Frequently Asked Questions









Is it possible to graduate in 4 years? 
It is definitely possible to graduate in four years at UWM. We encourage students to develop a graduation plan in consultation with their academic advisors, and then meet with their advisors on a regular basis to ensure they remain on track. The Student Success Center is also a great resources for students interested in creating a graduation plan.

What majors do you offer?
UWM offers 180 degree programs — including 94 undergraduate, 53 master's and 32 doctoral — plus many cross-disciplinary certificate programs.

Do you need a computer?
There is no general computer requirement at UWM, however, certain programs do require students to have laptop computers. There are five general access computer labs located throughout the campus and most buildings offer standing computer stations for checking email or other web applications.

What is the average class size?
The average class size differs depending on both the type of the class and the enrollment for the particular course. Classes can be as small as 5 and as large as 400.

What if my student doesn't like or doesn't get along with his or her advisor?
UWM students have many different options for different advisors.  Let your student know that he or she can check with his or her respective Academic Advising office for details, or stop at the Student Success Center for advice.


What are your requirements for admission?
UWM is committed to excellence and access. We look for evidence of solid academic preparation, motivation and the potential for further development, so each application receives a comprehensive review. For more information, please review the Admission Guidelines.

What is the minimum ACT score?
UWM admits students with a wide range of standardized test scores.  There is no absolute minimum score, and this is just one factor among many that we consider.

What test(s) do you prefer? ACT or SAT?
Either is acceptable, but the ACT is the test more commonly taken by students in Wisconsin.

How does my student apply?
Your best bet is to apply online.  Complete the application form and submit it, along with other required materials by the appropriate deadline.  The electronic application form and detailed instructions may be found at

Is there an application deadline?
There are priority admission application deadlines, and certain programs do have earlier deadlines as well.

My student is planning on transferring.  Which of his or her credits will transfer to UWM?
The Admissions Office will examine your student’s transcripts from an accredited institution to determine how external courses equate to UWM courses. You may also want to review the Transfer Student Credit Policy.

How long does it take to process my student's application?
Generally, the average application processing and review time is three to four weeks from receipt of a complete application file. However, processing and review can take up to six weeks during peak processing times.


How much does it cost?
The cost varies, depending on enrollment status (undergraduate vs. graduate), residency (in-state vs. out-of-state), and whether a student lives on or off-campus. In addition, certain programs and courses may have additional fees. Take a look at the current tuition and fee facts for detailed information.

How is tuition determined?
The tuition is determined by the UW System Board of Regents in the summer preceding each academic year.  More information is available at the UW System website.

How do I pay my student's tuition and fees?
You can make payments online through your student's PAWS account. Detailed instructions are available to walk you through each step.

If you wish to pay by check, please make the check payable to "UW-Milwaukee" and include your student's identification number on the check. Checks can then be sent to the address on the billing coupon. If you do not have the billing coupon, send your payment to UW-Milwaukee, PO Box 500, Milwaukee, WI 53201-0500. Overnight payments should be sent to UW-Milwaukee Cashier's Office, Mitchell Hall Room 285, 3203 North Downer Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53211. 

Payments can also be made in person at the Cashier's Office in Mitchell Hall Room 285, or placed in the depository box outside 285, as long as the building is open.

How do we apply for financial aid?
All students and families are strongly encouraged to apply for financial aid every year. The first step in the process includes filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This should be done online at

March 1 is the priority filing date for enrollment that begins the following fall. However, many funds are limited, so you are encouraged to file as soon after January 1 as possible.

Contact the Department of Financial Aid, Student Employment, and Military Education Benefits for further information.

How does my student get his or her tax information?
Tax information is available through the Bursars office in Mitchell Hall room 285. Tax information is also mailed directly to the student.


What is living in a residence hall like? 
Life in university housing is truly an experience. There are a variety of housing communities available in Sandburg Halls, Purin Hall, RiverView Residence Hall, Cambridge Commons, and Living Learning Communities (LLCs).  In addition, Kenilworth Square is available for upper classmen and graduate students. Regardless which housing option your student chooses, he or she has access to laundry facilities, a variety of dining options, fitness equipment, computer labs and internet access, multiple gathering spaces, and movies and programs.

No matter which community your student lives in, trained and responsive staff members are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond to resident needs and concerns.

How can I get my student a housing contract?
When your student applies for admission, select “on campus housing” as the housing preference. This information is passed along to on campus housing for follow up.  Housing is awarded on a first come, first served basis to admitted students.

How does the meal plan work?
All students living in University Housing in suites that do not have kitchens must sign up for a meal plan. However, students living in Sandburg's East Tower or Cambridge Commons who do not sign up for a meal plan must still pay an administrative fee to assist with maintenance of dining facilities.

There are three tiers of meal plans, depending on how much food your student wants to eat. Students can use their meal plan at any dining facility on campus, however, if they use it in any of the housing cafeterias (Palm Gardens and the Sandburg, Riverview, and Cambridge Commons Cafeterias), they will only pay 50% of the cash price for each food item. Additionally, you or your student can add funds to the meal plan at anytime at or at the Cash Value Center outside Sandburg C134.

