How do I apply for financial aid?

To apply for most financial aid, you will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This form is used to determine federal, state and MSOE need based aid. The Federal Student Aid website also has several webinars and resources that may be helpful when filing the FAFSA. Please visit our Financial Aid Application Process page for step by step instructions through the whole process.

Students and families who elect not to file the FAFSA will only be eligible for MSOE Institutional Scholarships You must notify the Financial Aid Office yearly if you are electing not to file the FAFSA.

Why should I complete the FAFSA when I know I won't qualify for aid?

Students wishing to take out Federal Direct Student Loans will need to file the FAFSA to be eligible. MSOE also uses the FAFSA to award institutional grants. Students who are out of state students may file the FAFSA to receive the MSOE Opportunity Grant. If you would like an estimate of what financial aid you can receive without filing the FAFSA, you may look at MSOE’s Net Price Calculator for an estimate.

How much does it cost to attend MSOE?

MSOE lists both billed and non-billed charges on our Cost of Attendance page.

If my parents are legally separated or divorced but filed taxes jointly in the year utilized by the FAFSA, do I need to include their joint financial information on the FAFSA?

No. Only the parent with whom you resided the longest during the preceding 12 months should provide financial information. If you did not live with either parent or lived with both equally, then the parent who provided the most financial support should provide financial information on the FAFSA. Students whose custodial parent has remarried must provide step-parent information on the FAFSA as well, even if the step-parent has not provided support. Note: Beginning with the 2024-25 FAFSA, students with divorced or separated parents should file the FAFSA with the parent who provided the most financial support over the past year. If that parent is remarried, their spouse's information must also be provided on the FAFSA.

MSOE’s Financial Aid Office reserves the right to institutionally verify those students who have a marital status mismatch to ensure financial aid package accuracy.

My FAFSA doesn't reflect my family's current financial situation or my situation has changed since I filed the FAFSA. What should I do?

MSOE’s Financial Aid Office recognizes that students and their families may have extenuating circumstances that affect their financial situation. We ask that families contact our office to let us know about any extenuating circumstances, and we will advise you on what is needed in order to update your FAFSA. Please note that before any updates can be made to the FAFSA, we must first verify that the reported information is accurate. This process is called verification, and more information can be found here. 

Circumstances considered include but are not limited to:

  • Termination or change of employment (after 2-month waiting period)
  • Death of parent
  • Divorce/separation
  • One-time benefit from inheritance, lottery winnings, sale of home, etc.
  • High medical expenses paid out-of-pocket in past year (we cannot use medical expenses paid with and FSA or HSA)
  • Private educational tuition expenses for siblings (expenses must be documented for the 2022–2023 or 2023-24 school year). This does not include students attending other colleges. 
  • Other reasons upon request and documentation.

MSOE does not consider appeals for based on, but not limited to:

  • High consumer debt
  • High personal expenses
  • Vacation expenses
  • Additional properties
  • Extra amenities
  • Expenses that have not yet occurred

My parents refuse to provide their tax information for the FAFSA. Can I still get financial aid?

Yes, but you will only be eligible for the Federal Direct Unsubsidized Loan. However, if your inability to obtain parental information is due to unusual circumstances (parental incarceration, abuse, abandonment, etc.), please contact our office to inquire about filing the FAFSA.

Do I list retirement accounts on the FAFSA? What about 529 plans? How does this affect my FAFSA?

It depends on how you save for retirement. Certain assets such as pensions, life insurance and individual retirement accounts (IRAs) are not considered when determining financial aid eligibility, nor is the value of the home in which the family resides. These assets should not be reported on the FAFSA. Other assets such as savings accounts, 529 plans, certificates of deposit, stocks, mutual funds and other real estate are included and should be reported on the FAFSA. However, the FAFSA assumes families are saving for retirement and provides an "asset protection allowance" according to parental age and marital status. The value of 529 plans owned by either the parent or the student should be reported as a parental asset on the FAFSA. 529 plans owned by someone else are not reported.

