Financial Aid

Application Process

1. Apply for scholarships

Once you have been admitted to the University, you will be able to apply online for scholarships.  You can apply online using the UW-River Falls Scholarship System.  The deadline may vary each academic year, so if you have questions, you can email  If you have been chosen as a recipient, the scholarship will be listed with your financial aid. You can also view our compilation of outside scholarships and visit your local library to find organizations offering scholarships. If you are a current high school student, your guidance counselor is also an excellent resource for finding scholarship opportunities. 

2. Complete FAFSA online

If you are interested in receiving federal and state financial aid, you must complete a FAFSA application. The FAFSA is available after January 1st each year. Complete your FAFSA as early as possible so that your aid is packaged in time for the start of fall semester and so that all aid types you may be eligible for are still available. You must complete a FAFSA on an annual basis.

For faster processing, apply for a FSA ID to electronically "sign" the FAFSA. As a result of filing the FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the federal processor. If you provide an email address on the FAFSA, you will receive the SAR via email. Retain this document for your records. Do NOT submit the SAR to the UW-River Falls Financial Aid Office, unless specially requested to do so.

Prospective students: If you would like to get an early estimate of your financial aid eligibility, complete our Net Price Calculator. Remember, this is purely an estimate, and your real financial aid awards may differ from your calculator results.

3. Submit verification forms if requested by the UW-River Falls Financial Aid Office

By federal regulation, the US Department of Education can select your FAFSA to go through a verification process. If your application is selected, the Financial Aid Office will send you a Verification Worksheet with a request for you to submit tax data to our office. Our Submit Verification Documents page explains how you must submit tax data to us. Verification must be complete before your federal financial aid will be awarded. You can also see if your application has been selected for verification in your To-Do List in eSIS.

4. Accept or Decline Awards on eSIS

Once you have completed a FAFSA (and have verified your information, if requested), you will receive a Financial Aid Award Letter by email listing the financial aid you are eligible to receive. Go to Types of Aid to get detailed information on each award listed. In general, grants are gift-aid that do not need to be repaid and are accepted on your behalf, while Work Study and loans are self-help aid which you need to accept if you decide you want these awards. Your aid package is likely to include a loan. If it does, carefully consider the amount of loan you wish to accept. You can accept less than the amount listed, or you can decline the loan entirely if you can finance your education without it. Carefully review the Understanding Your Award guide and complete all required actions in order to receive your awards.

Accept or decline your awards:

  1. From your eSIS home page (your Student Center), click on View Financial Aid.
  2. Choose the correct aid year.
  3. View your award information for the year and read through the information provided.
  4. Click on Accept/Decline Awards. You need to accept, decrease, or decline the amount of any Work Study and/or loan awards on this page. Click on the "Accept" box next to an award if you want the full amount. To decrease an amount, click on the "Accept" box and enter your desired lesser amount. Click on the "Decline" box to fully decline the award.
  5. Click Submit when finished. Once you have accepted or declined an award online, the amount cannot be changed without contacting the UW-River Falls Financial Aid Office.

5. Review your enrollment status

The number of credits you are enrolled in is your "enrollment status". If you are NOT yet registered for classes at this time, your financial aid is based on full-time enrollment status by default. If you plan to be less than full-time, contact our office. Your award amounts are not final and will not disburse until your aid is based on your actual enrollment status. It is your responsibility to verify that your class schedule is correct by the 5th day of class each semester because your financial aid will not be re-evaluated after the 5th day if you add or drop a class.

6. Apply for Minnesota Tuition Reciprocity

Wisconsin and Minnesota have an agreement to provide in-state tuition to students. If you are a Minnesota resident, you can apply for reciprocity online. It can take up to 6 weeks for the Minnesota Office of Higher Education to process this application, so early submission is recommended.

7. Report all anticipated resources

Federal regulations require that we consider all outside resources you may receive to finance your education. Your federal and state financial aid eligibility may change if you receive any outside scholarships, grants, DVR assistance, etc. Promptly notify us of any such outside resources so any necessary adjustments can be made to your award as soon as possible. Send an email to and list the following: name of scholarship/resource, amount to be received, and which semester you anticipate the organization will send the money.

8. Federal Stafford/Perkins Loan Processing

If you are borrowing a Federal Stafford and/or Perkins Loan for the first time at UW-River Falls, you must complete additional steps online before your loan(s) will be processed and disbursed to the UW-River Falls Accounts Receivable Office. You must complete Loan Entrance Counseling and sign the Master Promissory Note. Visit our Processing Your Loans page to complete these additional steps.

9. Apply for additional loans if needed

If additional aid is needed above and beyond federal and state financial aid, parent PLUS loans, SELF loans for Minnesota residents, and alternative loans can be considered. For information on each of these loans and instructions on applying, visit our Loans page.

10. Financial Aid Disbursements

Financial Aid begins disbursing on the 6th day of each semester. This 6th day of each semester is called the Financial Aid census date and is a 'snapshot' of your enrollment at the beginning of that day. Your disbursement and your Pell eligibility are based upon your enrollment at the census date regardless of your enrollment before or after that snapshot. So if you are a financial aid student, it is critical that your financial aid is complete and that you have finalized any course adds/drops before that date.

Financial aid awards are usually divided into two equal payments for fall and spring semesters. You need to become familiar with your eSIS account online to ensure that all funds disburse and are applied to your bill correctly. It is your responsibility to monitor your account to ensure that your bill has been paid or arrangements for payment have been made with the Student Billing Office. Monitor the Billing Statement and Pending Aid areas of your eSIS account regularly, and contact the Financial Aid office if your aid does not disburse when anticipated.

11. Sign up for Direct Deposit for refunds

Financial aid will be disbursed directly to UW-River Falls to pay your tuition, fees, housing, dining, and other charges on your account. If your aid and/or payments exceed the amount of your semester bill, a refund of the excess amount will be produced. To receive your refund, you must sign up for Direct Deposit through your eSIS after you accept your awards:

  1. Log into your eSIS account at with your Falcon Account username and password.
  2. From your eSIS home page (your Student Center), click the Make Online Payment Here button (under the Finances section). You may need to unblock pop-ups for this new window to appear.
  3. Select Direct Deposit on the left and enter your bank account information.
    Parent PLUS Loan recipients will receive letters explaining PLUS Loan refunds.
  4. Contact the Student Billing Office at 715.425.3145 if you do not have a bank account available for direct deposit of refunds.

12. Transfer Students

Transfer students who have already completed a FAFSA for the current academic year do not need to complete it again. Instead, log in at, and select the "Add or Delete a School Code" link. Add UW-River Falls’ school code: 003923. Financial aid will not automatically transfer from one school to the next.

13. Retaining eligibility for financial aid

To maintain eligibility for federal financial aid, you must make Satisfactory Academic Progress.