Financing a College Education is a SHARED RESPONSIBILITY between...
- Students and Parents
- Federal and State Governments
- Private Sources
There are no programs administered by the Higher Educational Aids Board for the State of
Wisconsin that cover the entire cost of a college or university education.
THE FIRST STEP -
To apply for financial aid, students must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
(FAFSA). This form may be filed online at https://fafsa.ed.gov/.
Paper applications are available from high school guidance offices or college financial aid offices.
Students may file the FAFSA beginning on January 1, for the upcoming academic year.
Using the FAFSA data, the federal Department of Education will determine the student's Expected
Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is based on income, non-home assets, family size, age of
parents, number of parents working, number in college, etc, and is the standard measurement of a
family's ability to pay for a college education. This standard is applied to all students in
determining their financial need.
After the student submits the FAFSA, the Department of Education will send the student a report
called the Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR lists the information that was reported on the FAFSA,
as well as the student's EFC. It is very important that the student review this information when
it is received and immediately fix any incorrect information. Failing to do so could delay the
application and result in a loss of available aid.
THE SECOND STEP -
On the FAFSA, the student lists the colleges they plan to attend. Information calculated using
the FAFSA data is forwarded to these colleges for each individual student. Each college financial
aid office determines the Cost of Education, which includes tuition and fees, room and
board, books and supplies, and transportation. This amount will vary from college to college. The
student's EFC does not vary by college; it remains constant.
The student's Financial Need is determined by subtracting their EFC from the cost
Cost of Education
- Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
= Financial Need
THE THIRD STEP -
The college financial aid office will award aid to meet the student's financial need. Because the
cost of education varies from college to college, the student's financial need and their aid package
will also be different at different colleges. To find out the amount of a financial aid package, the
student should contact the college or university financial aid office.
The financial aid package can include grants, scholarships, loans, and student employment.
Funding for this aid may be provided by the federal government, the state government, the college's
own funds, and from private organizations.
The college financial aid office is the best source of information regarding the student's
financial aid package. For information on contacting the financial aid offices of colleges and
universities in Wisconsin, please see our Financial Aid Application
Information page. (Use the BACK button on your browser to return to this page.)
STATE OF WISCONSIN FINANCIAL AID
To be eligible for Wisconsin state financial aid, a student must:
- Be a resident of the state of Wisconsin
- Have a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent
- Be enrolled in a degree or certificate program
- Be attending a non-profit college or university based in Wisconsin
- University of Wisconsin System
- Wisconsin Technical College System
- Independent Colleges and Universities
- Tribal Colleges
State statutes prohibit students from receiving state financial aid who are:
- Not registered with Selective Service, if required to register.
- Listed on the Department of Workforce Development’s statewide Child Support Lien Docket, unless
the student has an approved payment plan. (Students on the Lien Docket may still receive state
Through the Higher Education Aids Board, the State of Wisconsin provides financial aid to
Wisconsin residents including:
- Grants - gift aid based on financial need
- Scholarships - gift aid based on merit
- Loans - aid which must be repaid, but may be forgiven under specific circumstances
HEAB also administers:
- Tuition Reciprocity Agreements - reduce out-of-state tuition for Wisconsin residents at
specific out-of-state schools
- Tuition Capitation Contracts - provide fixed tuition subsides for limited numbers of
Wisconsin residents at specific graduate-level professional schools.
For more information on State of Wisconsin financial aid provided through HEAB, please see our Financial Aid Programs page. Please also see our Frequently Asked Questions page for answers to common questions. (Use the BACK
button on your browser to return to this page.)