I was born in the United States but my parents are undocumented. Can I still apply for financial aid using the FAFSA?

Yes. Your parents should put all zeros for their Social Security Number on the FAFSA.

Am I eligible for financial aid if I am not a U.S. citizen?

It depends, you must meet certain criteria to be considered an eligible non-citizen.

Will my MSOE scholarships change from year to year?

MSOE calculates a Merit Based Scholarship based on a number of academic factors. This scholarship is set upon student application to the university, and renewable for up to 12 semesters of full-time enrollment.

Will my MSOE grants change from year to year?

MSOE calculates an Institutional Grant based on a student’s merit, financial need, and housing status during their first year. This is renewable for up to 12 semesters of full-time enrollment provided they continue to file the FAFSA. The MSOE Opportunity Grant is a set amount, but still requires the FAFSA to be filed each year.

What does change from year to year?

State based aid such as the Wisconsin Grant is calculated each year by the maximum award amount established by the Higher Education Aids Board of Wisconsin. This is awarded to a student based on the EFC calculated by the FAFSA.

Federal Aid, such as the Pell Grant and Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant are calculated by the amounts set by the Department of Education. This is awarded to a student based on the EFC calculated by the FAFSA.

How much in Federal Direct Loans can I borrow?

A student’s federal loan eligibility increases based on grade level, and the allocation of subsidized to unsubsidized is based on a student’s EFC.

Freshmen dependent students are eligible for $5,500, sophomores $6,500, and juniors and seniors $7,500 up to a maximum undergraduate dependent loan limit of $31,000.

For independent students, freshmen and sophomores can receive $4,000 more in unsubsidized loans, while juniors and seniors can receive up to $5,000 more. There is a maximum undergraduate independent loan limit of $57,500.

How do I know if I'm independent on the FAFSA?

The IRS and the US Department of Education have different criteria for what makes a student independent. Per the FAFSA, a student must be able to answer YES to one of several questions to be considered independent. MSOE may request documentation to verify a student’s independent status. You may visit for more information on FAFSA dependency. If you have an extenuating circumstance that prohibits you from listing parent information on the FAFSA, please contact our office.

Will my financial aid cover the entire cost of tuition?

MSOE is considered a gap school, which means we do not guarantee that the financial aid provided will cover all of the direct costs billed to students.

How can I get financial aid if I study abroad?

Many study abroad programs offered through MSOE are eligible for financial aid. Contact our office for questions about specific study abroad programs.

What do I do if I need more financial aid?

MSOE’s Financial Aid offers the following options for students wishing to seek out additional financial aid:

    1. Dependent students can consider a Parent Plus Loan that can be deferred until after graduation
    2. There are alternative loan lenders that can either apply additional loans in your name or a parent’s name
    3. Students may apply through a rotating list of additional donor and outside scholarships at the Money Matters Website.
    4. If you believe your family qualifies for extenuating circumstances (job loss, medical bills, etc.) you could consider submitting your case for an update to the FAFSA. This does require collecting additional documentation, and there are certain situations that cannot be considered. Please contact the Financial Aid Office to discuss before submitting documentation.

Do I have to pay the bill all at once?

MSOE bills students monthly. Outstanding balances are typically due at the third week of each term. If you would like to consider an alternative payment plan, please contact the Student Accounts Office or visit the Payment Plan Page.

Why is my student's aid not showing up on their bill?

  • Did you accept your aid?
  • Did you complete all required documents requested by MSOE (verification, additional requests etc.). Click here to view any outstanding documents
  • Did you complete the electronic Master Promissory Note (eMPN)? Visit here to complete the eMPN)
  • Did you complete Loan Entrance Counseling? Visit here to complete entrance counseling

I have additional questions about billing and student accounts not covered here.

Students and parents will typically not have the ability to see nor pay their bill until they are set up with their MyMSOE account. Our Student Accounts Office does provide an additional page for more Frequently Asked Questions.