculators

Moving Away from La Crosse? Use this Cost of Living Calculator to help you figure out how expensive it is to live in any city around the world!

Before going off and studying abroad know how much it will cost you to live there! This calculator will show you not only the money conversion between two countries, but also estimate cost of living and show you the differences of things like salary, living expenses, and housing. Cost of Living Abroad Calculator

How much will you make in the field that you are going in? Get a glimpse at what the median salary is for the job you are looking at. Take a deeper look at your actual take home pay each month. Remember, gross and net pay is different! 

Student Loan Calculators

College Loans: A Cost Calculator

Student Loan Calculator

Loan Repayment

Repaying your loans don't need to be a hassle. Click here to learn more about how to repay your loans and the different repayment options that are available!

Before you take out a loan, it is important to limit what you borrow! Use our .PDF below and our debt to income ratio spreadsheet to help you.

Student Loan Borrowing Costs

Debt to Income Ratio Chart

Managing Your Student Loans

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 Finding a place to live in a college town is difficult with the amount of turnover. Here are some great local sites to get your search started:

Finding an Apartment expanding section
The university does not own any apartments so all off-campus housing involves a rental agreement with a landlord. There are many apartments around the campus area, many within walking/biking distance from the campus. If you are looking for an apartment a little farther away, as a student you have free access to the MTU city bus with your student ID. 
When looking at multiple apartments and trying to decide what best fits you and your budget, our rental comparison sheet can be a useful tool to keep information handy.

Avoiding Rental Scams can be difficult. Unfortunately, scammers are always looking for a quick way to get money and college students seem to be among their favorite targets. Follow the link for some quick tips about how to avoid being a target.

Renters Insurance is a great way to protect yourself, is relatively inexpensive, and is usually pretty cheap. UWL alum, Scott Bramwell, shares his story in Renters: Get insurance!and will explain why it is so important to have renters insurance. 

5 Reasons to be Insured

#1 Renters Insurance Is Dirt Cheap

In most major metropolitan markets, renters insurance will cost you less than 50¢ per day. You heard it right – most quality insurance policies that will replace your possessions in case of damage or loss due to fire, storm, smoke damage, theft, or other covered circumstances. For an annual fee of $150, up to $30,000 in personal property will be covered and if you own more costly gadgets, you can get that covered for around $200 per year.

#2 Renters Insurance Also Covers Negligence

This may sound like no big deal, but suppose one of your friends is hanging out at your place, trips over your strand of fairy lights and takes a header into your coffee table. They need 60 stitches, have no insurance and decide to sue you for negligently stringing Christmas lights out of season (no matter how festive they are). That’s not what a true friend would do, but it happens. If you’ve got renters insurance, your insurer will deal with the suit and it won’t ruin your finances.

#3 Renters Insurance Will Help You Replace Your Stuff

You may think you don’t have a lot of assets, but imagine if a fire swept through your place and it was ALL gone – all of it! That’s no TV, laptop, tablet, clothing, cell phone, furniture, etc. Without renters insurance, you’d be out of luck. Be sure to opt for a policy that guarantees “replacement cost coverage,” otherwise the amount you get could be just the fair market value of your lost, stolen or destroyed items. And used stuff is worth surprisingly little.

#4 Renters Insurance Helps You out When Disaster Strikes

If a fire does hit your building and your apartment is fire or smoke damaged, you’ll have to move out while repairs are made. Where will you go? Where will you live while repairs are made? Renters insurance will cover the costs for you to stay in a hotel (if it’s short term) or a replacement rental (if it’s a longer term repair). Be sure to look for this rider in your policy to make sure you have this protection. Some policies will also cover storm and natural disaster – be sure to check.

#5 Renters Insurance Protects You from Theft

Not only does renters insurance reimburse you if your apartment or rental home is pilfered, but it also covers you if stuff is stolen out of your car. What’s more, if the thieves damage your property while carrying out the crime that will be covered as well. If your door is broken, your landlord should pay that expense (their insurance will cover it), but your stolen TV, laptop and other items should be filed on your renters insurance. Be sure to file a police report promptly.

Choose Your Roommates Wisely... expanding section

Living with someone is not an easy task. Both you and your roomie(s) will need to make some agreements and set some boundaries BEFORE actually living together. It helps to outline expectations around: food, bills, space, money, parking, pets, guest...etc. Communication is key, but better to have these items outlined ahead of time so that you are in agreement on how life will run when living together. Check out our Roommate Agreement Form! We are hoping this will help y'all keep the peace. 

Know Your Rights As a Tenant: expanding section


These 10 items CANNOT be part of your renting agreement. If so, the lease is null and void.
Ten Deadly Sins of a Lease

Additional renting information, knowing your rights and filing complaints:

Before you movie in- make sure you to do an inspection check-in and write everything down as it is. It is also helpful to take pictures. It is important to make known any items that need to be fixed or serviced before you move in. Here is a sample Inspection Check-list for you and your landlord to use if they don't have one to provide you with.

