These programs are designed to assist Badgers from low-income households pay for college through a combination of grants, work-study, and small loans. It includes a commitment to meeting a student’s financial need for four consecutive years.
About FASTrack & BANNER
What are the FASTrack and BANNER Programs?
The FASTrack program is our Financial Aid Security Track for Wisconsin Residents attending UW-Madison.
The BANNER Program is our Badger Aid for Non-Residents attending UW-Madison.
Both programs are designed to assist Badgers from low-income households pay for college through a combination of grants, small loans, and work-study. The programs commit to meeting a student’s financial need for four consecutive years.
Who is eligible?
Incoming freshmen who’s family receives public assistance, including Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Free or Reduced Price School Lunch, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, & Children (WIC).
How long can a student participate in the FASTrack/BANNER program?
Benefits from participating in either program are guaranteed for four (4) consecutive years or eight (8) consecutive semesters, not including summer.
- Why are only incoming freshman eligible for FASTrack/BANNER aid?
Do students need to apply for FASTrack/BANNER?
No. Eligible students are automatically placed into the FASTrack/BANNER program as they are admitted into UW-Madison and our office receives their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). No separate application is necessary and the Office of Student Financial Aid will notify eligible students via email and post mail.
If a student meets the criteria, are they guaranteed a spot in the program?
Spaces in both the FASTrack and BANNER programs are limited and not guaranteed. Students must have their FAFSA submitted by our December 1 priority deadline for the best chance at receiving a place in either program.
Is the FAFSA required?
Yes! All students eligible for FASTrack/BANNER aid are required to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and are required to do so on an annual basis.
Do students need to complete a FAFSA every year?
Yes. Students should complete their FAFSA by our priority deadline, December 1, each year. The Office of Student Financial Aid holds events throughout the fall semester to assist students with completing the FAFSA.
What if a FASTrack/BANNER student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) increases in a future academic year?
Once admitted into the program, students remain until they’ve used their full eligibility (4 years/8 semesters). FASTrack and BANNER guarantees to meet a student’s full financial need during that time, no matter how the EFC changes. If a student believe his/her family’s income will increase drastically they should make an appointment to speak with a financial aid advisor.
What if a FASTrack/BANNER student does not attend full-time?
We strongly encourage students to maintain full-time enrollment; however, FASTrack/BANNER will cover the student’s financial need for the number of credits that a student chooses to take. However, the program only guarantees funding for four (4) consecutive years.
What grants/scholarships will a FASTrack/BANNER student receive?
Students are offered both their full federal and state grant eligibility and UW-Madison meets the rest of their financial need through various institutional grants and scholarships. BANNER students are offered an institutional loan to cover a portion of their expenses.
Are students required to accept any offered loans?
No. Students have the option to accept the full amount, a partial amount or even decline the loan altogether. It is up to the discretion of the student and their financial needs.
How do outside scholarships affect a FASTrack/BANNER student’s financial aid offer?
Scholarships will first lower loans in a student’s financial aid offer. If no loan exists, grants are decreased to make room for the student to receive the full scholarship. Overall, the student doesn’t receive less funding, but cannot receive more than their financial need. Students should inform us if they are receiving a scholarship as soon as possible.
What if my financial aid offer doesn’t cover a FASTrack/BANNER student's full costs to attend?
The FASTrack/BANNER programs are committed to covering a student’s full financial need, which most times will help pay for tuition and fees, housing expenses, books, miscellaneous cost, travel, etc. However, because it cannot cover a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC), you will need to budget accordingly.
Using Your Federal Work-Study
What is work-study?
Work-study is federally funded financial aid in the form of part-time employment. Students can work on-campus or with approved off-campus employers to earn money for additional educational expenses. See the Work-study FAQ on our website for more information.
How do students receive payment from participating in work-study?
The money earned through work-study is not disbursed to students directly nor is it applied towards tuition or housing; to receive this money, students must earn it through working in a work-study position. Students will be paid a portion of their work-study award every two weeks through a paycheck, based on their hourly wage and the number of hours worked. Students can decide how to spend the money earned with each paycheck depending on their needs at the time. The minimum wage on campus is $9.00/hour.
Are FASTrack/BANNER students required to work?
We strongly encourage it. Working while in school can be a great way to not only help pay for living expenses, but also to be involved within the UW and local Madison community, meet new friends, discover new passions, learn about oneself, and gain valuable professional skills.
What types of jobs are available?
Work-study can be earned through any student part-time position offered by UW-Madison departments. In addition, work-study can also be earned through a position at any community based, non-profit organization in Madison. Most UW-Madison employers strongly prefer to hire students who have work-study awards and many community based, non-profit organizations will only hire students with a work-study award.
How do students find a job?
Visit the UW Student Jobs website to find hundreds of job opportunities available and it continues to be updated every day! Work-Study can be earned from any position offered at UW-Madison. You may also earn your Work-Study award from a position at any community based, non-profit organization in the surrounding Madison area. To find more information about these categories, visit the Federal Work-Study page on the Student Jobs website.
When should students start looking for a job?
The earlier the better! While UW-Madison jobs are posted throughout the year, the vast majority are posted throughout August and filled prior to the beginning of the Fall semester. It is recommended to check the Student Jobs website daily leading up to the beginning of school so that students can find the best opportunity for them. Job openings with both UW and non-UW employers continue to be posted daily on the Student Jobs website throughout the year.
What if the job is not work-study eligible; is that ok?
Yes, although we do strongly encourage working either on-campus or at local community non-profits. If the student chooses a non-work-study employer, the student would not earn any funds awarded from their work-study award, but it would remain in the award to represent the FASTrack/BANNER work expectation.
Can FASTrack/BANNER students receive other financial aid in place of work-study?
No. Whether the student chooses not to work or works in a non-work-study position, as a FASTrack/BANNER participant, it is not possible to switch work-study for another grant, scholarship, or loan.
Can students study on the job?
The name work-study can be misleading. Work-study jobs are no different from any other job in which students are expected to work in exchange for wages. Work-study jobs are real jobs that play an integral role in an organizations daily functions.