Hey all! I thought I would talk this week about one of the common mistakes that I see students making—not reporting the outside aid that they are receiving. A lot of students think because they receive scholarships or grants from sources outside of the FAFSA and UWL Foundation Scholarships, that they do not need to be reported to the Financial Aid Office. This is not true, and I can help explain why.
When students are awarded financial aid, they are given their award based upon a few factors. One of the factors is their estimated cost to attend. The estimated cost to attend becomes the budget which is used to award aid to students—including federal loans, alternative loans, grants, and any scholarships. Because the estimated cost to attend is a budget, this means that students cannot be awarded over their given budget. Therefore, if a student does receive a scholarship from an external source, it MUST be reported to the Financial Aid Office so the counselors can go in and adjust your budget.
That being said, this should not discourage you from applying for financial aid or scholarships. As a student, you probably want all of the help that you can receive! It is always a good idea to apply for the FAFSA to see what kinds of federal aid you are eligible for. Likewise, it is always, always a good idea to apply for any scholarships that you are eligible for because you can be sure that you will not have to worry about paying that back! If you have any questions about the FAFSA, feel free to stop by our office in 215 Graff Main Hall, give us a phone call (608-785-8604), or send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org). Also, the Scholarship Resource Center has done an awesome job of creating an external scholarship database with TONS of external scholarships to apply for (uwlax.edu/scholarships).