Leaving UW

Loan Repayment

While you, the student, are enrolled half-time or higher in a degree program your loans will be in in-school deferment status.

Your Federal Direct Subsidized loans, Federal Perkins loans, and institutional loans will not accrue interest while you are in school. However, Federal Unsubsidized and Private Student Loans will accrue interest throughout the life of the loan.

Once you drop below half-time enrollment all student loans will enter grace period status (either 6 or 9 months depending on the loan type), followed by repayment status.

Your assigned loan servicer will be in contact with you during school and during your grace period to prepare you for repayment. Your first loan payments are normally due a month after the grace period ends. A listing of all the federal loan services can be found online Federal Student Aid – Who’s My Loan Servicer?

**The Supreme Court issued a decision blocking the Biden Administration from moving forward with their one-time student debt relief plan. Federal Direct Loan payments paused during COVID-19 will resume in October 2023.**
Read more about RESTARTING repayment.
Read more about entering repayment for the first time.

Federal Direct Loan History via My Federal Student Aid

Log in using your FSA ID.  You will see a list of your federal loans borrowed to date. Click on the number next to each loan to find the interest rate, loan status and contact information for the company who is servicing the loan.

Perkins & Institutional Loan History – ECSI

Serviced by UW-Madison, your full history of both Perkins & other Institutional loans can be found online through ECSI.

Private Educational Loans

Contact the bank or credit union that you borrowed from directly or review your credit report.

Exit counseling is an online tutorial that reviews the loan terms of the loans you borrowed and gives you a chance to review your loan details, repayment plans and update your contact information. You will receive emails from the school if you need to complete loan exit counseling. This usually happens right before you graduate or just after you drop below half-time enrollment.

Federal Direct Loans – https://studentaid.gov/app/counselingInstructions.action?counselingType=exit

Federal Perkins & Institutional Loans – https://heartland.ecsi.net/

Your loan servicer has probably been in contact with you since you borrowed your loans. They will encourage you to set up an account on their website so you can learn about the following:

  • When your loan grace period(s) end:
    • Subsidized and Unsubsidized Federal Direct Loans have a 6 month grace period.
    • Perkins & Institutional loans have a 9 month grace period.
    • Private loans typically have a 6 month grace period, but you’ll need to confirm the length with your lender.
  • When your first payment is due and how much the payment will be.
  • What your interest rate is for each loan

Federal Student Aid – Who’s My Loan Servicer?

Federal Perkins & Institutional Loans – https://heartland.ecsi.net/

Federal Direct Loans
Use the Federal Student Aid Loan Simulator to review what your monthly payment would be in all the various repayment plans, and then choose one that suits your financial situation. Work with your loan servicer to get the plan set up before your first payment is due.

Federal Direct Loan Forgiveness Programs
The Department of Education offers two loan forgiveness programs to encourage borrowers to enter full-time public service or teach in certain high-need areas in high-need subjects.

Perkins & Institutional Loans
Set up repayment through Heartland ECSI – https://heartland.ecsi.net/

Consolidation Loans
A consolidation loan combines multiple loans into one large loan.  More detailed information can be found online, Federal Student Aid – Student Loan Consolidation.

  • Federal Subsidized, Unsubsidized, GradPLUS, and Perkins Loans can be consolidated together, but NOT institutional or private loans.
  • Consolidation extends payment period up to 25 years, depending on the amount you owe.
  • A new interest rate is calculated and based on a weighted average of all loans put into consolidation.
  • Your grace period ends once the consolidation is final, so complete consolidation near the end of your grace period, if possible.
  • Subsidized Direct Loan and Perkins loans will begin to accrue interest once you consolidate them so complete consolidation near the end of your grace period, if possible.

Setting up automatic loan payments from your bank account every month means your payments will never be late! If you’ve got a Federal Direct Loan, signing up automatic payments may also make you eligible for a 0.25% monthly interest rate reduction. Work with your loan servicer to get automatic loan payments set up before your first payment is due.

UW–Madison has partnered with Ascendium Education Solutions® and its Repayment Support team to answer your federal student loan questions, navigate repayment, and help you find and implement an affordable repayment plan. Because there are scams and fraudsters taking advantage of students, we want to make sure you know Ascendium is a trusted resource for you.

There’s absolutely no cost to you, and you can confidently talk with them to get help!

