What Does it Cost to Attend University of Wisconsin-Madison?

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A consistently highly ranked university, the University of Wisconsin–Madison is one of the top public schools in the country and an impressive institution among both private and public universities. UW has a number of claims to fame, including its membership in the Big Ten athletics conference, its picturesque location, and its numerous top-notch academic programs.

 

Want to learn what University of Wisconsin Madison will actually cost you based on your income? And how long your application to the school should take? Here’s what every student considering University of Wisconsin Madison needs to know.

Why are College Costs Variable?

It’s generally less expensive to attend a public college than a private one, especially for in-state students. Nevertheless, many families may balk at the price of a public education. It’s important to understand that college costs can vary significantly from student to student, depending on factors including (but not limited to!) family income, residency (in-state vs. out-of-state), and whether the student receives merit scholarships.

 

As you and your student consider college costs, remember that you should look not only at list price but also at the net cost. This is because the list price, or “sticker” price, only tells you what you would pay with no forms of financial assistance. By contrast, net price tells you what you might pay after financial aid (federal, state, and local aid), institutional aid, and merit scholarships. These three components can greatly reduce the cost of a college education.

What is the List Price at UW?

The list price of UW includes tuition, room and board. It is $25,230 for in-state (Wisconsin) students. At most public colleges and universities, the in-state price is far lower than the out-of-state list price; this is true at UW, where the cost for out-of-state students is $47,480.

 

For the most part, the only students who pay the full list price for their college education are those who come from high-earning families (with an income greater than $175,000) and who are not among the top 30 percent of accepted students.

What is the Price of Attending UW with Financial Aid?

Financial aid, including government and institutional aid, reduces the net cost to an average of $22,539 for in-state students. Meanwhile, out-of-state students who receive need-based aid pay an average price of $44,789. Keep in mind that these prices do not factor in merit aid, which can further reduce the cost of attendance.

 

The cost varies largely due to family income:

 

Family Income Average Net Price
$0-$30,000 $7,667
$30,001-$48,000 $10,700
$48,001-$75,000 $16,445
$75,001-$110,000 $21,142
Over $110,000

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What is the Merit Aid Net Price?

Merit scholarships, which are awarded based on a student’s accomplishments, not financial need, can also help offset the cost of a college education. At UW, just 10.7 percent of students who don’t demonstrate financial need receive merit scholarships. The average award amount for students who don’t receive financial aid is $467.

 

This makes the average cost of attendance for students receiving merit aid but no financial aid close to the list price: $24,763 for in-state students and $47,013 for out-of-state students.

 

To understand the significance of these figures, it’s useful to compare UW to other institutions. UW ranks 842nd among more than 1,000 institutions CollegeVine analyzed for merit aid generosity.

How Many Students Take out Loans at UW?

In order to estimate the cost of your student’s education, your family should consider the availability of both financial aid and loans. Federal loans, which must be repaid (unlike most other forms of financial aid) are standard components of many financial aid packages. This is the case at UW, where two percent of students take out loans, with an average amount of $2,930.

What are Other Ways to Save on College?

UW offers a number of highly selective merit-based scholarships of varied amounts for academic achievements, activities, and interests. Most of these scholarships require a separate applications, and students may apply for them through the Wisconsin Scholarship Hub (WiSH).

 

Students should also consider applying for scholarships funded by external organizations. These scholarships can be awarded on the basis of demographics, intended majors, accomplishments, and other factors. One popular scholarship is the National Merit Scholarship, which is awarded to the top 1% scorers on the PSAT. For more information on this opportunity, check out How to Qualify for the National Merit Scholarship. National Merit finalists who indicate UW as their first choice with the National Merit Scholarship Corporation may receive an additional award of up to $8,000.

 

Many college students also elect to work part-time jobs at their school or in the local community to help pay for their education. UW assists students with finding jobs on-campus and at local businesses.

What are Student Outcomes for UW?

A school’s graduation rate and post-graduate salary expectations can give students and their families insight into the return on investment (ROI) an institution offers. In the case of UW, the numbers are positive: 82 percent of UW students graduate within six years of enrolment. Furthermore, the average UW alumnus’ salary ten years after graduate is $56,200.

Local Area Cost Considerations in Madison

With a cost of living index of 109.5, Madison is only marginally — 9.5 percent — more expensive than the national average.

 

Housing is one big cost that can come into play if students choose to live off campus. UW–Madison doesn’t require students to live on campus, although many, especially freshmen, do. Off-campus, rentals are moderately priced at $1,105 for a one-bedroom and $1,355 for a two-bedroom on average.

 

Wisconsin’s minimum wage is the same as the Federal minimum wage of $7.25. Depending on the nature of the work and the skill required, however, students may find higher-paying jobs. In 2017, the average hourly salary was $25.09 for all jobs in Madison, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s important to understand, however, that this statistic encompasses jobs of many different skills levels and degree requirements.

 

Need help figuring out the financial aid process at UW–Madison and other colleges on your student’s list? Our Finances tool, available through the Applications program, will give you insight into what you’ll actually pay, how you’ll finance your child’s education, and the ROI of different colleges and majors. Contact us for more information.

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine
Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she majored in Creative Writing and minored in History. She lives in Brooklyn, New York and works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She dreams of having a dog.