If you encounter problems or want someone to help you review your lease, the UWL Student Association has made arrangements for free legal consultation for students. Free legal advice is provided by attorneys sponsored and paid for by the UWL Student Association.

Currently enrolled students may make 15 minute appointments by calling 608.785.8062 or by stopping in the Student Life Office, room 149, Graff Main Hall. An attorney will be on campus for a short time on each Tuesday and Wednesday that classes are in session during fall and spring semesters. They are available to meet with students occasionally during summer term. 

Legal Action of Wisconsin is non-profit law firm that's great for renters who need legal support but may have a tight budget.

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Tenant Safety expanding section


Smoke alarms save lives! Read about the importance of installing and maintaining smoke detectors within your off campus home here.

Wisconsin Laws expanding section
 Below are the links to several very good publications put out by the Department of Agriculture, which writes the laws for consumer protection. It is advised that all tenants review these rules before renting, so they are aware of all the laws that they will agree to abide by. 
Tenant’s Rights & Responsibilities 
 Landlord Tenant Guide
 College Rental Tips


Frequently Asked Questions expanding section


Note: This guide is meant to serve as a resource when moving off campus—it is not meant to serve as legally binding decrees. All issues beyond this guide should be addressed to an attorney or real estate agent. Also, be aware that many issues with landlords, leasing, property, etc. can be handled with solid communication prior to the issue becoming too large to control.

I am having problems with my roommates. What can I do?

Roommate conflicts are almost guaranteed to occur—no matter who you choose to live with. If your roommate signed the lease, there is not much you can do to have them evicted from the property. Also, if your name is on the lease, you are responsible for ensuring the landlord receives their full amount even if your roommates is unable to provide their portion. In order to prevent these types of issues from occurring, be very selective with your roommates. Live with people you trust and can count on. Don’t choose a roommate simply because they’re available and willing to move in together.

Can a landlord put whatever they want in my lease?

The short answer to this question is no. The longer answer is a bit more complicated as certain clauses are allowed, while others (like a fee or rent increase for a noise complaint) are not legally allowed. The best thing you can do is to carefully review your lease and bring up any concerns to your landlord before signing. Once the lease it is signed, it is imperative to follow it. Lease provisions are mandatory, not suggestions.

What kind of clauses should I look for?

Leases will contain lots of information. Everything from rent owed, security deposits, pet restrictions, and damages could be found in the lease. While it is impossible to list every nonstandard clause, here are some of the most common issues to look out for:

Common Area Maintenance (CAMs)

CAM clauses refer to maintenance of common areas in and around the property. These clauses could include things such as lawn maintenance or snow removal. If you’re living in a property where there are multiple units (such as a duplex) it is important to understand who is responsible for managing these tasks, especially snow removal. Failure to maintain proper lawn care or snow removal could result in fines that are passed directly onto the tenants.

Non-Standard Clauses

Most landlords are good, decent property owners and have their tenants’ best interests in mind. Sometimes, however, a landlord will try to sneak in clauses that are illegal and will often threaten tenants if these abnormal requests are not met. One of the most frequent requires that a tenant pay a fee or be subjected to a rent increase if a noise complaint or police response is required at the residence. This is a non-standard and, according to Wisconsin law, illegal clause. Be sure to keep an eye out for these clauses and discuss with a landlord prior to move in

Carpet Shampooing!

Quite often a landlord will ask that tenants shampoo their carpet prior to moving out. While it is not illegal for a landlord to require that a tenant shampoo the carpet, they can only do so if there is damage beyond normal wear and tear. For example, if you have a dog and there are pet stains you could be liable to a carpet cleaning. Similarly, if you were to host a party and a friend were to stain the carpet you could be liable for carpet cleaning. You are not responsible for replacing or cleaning an aging carpet if your behavior was not abnormal or cause any stains. 

How do I get my security deposit back?

A security deposit is money collected by your landlord at the start of your lease to help offset any costs for possible damages to the property. Landlords will return any unused portion of your security deposit at the end of your lease. The best way to ensure your money is returned to you is to conduct a damage walk through prior to moving in. Be sure that your landlord is present during this walkthrough so you can document, photograph, and be aware of any existing damages or needed repairs. After the conclusion of your lease, complete an exit walkthrough with your landlord to compare the state of the property as you move out. Keep your copy of the original damage walkthrough handy so you can ensure that you are not charged for an issue that existed prior to your move in. Ask the landlord to also write you a check following the conclusion of the damage walk through upon move out.

My landlord isn’t responding to my request to complete a repair. What should I do?!