Don’t hesitate to call their Student Loan Success Center if you have questions or concerns about repaying your federal student loans.

Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. CT


If you have received Federal financial aid and choose to withdraw from the semester, federal regulations requires us to determine if any of your financial aid must be returned.

Details on how to withdraw can be found on the Registrar's Office website https://registrar.wisc.edu/withdraw/.

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Dates & Deadlines

Withdrawal Date – the date in which you began the withdrawal process, which can either be through dropping all of your classes via your Student Center or by requesting to withdraw through your school or college’s dean’s office.

We have 45 days from when a withdraw process begins to return the necessary funds.

Return of Funds Calculation

The federal formula employs the concept that financial aid is earned in direct proportion to the time enrolled. For a student who withdraws, the percentage of federal financial aid to be returned is equal to the number of calendar days remaining in the semester divided by the total number of calendar days in the semester. For example, if a student withdraws after completing 25% of the term, then they have earned 25% of their federal financial aid for the term and must return the remaining 75%.

A student who withdraws after 60% of the term has passed is considered to have earned 100% of their federal aid for the term and is not required to return any of their federal aid under the formula.

We strongly encourage students to meet with a financial aid advisor to discuss the implications of withdrawing.


OSFA takes care of both the amounts to be returned by the school as well as those amounts to be returned by the student. The student is then sent a letter informing them that as a result of their withdrawal, they now owe money to their student account, and that they will receive a separate bill from the Bursar’s Office.

The school satisfies its responsibility by repaying funds in the student’s package in the following order:

  1. Direct Unsubsidized Loan
  2. Direct Subsidized Loan
  3. Perkins Loan
  4. Graduate PLUS
  5. PLUS
  6. Pell Grant
  7. SEOG
  8. TEACH
  9. Iraq/Afghanistan Service Grant

Refund Policy

If a student withdraws from school during the first four weeks of the semester he or she will qualify for an adjustment in the amount of tuition and fees paid as follows:

100% tuition & fees refund during 1st and 2nd weeks
50% tuition & fees refund during 3rd and 4th weeks 

If the student received federal financial aid for the semester, the refund will first be used to repay any amounts owed to the aid funds according to the repayment formula. Any refund remaining after the repayment calculation has been satisfied will go to repay aid in the following order:

  1. State Grants (Wisconsin Grant, WI Covenant, TIP, etc)
  2. Institutional Loans
  3. Private Loans
  4. Other Federal Loans (NSL, HPPL, HPML)
  5. Institutional Grants

If a credit balance occurs on the student’s account as a result of the calculation, the credit balance will be sent to the student through the University’s standard refund procedures and no later than 14 days after the calculation is complete.

Unofficial Withdrawals

If a student leaves school without providing notification, we have 30 days after the end of the term to identify the student as unofficially withdrawn and use the federal formula to determine if funds need to be returned.

These students are identified as those who are federal financial aid recipients and who received all non-passing grades for the term – any combination of F, NW, NR, or U.

The student must provide documentation from the instructors of each of their classes, including any classes they dropped, verifying that the student did participate in the class. If the student did not complete the class, then we ask that the instructor’s documentation also include the date the student last participated in an academically-related activity. Academically-related activities include attending class, turning in an assignment, taking a quiz or exam, or contacting the instructor about the academic subject studied in the class, but does not include academic advising.

Post Withdrawal Disbursements

We must disburse, or offer to disburse, earned financial aid that could have been disbursed prior to withdrawal, but was not. “Could have been disbursed” means the student was eligible to receive it at the time they withdrew.

Students able to receive a post-withdrawal disbursement will have any eligible Title IV grant funds disbursed within 45 days.  A student has 14 days to opt to borrow any eligible loan funds that could have been disbursed and the University will disburse those funds within 30 days. of the student’s notice.

All post-withdrawal disbursements are applied to the student account first. A post-withdrawal disbursement will be made as soon as possible but within 45 days of the student’s withdrawal date or, in the case of loans, 30 days after the students opts to borrow additional funds.  If a late disbursement is required due to an error, it must be made within 180 days of the date the institution determines that the student withdrew.

If a credit balance occurs on a student’s account after the return of funds calculation and/or post-withdrawal disbursement, a refund will be sent to the student using the Bursar’s Office standard refund procedures, but no later than 14 days after the calculation is complete.