Apply for Aid

Application Process

1. Apply for Scholarships

UW-River Falls offers scholarships for which you can apply annually. The scholarships are funded by the UW-River Falls Foundation through contributions from alumni, faculty and staff, friends, parents, campus organizations, and corporations. Over 800 scholarships totaling more than $900,000 are typically awarded. For more information on how to apply, please see UWRF Scholarships.

You can view our listing 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 2023-2024 FAFSA was open as of October 1, 2022, and the 2024-2025 FAFSA is expected to open in December 2023. We will update our website when we have the exact date.

The FAFSA must be completed for each academic year. Complete your FAFSA as early as possible so that your aid is packaged in time to allow for the start of the fall semester and so that all aid types you may be eligible for are still available.

For faster processing, apply for an 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 your FAFSA, you will receive the SAR via email. Retain this document for your records. Do NOT submit the SAR to UW-River Falls Financial Aid Office, unless specifically 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.

For more information on completing the FAFSA, please see Filling out the FAFSA Form.


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 for a process called verification. If selected, the Financial Aid Office will send you an email notifying you that additional information is needed. You can view the information needed on your eSIS To Do List, and download any necessary Financial Aid forms on your To Do List from our Submit Verification Documents page, which also includes more information on the verification process and submitting information. Verification must be completed before your federal financial aid will be awarded.

4. Accept or Decline Awards in eSIS

Once you have completed your FAFSA and any verification requirements, you will receive an email with your financial aid award details. You can also view your financial aid in eSIS, under "View Financial Aid". Please see Types of Aid for detailed information on each award listed.

  • Grants are gift-based aid that do not need to be repaid and are accepted on your behalf.
  • Work Study and loans are self-help aid which you need to accept if you decide you want to use these funds.

Your aid package is likely to include a loan; if it does, carefully consider the amount of loan you wish to accept. You can reduce or completely decline the loan entirely if you can finance your education without it. Carefully review the Award Guide and complete all required actions to receive your financial aid. Please refer to Viewing and Accepting Your Aid for more details.

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, 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. If it 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. Please see Receiving Your Aid - Paying Your Bill and Refunds for more details.

6. Apply for Minnesota Tuition Reciprocity

Wisconsin and Minnesota have an agreement to provide comparable in-state tuition rates charged at a similar Minnesota school. If you are a Minnesota resident, you can apply for tuition 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, such as scholarships and grants, you receive to finance your education. Your federal and state eligibility may change if you receive any outside funding such as grants, scholarships, DVR assistance, etc. Promptly notify us of any such outside resources so necessary adjustments can be made to your award as soon as possible by completing the Outside Resource Notification Form.

8. Federal Direct Loan Processing

If you are borrowing a Federal Direct Loan for the first time at UW-River Falls, you must complete additional steps before your loan(s) will be processed and disbursed to the UW-River Falls Billing Office. You must complete Entrance Loan Counseling and sign the Master Promissory Note. Check out the First-time Federal Student Loan Borrower Instuctions on how 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, additional loans can be considered. For more information, please see our Personal Loans page regarding SELF Loans (Minnesota Residents) and Private/Alternative Loans and Parent PLUS Loans page for parent loans.

10. Financial Aid Disbursements

Financial aid begins disbursing to your student account approximately 1 week before the beginning of each semester. For finanical aid to disburse, all finanical aid items on your eSIS To Do List must be completed and aid must be accepted in eSIS. Additionally, new (both first year and transfer) students must have submitted an official High School Transcript to the Admissions Office showing yoru graduation date for finanical aid to disburse.

The 6th day of each semester is called the Financial 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. If you receive financial aid, it is critical your financial aid is complete and that you have finalized any course adds or 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 to ensure that all funds disburse to your billing account. It is your responsibility to monitor your account ensuring your bill has been paid or arrangements for payments have been made with the Billing Office. Monitor your Billing Statement, Pending Aid, and View Financial Aid areas of your eSIS account 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 to your UW-River Falls billing account to pay toward your tuition, fees, housing, dining, and other charges on your billing account. If your financial aid and/or payments exceed the amount of your semester bill, a refund of the excess amount will be processed. To receive your refund, you must sign up for Direct Deposit through your eSIS. For more information, please see Refund Processing. Contact the Student Billing Office at 715-425-3145 if you do not have a bank account available for direct deposit or if you have any questions.

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 to your FAFSA and proceed to the School Selection section to "Add More Schools". UW-River Falls' school code is 003923. Financial aid will not automatically transfer from one school to the next. 

13. Retaining Eligibility for Financial Aid

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