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Paying for College

Wisconsin’s nonprofit independent colleges and universities are private— NOT pricey! Learn more about paying for your education and how to make the most of your financial aid and scholarship package. For the last decade, the average out-of-pocket tuition (tuition minus financial aid) at Wisconsin’s private, nonprofit colleges and universities has been under $6,000. The average out-of-pocket* tuition in 2020-2021 at these Wisconsin colleges was $4,236. Don’t let assumptions about high tuition stand in your way of a great education. There can be a big difference between the published price of college tuition and what you ultimately pay.

A Wisconsin private, nonprofit college financial aid package is designed specifically for your needs and can dramatically lower your costs.

*Out-of-pocket costs do not include payments on loans (federally subsidized, unsubsidized, or private).


The key to receiving most financial aid is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at After applying for admission to the institution(s) of your choice, file the FAFSA as soon as possible. For students applying for the 2024-2025 academic year, the filing period ends on June 30, 2024. 

Helpful tips:

  • Don’t wait to find out where you’ve been accepted to apply for financial aid! Colleges may have different deadlines for admission and financial aid. Be sure to contact your prospective college financial aid office for forms and deadlines.
  • The best way to ensure you receive aid—or to find out about scholarships and awards for which you qualify—is to ask. Financial aid professionals on campus are experts and are committed to helping you succeed. You can also ask your high school counselor for a list of scholarships.
  • Looking for help with filling out your FAFSA? For a list of virtual and in-person workshop dates, visit They’re here to help you and/or your parents or guardian along the way. You may also visit the  Fair Opportunity Project for free FAFSA assistance.

Doing the Math
To determine the net tuition, subtract your financial aid award (grants and loans) from the tuition “sticker price.” The average Wisconsin private, nonprofit college freshman financial aid package is made up of 77 percent grants and scholarships—money you won’t have to repay—instead of loans.