Crisis Loan and Grants

Short term crisis loans and grants may be available for students to assist experiencing financial hardship as a result of unexpected life events or circumstances. This program is just one of many financial assistance programs on campus. 

Crisis loans/grants are also known as short term loans/grants and are generally under $500.


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1. Loan/Grant requirements

Persons applying for short term loan/grant funds must be enrolled at UW-Madison at the time of application.

If applying between semesters, you must have been enrolled during the previous term and be enrolled for the following term. If a student has an outstanding short term loan, they are not eligible for further loans until the previous loan is paid. In order to obtain a short term loan during the summer, you must be enrolled in summer classes.

Exceptions to this policy can be made on a case-by-case basis, and will be determined during your meeting with an Office of Student Assistance and Support staff member.  Funds are available for all students, regardless of FAFSA eligibility.  Crisis grant eligibility is based one your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) on your FAFSA.

Crisis Grants are determined in conjunction with our colleagues in the Office of Student Financial Aid. Grants are issued for $500 once per calendar year.

2. Download, complete, and submit the loan/grant application

  1. Print and complete a copy of the application form.
  2. Submit the completed form to

Download the application form (pdf)

3. Contact the Office of Student Assistance and Support

  1. After submitting your application, call the Office of Student Assistance and Support at 608-263-5700 to make a 30-minutes phone appointment to meet with a staff member.
  2. Meet with an Office of Student Assistance and Support staff member via phone to discuss your application.

4. Sign the promissary note for short term loan

When the loan application is received, a promissory note will be emailed to the student by the Bursar’s Office. It must be signed and sent back in.  The promissory note states the student’s intentions to pay the loan back.

The student will be responsible for emailing the signed document back to

Process after approval

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Processing time

It is estimated that loans/grants will be available within 1-3 days for a direct deposit after approval.  Paper checks may take longer and will require setting up an appointment with the Bursar’s office.

Receiving your loan/grant: Direct Deposit (preferred)

Office of Student Assistance and Support staff will work with student to make sure direct deposit (also known as an ACH refund, or an e-refund) is set up in their student center.

It will take 1-3 business days from the day the refund is processed to receive the funds in the bank account. The overall process (approving application, signing prom note, processing eRefund, receiving eRefund) should take approximately 3 business days, but once we process the refund, the student will usually see it the next day.

Receiving your short term loan: Paper check

A paper check is still an option if direct deposit can’t be set up.

  • Paper checks will only be processed once per week.
  • Paper checks will require an appointment with the Bursar’s Office to pick up the check.

Due dates and interest

Due Dates

Crisis or short term loans should be paid back in
three months.

Students can apply for an extension if needed,
during the three months.


Crisis or short term loans are interest free,
if paid back within three months

If a loan becomes past due, a $10 per month late fee will be added to the loan.


This fund is provided through generous gifts from private donors. Below are common uses for a short-term loan:

  • Unexpected medical expenses
  • Car repair
  • Travel expenses for family emergency
  • Replacement of items lost to theft/fire damage

Crisis loan funds cannot be used for tuition expenses.

Financial Aid Questions

For questions related to financial aid, please contact the Office of Student Financial Aid. The Office of Student Financial Aid has a team of people ready to help connect you to the financial and other resources you may need.

For questions related to your tuition/student fee balance, please contact the Bursar’s Office.

Additional Financial Support Resources

  • On-Campus Food Access and Financial Resources: This website contains information about a number of programs available on-campus related to food access and financial security, including frozen meals, pay-what-you-can meals, and more
  • The Office of Student Financial Aid Office may be able to provide support if you are experiencing current emergency circumstances that are preventing you from meeting immediate and essential expenses. Essential expenses may include limited access to food, lack of housing, or an emergency medical situation.  Funding is limited and financial assistance may not be available to fulfill each request. Information on Financial Aid Emergency Support.
  • The Basic Needs Resource through the Office of Student Financial Aid lists support services for your basic needs. There are also basic needs assistants available to help connect with you to navigate resources. Students can connect directly with a Basic Needs Assistant by either emailing or completing this request form.
  • Financial Aid Success Coaching:  Office of Student Financial Aid coaches are happy to meet with students and talk through financial goals and strategies to achieve these.
  • Financial Aid Advising:  Financial Aid advisors are also always happy to have the conversation about finances and budgeting!
  • Be Engaged Workshops:  A pre-recorded workshop on Financial Hygiene by the Office of Student Financial Aid as a general introduction to the topic.
  • GradReady: A free, financial wellness platform to learn and test your knowledge about financial life skills such as budgeting, saving, real-life finances, etc.