Types of Grants

Federal Pell Grants

Federal Pell Grants are only awarded to undergraduate students who have not earned a bachelor's or professional degree. Annual Pell award amounts are tied to the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as determined by the information provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Additionally, how much money a student receives under the Federal Pell Grant program is based on financial need, cost of attendance, and whether enrolled as a part-time or full-time student (enrollment status). Full-time enrollment is defined as a credit load of at least 12 credits. There are three part-time enrollment status levels under the Pell program, including 9-11 credits, 6-8 credits, and 1-5 credits. Each level has a different Pell award amount with the amount being progressively prorated to reflect the lower enrollment status.

Pell Grants do not have to be repaid, except under certain circumstances such as withdrawal from classes or due to a change in enrollment status. A change in enrollment status entails moving from full-time to part-time enrollment or to a lower level of part-time enrollment. This may occur when dropping a class before it starts or failing to begin attendance in all classes within a term, including accelerated/module courses starting later in a term. In such instances, the Pell Grant will be adjusted for the change in enrollment status and corresponding Pell award.

Pell Grant Lifetime Maximum Set at 6 Years

In December 2011, the Consolidated Appropriations Act was signed into law (Public Law 112-74). This law enacted specific changes to the Federal Pell Grant Program. Beginning Fall 2012, students are limited to the equivalent of 6 years / 12 semesters / 600% of Pell Grant eligibility during their lifetime. This change affects all students regardless of when or where they received their first Pell Grant award. Once a student has used 600% of his or her Pell Grant eligibility, he or she will no longer be eligible to receive a Pell Grant. For additional information from the US Department of Education on this issue, review: Federal Pell Grant Lifetime Maximum.

Purchasing Textbooks Using Financial Aid

Students awarded a Pell Grant or other federal aid programs, including Direct Loans, may be extended a line of credit to purchase books and supplies (those supplies required by the professor, such as art/lab) before the start of the term. For those who utilize the line of credit, a charge for the book purchases will be posted on the student's UWC account. Once a student's financial aid is applied toward tuition and applicable fees, aid also will be applied to cover the student's book charges.

To be eligible, a student:

  • needs to have been awarded aid at least ten days prior to the start of the semester
  • must have total financial aid ready for disbursement that exceeds tuition and fees (and other applicable charges) on the student's UWC account. The student's anticipated aid refund must be at least $50. For an aid type to be included in aid ready for disbursement:
    • for a Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loan award accepted in PRISM by the student, loan entrance counseling and a Direct Loan MPN also must be have been completed by the student
    • the student must not have any issues that would prevent aid from disbursing, such as failing Satisfactory Academic Progress, or any PRISM Service Indicators that block aid disbursement
    • the student must be enrolled for the minimum credits required for the respective aid program (at least 6 credits are required for most aid types)

The UW Colleges Student Financial Aid Office will notify students eligible for a book line of credit via email. Emails will be produced beginning three weeks prior to the start of each semester and usually are generated through the first week of classes as additional students become eligible. Students should follow the instructions provided to ensure books are obtained in a timely matter and by the processing deadline. All pertinent information will be included in the email to students.

Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)

FSEOG is for undergraduates with exceptional financial need and gives priority to students who receive Federal Pell Grants. Exceptional need is defined as students with the lowest Expected Family Contributions (EFCs). Recipients must be enrolled at least half time (6 or more credits). FSEOG doesn't have to be paid back. Since FSEOG is a limited fund, UW Colleges must have the results of a student's FAFSA by the priority deadline set for each academic year in order for the student to be considered for this grant. UW Colleges awards a maximum of $1000 per academic year in FSEOG.

Wisconsin Grant 

The Wisconsin Grant provides grant assistance to undergraduate, Wisconsin residents enrolled at least half time (6 or more credits). The Wisconsin Grant does not have to be repaid. Awards are based on financial need. Receipt of Wisconsin Grant funds is capped at ten semesters.

Award amounts are determined annually by the State of Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board (HEAB). Wisconsin Grant funding is limited. Once the institution's Wisconsin Grant allocation is committed, Wisconsin Grant-eligible students will be placed on a pending award list. With limited funding if a student’s aid eligibility is lost at any point during the award year, Wisconsin Grant funds may not be available for a Wisconsin Grant-awarded student even if aid eligibility is regained at a later date.

Wisconsin Talent Incentive Program (TIP)

The Talent Incentive Program (TIP) Grant provides grant assistance to the most financially-needy and educationally-disadvantaged Wisconsin resident students attending colleges and universities in the State of Wisconsin. A TIP Grant does not have to be paid back. First-time freshmen students are nominated for the TIP Grant by the school financial aid offices or by counselors of the Wisconsin Educational Opportunity Programs (WEOP). To continue to receive the TIP Grant, students must be enrolled consecutive terms and continue to show financial need. Eligibility cannot exceed ten semesters. Funding for the TIP Grant is provided by both the State of Wisconsin and the Federal Government. The maximum TIP award is $1800 per academic year.

Wisconsin Indian Student Assistance Grant

Awards under this program are made to Wisconsin residents who are at least 25% Native American. The Wisconsin Indian Student Assistance Grant does not have to be paid back. Awards range from $250 to $1,100 and are based on financial need with a limit of ten semesters of eligibility. The Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board can provide more information.

Wisconsin Hearing and Visually Handicapped Student Grant

The Handicapped Student Grant Program was established to provide funding for undergraduate Wisconsin residents, who show financial need and have a severe or profound hearing or visual impairment. Students are eligible to receive up to $1,800 per year for up to ten semesters. The Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board can provide more information.