If any funds remain in the meal plan at the end of the academic year, they will be refunded to the student's PAWS account for a $10 administrative fee.

How far away are RiverView and Cambridge Commons from campus? Can you walk? 
Both facilities are approximately 1.5 miles from campus, which is a short bike ride away. It is possible to walk, but the university offers shuttle service 24 hours/day (click here for a detailed schedule), and students can also use the Be On the Safe Side vans to get to and from RiverView and Cambridge Commons from nearby off-campus locations in the evenings from 6 pm - 2 am.

Does everyone leave campus on the weekends? 
No. A large portion of the students remain on campus for most weekends. The UWM campus hosts events and activities every day of the week, and the City of Milwaukee offers a tremendous variety of entertainment options for students, including fantastic restaurants, a thriving performing arts scene, great movie theaters, professional and semi-professional sports organizations, and a beautiful lakefront. Many activities are within walking distance or a short bus ride away.

How can my student get involved on campus if they’re shy?
Join a student organization (there are over 300!), volunteer with the Center for Community-Based Learning, Leadership and Research, get a campus job, or get involved with the performing arts, Panther Athletics (varsity) sport clubs or intramurals. Additionally, in the first two weeks of the academic year, there are hundreds of events associated with Fall Welcome, which is a great chance for your student to meet new people and get to know UWM and all it has to offer!

How can my student get an internship or an on-campus job? 
Campus jobs and internships can be found in a number of different ways. Information about federal work study positions is available through the Financial Aid Office. The Career Development Center is a great resource for students and its website has a database of online job listings. Students can also check department web sites for any departments they are interested in, ask their advisors and instructors or check with their mentors.

What if my student doesn’t like or doesn’t get along with their roommate?  
Living with new people is one of the many challenges that students face when living away from home for the first time. Students living in on-campus housing can contact their RA for advice on how to deal with roommate issues.

How do I send mail to my student living in University Housing?
University Housing has a web page that outlines the appropriate mailing address format for each university housing facility.



Are drugs and alcohol a problem at UWM?
Each year, students at UWM and universities nationwide are profoundly affected by problems related to the use of alcohol and other drugs.  Substance use can cause interpersonal, academic, legal, and health concerns.  As a University, the safety, health, and well-being of our students are our top priorities. UWM does not condone the illegal use of alcohol or other drugs. We aim to provide students with the information and skills necessary to make healthy decisions with regards to substance use and to foster a community where students look out for one another and act responsibly to prevent alcohol and other drug-related problems for themselves and their peers.

How can I help my student make healthy decisions about alcohol or other drugs?
Talk to your students about alcohol and other drugs both before and throughout their college careers. Research shows that family members can have a powerful influence on the substance-related behaviors of college students. For instance, the children of parents who spoke with them about binge drinking prior to their arrival on campus displayed lower drinking tendencies and were less likely to experience negative alcohol-related consequences than those of their peers whose parents had not initiated discussions about these issues.

What can I do if I suspect that my student is experiencing problems as a result of alcohol or other drug use?
While most college students who use or experience problems as a result of alcohol or other drugs are not necessarily at the point of being addicted to these substances, some may still display behaviors that cause individuals close to them to become legitimately concerned about their substance use.  Behaviors of concern may include:

  • Continued use despite repeatedly experiencing problems as a result, such as fights or arguments with family or friends; interference with school, work, and other important responsibilities; or taking risks or getting seriously injured while under the influence.
  • Tendency to avoid events where substances will not be readily available or a propensity to consume quantities of alcohol or other drugs before attending these events.
  • Increased tolerance and difficulty cutting down or controlling level of use.
  • Becoming angry, defensive, or annoyed when their use of alcohol or other substance is discussed.
  • If you are worried about your student's substance use, express your observations and concerns in an open and nonjudgmental manner and offer to help your student connect with available resources.

What kind of alcohol/drug treatment services are available on campus?
Norris Health Center's Counseling Department provides alcohol and other drug screening, assessment, and treatment.  Call Norris Health Center at 414-229-4716 to schedule an appointment. 

The Alcohol and your College Experience (ACE) Program offers education, cognitive-behavioral skills, norms clarification, and motivational enhancement to individuals who are at-risk for experiencing or causing issues related to their personal alcohol use. 

Additionally, an online alcohol assessment and personalized feedback tool is available to all members of the UWM community at

What mental health concerns do UWM students experience?
UWM students experience a variety of mental health concerns that range from stress to mental disorders, or diagnosable clinical conditions.  The "top 4" issues that students receive counseling for at Norris Health Center are depression, anxiety, phase of life issues, and relationship issues.

What can I do if I suspect that my student is experiencing emotional distress?
Express your observations and concerns in an open and nonjudgmental manner, and offer to help your student connect with available resources.  Refer to this guide for information regarding warning signs and symptoms of emotional distress, as well as tips for broaching these topics with your student.

