Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Students need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for State of Wisconsin need-based assistance.
The federal Department of Education passes applicable student information for Wisconsin residents to HEAB. Student and parental financial information provided on the FAFSA determines the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is included in the formulas developed by HEAB each year to calculate Wisconsin Grant (WG) and Talent Incentive Program (TIP) awards.
Male students seeking financial aid from the State of Wisconsin are required to register with the United States Selective Service System (SSS).
The Wisconsin Grant is the primary financial aid programs administered by HEAB. The WG population includes students attending two and four year UW campuses, Wisconsin Technical Colleges, non-profit independent colleges and universities based in Wisconsin and Tribal Colleges.
The FAFSA is the only application students need to complete to be considered for Wisconsin Grant.

Academic Excellence Scholarship

The Statute for the AES is 39.41; the rules are found in Chapter HEA 9 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code; and you may contact the Higher Educational Aids Board with specific questions.
The number of scholarships available to each school is based on that school's enrollment. Schools with 80 through 499 students enrolled in grades 9-12 are allocated one scholarship, schools with 500 through 999 students in grades 9-12 are allocated two scholarships, and so on.
Enrollment Number of scholarships
1-79 Compete statewide for 10 scholarships
80-499 1
500-999 2
1000-1499 3
1500-1999 4
2000-2499 5
Over 2500 6
Recipients of the AES receive $2,250 towards tuition, with HEAB providing half and the post secondary institution providing the other half.
HEAB sends nomination forms to high schools in January, to be completed and returned to HEAB by March 1.
Either system is acceptable. Use whichever system is normally used in the high school.
If the courses appear on the high school transcript and if they are regarded in all respects as high school courses, they should be included in the calculation of the GPA for purposes of the AES.
The school may contact HEAB and receive a waiver to calculate the GPA using only the academic subjects normally included in the GPA.
The high school should have a written policy stating the tie-breakers to be used, in the order in which they will be used. Typical tie breakers are ACT scores, or number of honors courses.
If you have a weighted grading system, wherein an A may be worth more grade points in some courses than in others, then you may list as alternates for the AES the students with the next highest GPAs. If you have an unweighted grading system, because of new legislation you may list as alternate the students with the next highest GPAs, not lower than 3.8.
You are encouraged to inform alternates of their status as such and of their rank order. Also, you should feel free to give recipients and alternates information on how to contact HEAB if they have any questions.
Generally, if the student is a senior at the time the winner of the scholarship is determined, then it does not matter when the student graduates. The student will receive the scholarship for the fall semester after he or she graduates.
In some cases (especially when there are no alternates involved), use of the scholarship may be deferred. Deferment is possible when the student is ill, or receives other scholarships through sources which may be short term for the student (for example, ROTC, other scholarships from specific schools, or scholarships from the parents' employer.) Otherwise, the scholarship must be used in the same year in which the student graduates from high school, starting with the fall term.
It is ESSENTIAL that the nominee return the WAES form. If a recipient does not give HEAB the name of the Wisconsin college he or she will attend, via the WAES form which is sent to the student in the spring, then HEAB cannot complete the student's record to allow for release of the funds. Also, if the student is not using the funds at a participating institution, he or she MUST release the scholarship before an alternate may receive it. Delays in sending the information and in sending the release to HEAB mean delays in awarding an alternate.
The name of the school the AES recipient is planning on attending is needed to make the program run more efficiently. It allows us to know which alternates may need to be contacted for further information about their plans.
Colleges in the University of Wisconsin system, including the two year campuses, colleges in the Independent College system, and colleges in the Wisconsin Technical College system all participate in the AES program. The AES CANNOT be used at schools located outside of the state of Wisconsin.

Hearing/Visually Impaired Student Grant

A student must have a severe to profound hearing or visual loss and demonstrate financial need to qualify for this grant. If the student has another disability, he/she should contact their local Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.
While an annual application is required for this grant, only the initial application requires medical certification to determine the degree of a hearing or visual impairment.
Under certain circumstances, a student can attend an out-of-state school and still be eligible for this grant.

