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Practice copy of the grant application

Continuing Education (CE) Grant

Tuition grants are offered each term to support adults who have experienced a significant break in their formal education and do not qualify for federal financial aid or scholarships due to their enrollment status. This includes degree-seeking students enrolled less than half time and nondegree University Special students. These grants cover only in-state tuition for UW-Madison courses. Selection of grant recipients is based on financial need, clearly expressed academic goals, and evidence of academic readiness and likely success. In addition, the allocation of grants will take into consideration factors such as number of degrees already held, length of interruption in education, eligibility for other funding, and proximity to completion of educational goal. Please see grant criteria below.

  • Minimum grant is $500.
  • An individual may receive the grant a maximum of 2 times.
  • Dissertators and full-time degree students are not eligible for the grant. 

Application deadlines

  • Fall term: July 1 (application available in early May)
  • Spring term: Nov 1 (application available in early September)
  • Summer term: May 1 (application available in early March)

To be eligible to receive the grant your application must be accurate at the time of submission. If something changes with your situation after you submit your application (e.g., change of address, financial information, academic plans, etc.) please contact the grant coordinator as soon as possible.

Application process

Review the grant criteria listed below and follow these steps to apply:

1) If you have not already, apply for admission as a UW-Madison student. (If it is past the deadline to apply for admission please contact the appropriate admission office to find out if your application could still be considered.)

2) Complete the grant application by the deadline for the term you hope to receive funding (see deadlines above).  Note: You will need to complete the online application in one sitting.  To help you prepare your responses, we encourage you to first view this printable practice copy of the application.

Once you have submitted a complete application, you will receive a completion message letting you know that your application was successfully submitted. If you do not receive this message after submitting your application, please contact the grant coordinator, Jennifer Sandridge, If you are interested in applying but missed the deadline, please contact the coordinator to determine if funds are still available.  


  • Returning adult student: Applicants must be returning adult students planning to enroll in a course for credit (auditors not eligible) at UW-Madison.
  • Gap in education: Applicants must have had a significant break in their formal education, interpreted to mean 5 years or more. This includes the break between completion of high school and initial enrollment in college or during college study.
  • Clearly stated educational goals: Applicants must have clearly stated educational goals. Priority given to those who are on a path to earn a first undergraduate degree, including those currently in special student status. Post-baccalaureate students who meet the criteria (including nondegree students taking prerequisities for advanced degree admission or certificate programs) receive consideration as funds allow plan to pursue a degree or certificate program.
  • Not eligible for state or federal financial aid (including veterans' benefits): Typically this includes degree students enrolling less than half time and nondegree status University Special students. 
  • Financial need: No specific income cutoff has been established since adults have such varying demands on their income, but priority is given to applicants with demonstrated need through information provided in the application process. Access to other financial resources and grant funds is a consideration.

Grant cannot be used for:

  • Audited courses, UW-Extension courses, correspondence, or study at another institution.
  • Textbooks or other course materials.
  • Nonresident tuition - only in-state tuition is covered by the grant. Nonresident grant recipients pay the difference between resident and nonresident tuition.

Note: An individual may receive the grant a maximum of two semesters (they do not need to be consecutive semesters), although there is no guarantee that first-time recipients will receive a second grant. If a recipient withdraws from the University before the 50% tuition adjustment deadline, the award will not be counted against the two semesters' maximum. 

Selection process

Recipients will be selected primarily on the basis of financial need, clearly expressed educational goals, and significant interruption (usually five years or more) in formal education. The balancing of such factors as number of degrees already completed, length of interruption in education, proximity to completion of educational goal, recent academic performance and other indications of potential academic success at UW-Madison, etc. will result in the allocation of grants as funds allow in any given semester.

Applications received after the priority deadline will be considered and awards will be based on remaining available funds.

Course Enrollment

If awarded the grant, the funds are not applied to your tuition bill until your enrollment is finalized. A change in credit load may affect the final grant amount. The grant does not cover non-instructional fees (such as the Official Document Fee, Late Enrollment Fee, or other fees). Check your Student Tuition Account via your MyUW Student Center and pay the tuition/fee balance by the deadline listed to avoid a late payment fee. Given enrollment changes after the 50/100% tuition adjustment period, consult with the grant coordinator about tuition obligation. For specific deadline dates please see the Enrollment Information for the current term on the Office of the Registrar's web page.

The funds are provided by the Margaret and Allard Smith Scholarship Fund to support returning adult students as allocated by the Office of Student Financial Aid. 

Contact Information

Grant coordinator: Jennifer Sandridge, 608-262-2862,
Office contact: Adult Career and Special Student Services, 608-263-6960,

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