What mental health services are available on campus?  Who can my student contact if he or she experiences a mental health emergency?
Norris Health Center's Counseling Department offers confidential short-term services. These include individual counseling; couples or relationship counseling; alcohol and drug counseling; eating disorder screening/treatment; crisis intervention; and psychiatry services.  Students who are currently enrolled for class credits at UWM and have paid the student segregated fee are eligible for services at no cost.  With the exception of emergency situations, students are encouraged to phone or stop by the Norris Health Center to make an appointment in advance. Norris Health Center can be reached at 414-229-4716.

For students experiencing crisis situations or who have urgent needs that are not life threatening, a crisis counselor or member of the counseling staff is available to provide emergency screenings at the Norris Health Center between 8:00 am and 4:45 pm Monday through Thursday and between 9:00 am and 4:45 pm on Friday.  

For urgent matters that arise when Norris Health Center is closed, students may contact the Milwaukee County Crisis line at 414-257-7222.  This crisis line is answered twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

In the event of a life threatening emergency, call 911 (or 9-911 from a campus phone).


Why, if I am paying the bills, can I not see my student’s grades or get information?
The Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act of 1972 (FERPA) prohibits UWM from providing access to a college student's records without prior written authorization of the student. You can, however, receive information about your child if you submit proof that he/she is a dependent. Proof is considered to be a copy of the most recent year's federal tax form showing that you claimed your child as a dependent.  

In addition, students have the option of allowing their parents or other family members to access certain sections of their PAWS account by using  "Designate Access."  Through this special feature, students can provide up to three individuals with a login and password that will allow access to any or all of the following in PAWS: "To Do" items, financial aid, billing statements, grades, and the ability to make online payments.  If you would like to gain access to these features, ask your student to provide you with access. Once your student provides you with access, instructions and a tutorial are available to help you set up an account.

Who are some famous alumni?
Some of UWM's notable alumni are listed on the Alumni Association web site.

What is the campus policy for bad weather? 
The campus will close in the event of severe weather, although such closings are rare. Closures will be announced on the UWM home page and the Weather/Closing page.

Do you have a family weekend? 
Yes, we do. It is held during October.  More information is available at

My student forgot his or her ePanther ID/password! Who can give us that info? 
Your student can visit the Identity and Access Management site to change his or her password. Students can also visit any campus computer lab (bring photo identification) and ask to have your password re-set.

My student lost his or her PantherCard. How can he or she get a new one?
Have your student stop at the Enrollment Services Information Center in Mellencamp Hall, Room 274. Please note there is a $10 fee charged for all replacement cards.

Can I add money to my student's Gold (food) Account? 
Yes, you can add money to your student's Gold Account by sending a check to the PantherCard office (located in the UWM Union, PO Box 413, Milwaukee, WI, 53201-0413) stopping in-person at the Panther Card office (Union Room 161), UWM Bookstore, or Sandburg Halls Main Desk, or online 24/7 at


How safe is the area? 
UWM is a safe campus and surrounding community under the watchful eyes of the Milwaukee Police Department, UWM Police Department, B.O.S.S. (Be on the Safe Side), COAST Leaders, and the Office of Neighborhood Relations. If a student would like a safe ride or walk home they can contact B.O.S.S. at (414)229-6503 or SAFE Walk/University Police Non-Emergency (414)229-4627. For campus crime statistics, please view the Annual Security Report.

Who can my student contact if they’re in an unsafe situation? 
The UWM Police Department is a great resource to utilize in the event of an emergency. If on campus, students can call 9911 from a campus phone or 229-9911 from a cell phone for emergency assistance. The non-emergency number is 229-4627. If something happens in an area outside the UWM campus, students can always call 911 for Milwaukee Police assistance.


What transportation options are there for students around the area?
There are many methods of transportation that can be used to get around the area. B.O.S.S. (Be On the Safe Side) offers rides to UWM students from 6 p.m.-2 a.m. within defined boundaries on the east side of Milwaukee. Students can call (414) 229-6503 to request a ride.

Milwaukee County Transit Service has routes throughout Milwaukee County operating between 4:30 a.m. and 2 a.m., and riding is free when using UPASS, which is included in your student's tuition & fees. 

If your student lives in University Housing, there are shuttles between the main campus and Kenilworth Square, Cambridge Commons and RiverView that operate seven days a week.

Finally, students can use ZipCar, a car-sharing service available through University Housing.

Is there a ride board? How can my student get home (if from out of town)? 
Over 2700 students and staff have used ZimRide to arrange to share rides to and from campus as well as trips out of town. Many students have also made their ride boards on social networking sites such as Facebook. Additionally, MegaBus, Greyhound, Amtrak, and Badger Bus are also options for students wanting to travel out of town.

Is parking available for students? 
Yes, parking is available in many different lots both on campus and near campus in the U-Park parking lot. Shuttlles run from campus to the U-Park lot during the spring and fall semesters. 

Students can park free in the NWQ parking structure and the 4th and 5th levels of the Pavilion parking structure with a valid student ID. For more information and shuttle schedules, visit