Indian Student Assistance Grant

The student should contact the Bureau of Indian Affairs (Great Lakes Agency), Ashland, WI at (715) 682-4527. The Bureau will assist the student in tracing his/her Native-American Heritage.
The Tribal Education Offices often match or exceed the maximum $1,100 Indian Student Assistance Grant.

Minnesota-Wisconsin Tuition Reciprocity

A student must apply to HEAB and be approved to receive MN-WI Tuition Reciprocity. It is not automatic!
A student must submit a new reciprocity application to HEAB if he/she changes Minnesota schools.
A MN-WI Reciprocity application must be postmarked no later than the last day of scheduled classes of the first term for which a student expects to receive benefits under the agreement.

Nursing Student Loan

To apply for this loan, students must complete and file a FAFSA. They should then notify the financial aid office that they are interested in receiving a loan under the program.
There is a minimum loan of $250 and a maximum of $3,000 per school year. There is a cumulative total of $15,000.
This loan is forgiven at the rate of 25% in each of the first two years of full-time work as a nurse in Wisconsin, for a maximum of 50%.
Borrowers go into repayment on the remaining 50% of the loan when the forgiveness period is completed. If the borrower does not practice as a nurse in Wisconsin upon graduation, the borrower will have a six month grace period and then repayment will begin on the outstanding balance.

Talent Incentive Program (TIP) Grant

An initial TIP award may only be given to a Wisconsin resident first-time freshman, enrolled at least half-time in a degree or certificate program, who demonstrates financial need and who comes from a non-traditional or educationally-disadvantaged background.
A first-time freshman is a student who has been enrolled in a post-secondary institution for less than two semesters at half or greater time since attending high school.
  • Family Contribution
    1. A dependent student whose expected parent contribution is $200 or less.
    2. An independent student whose academic year contribution is $200 or less.
  • TANF or W2 Benefits
    1. A dependent student whose family is receiving TANF or W2 benefits.
    2. An independent student who is receiving TANF or W2 benefits.
  • Unemployment
    1. A dependent student whose parent(s) are ineligible for unemployment compensation and has/have no current income from employment.
    2. An independent student (and spouse, if married) who is/are ineligible for unemployment compensation and has/have no current income from employment.
PLEASE NOTE! An eligible initial TIP recipient must meet at least one of the financial need criteria AND at least one of the non-traditional / educationally-disadvantaged criteria.
  • The student is or will be enrolled in a special academic support program due to insufficient academic preparation.
  • The student is a first-generation post-secondary student (neither parent graduated from a four-year college or university).
  • The student is handicapped according to the Department of Workforce Development, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) or according to the Special Needs or Disabilities Office on Wisconsin college or university campuses which use the Americans with Disabilities Act definition.
  • The student is currently or was formerly incarcerated in a correctional institution.
  • The student's environmental or academic background is such that it deters the pursuit of educational plans.
PLEASE NOTE! An eligible initial TIP recipient must meet at least one of the financial need criteria AND at least one of the non-traditional / educationally-disadvantaged criteria.
The TIP Grant is available at all University of Wisconsin campuses and Wisconsin Technical Colleges, as well as non-profit independent colleges and universities based in Wisconsin, and Wisconsin tribal colleges.
The student must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). A student may be nominated for the TIP Grant by their school financial aid office or by a counselor of the Wisconsin Educational Opportunity Programs. Any additional forms will be provided by the school financial aid office or the nominating WEOP counselor.
Only first-time freshmen are eligible for an initial TIP award. A student who received the TIP Grant as a freshman may continuing to receive the TIP Grant for a total of 10 semesters (including the freshman year), but a student cannot receive an initial TIP award after their first year in school.
To be eligible for a continuing TIP award, the student must:
  • continue to be a Wisconsin resident enrolled at least half-time in a degree or certificate program
  • make satisfactory academic progress toward their degree or certificate
  • continue to demonstrate financial need