If your landlord isn’t being diligent or responsive to your request for a repair, you need to examine the severity of the repair. If the repair is necessary to your safety (a hole in the ceiling during winter, doors/windows unable to lock) then call the La Crosse City inspector and they can provide assistance. Landlords must respond promptly if the repair has an impact on the safety of you in your home. If the repair does not impose an immediate threat to your safety (hole in wall, broken tile, etc.), then a landlord may move more slowly but they are still responsible for repairing the property. In this case, the best action to take is to keep in touch with your landlord and document all communication surrounding the issue. Use email for electronic record keeping, keep a phone call log with date/time/outcome, and send a certified letter if you must. If the landlord still refuses to move on the issue, you can begin to explore your legal options, but this should be done only as a last resort option and with proper documentation of previous contact attempts.
Moving off campus is an exciting first step to your total independence and development as a young adult. You need to be aware of the unintended costs of moving into a off campus house (heating, internet, food, etc.). Additionally, you need to review the lease carefully and ensure that you are moving in with trustworthy roommates. The best advice is to be diligent, intentional, and thorough with this process. Taking extra time and effort could be the difference between saving you hundreds or thousands of dollars in the long run. 
COVID-19 Resources expanding section

W.R.A.P - Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program

The Division of Energy, Housing, and Community Resources are partnering with the Wisconsin Community Action Program Association, a trusted community partner to provide direct assistance to residents of Wisconsin administering this funding. Check out their website or infographic for more information:

Interest Rates for 2020-2021



Tuition and Housing Costs

Visit the UWL Cost to Attend page.

Campus Cash vs Maroon Dollars


Campus Cash: Separate entity that is added via check/cash/student bill

Maroon Dollars: Included with meal plans (Eagle, Mega Eagle, Eaglet)

Food Insecurity

People who are food insecure are those who do not have access to enough or nutritionally adequate food. Here are some signs of food insecurity:

  • Resort to emergency measures such as scavenging or stealing food to survive.
  • Experiencing hunger as a result of running out of food.
  • Eating a poor-quality diet as a result of limited food options.
  • Having anxiety about getting more food.

Click here to learn more about Food Insecurity.


Meal Plan

UW-L offers many different dining plan options for students that on-campus and off-campus. Consider purchasing a plan that fits your needs!

Food Pantry

UW-L offers an on-campus food pantry or all students. It is located in 2220 Student Union, inside the COVE.

Eagles Helping Eagles

The UWL Eagles Helping Eagles program, administered by the UWL Financial Aid Office, provides donated new/gently used household goods like pots, pans, crockpots and dishes. 

Student Life

The UWL Student Life Office offers many different emergency resources for students. Visit them here:


The Wisconsin FoodShare program is available to students that work at least 20 hours per week or participating in a work study program. Click here to apply. *Note: Students that live on-campus and have a meal plan that pays for more than half of their meals are not eligible for FoodShare.

IMC Blog

Check out our blog for cheap food ideas and other information on being frugal with food!

Cheap Eats in La Crosse

And more!

You can check out more food resources here!

What is the process to apply for financial aid? expanding section

The first step in applying for aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at Be sure to include UWL’s school code, 003919, on the FAFSA. Once UWL receives the FAFSA results, we will send you an e-mail letting you know whether we need any additional documentation.

Is there a deadline date for applying for financial aid? expanding section

The priority date for applications for the fall semester is February 1st each year. This is not a deadline since applications are accepted throughout the academic year. Students applying for the current spring term whose applications are received after April 30th are unlikely to have their applications processed in time to receive aid.

How do I fill out the FAFSA if my parents are separated or divorced? expanding section

Answer the questions about the parent that you lived with more during the last twelve months. If this parent has remarried, answer the questions on the rest of the form about that parent and the person whom your parent married (your stepparent).

What should I do if my family has special circumstances or changes in income since our taxes were filed? expanding section

Contact the Financial Aid Office to inform them of these changes. If necessary, documentation will be requested and in some cases an adjustment to your financial aid award can be made.

Do scholarships, assistantships, or Residence Hall Staff positions affect my eligibility? expanding section

Yes. If it is necessary to reduce other financial aid as a result of a scholarship, assistantship and/or RA position, aid would be reduced in the following order: loans, work-study and grants. Report any scholarships or other resources on the 2016-17 Scholarship & Other Resources Notification Form or report it using the WINGS Student Center online “Report Other Financial Aid” link.

How can I be independent for financial aid purposes? expanding section

If you can answer 'YES' to any of the following questions: 

  • Are you 24 years old? 
  • Will you be working on a Master's Degree in the upcoming year? 
  • Are you married? 
  • Do you have children that you provide at least half of their support? 
  • Are you an orphan? 
  • Are you a veteran?
How much do I owe in student loans? expanding section

To view all of your federal loans, interest rates and the current holder of the loan and the contact information for that servicer, log in to

Planning for college and how to afford it isn't always the most fun or easy, but it sure helps reduce future stress when you have a plan in place!

Click on the image below to customize your own college plan!