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When you think of returning to school do you have thoughts running through your mind that are similar to these?  

  • I'm too old to be a college student.
  • I may not be able to study/understand/keep up with the schoolwork.
  • I can't afford to go to school.
  • I've been out of school too long.
  • I have never been to college.
  • Will my family support me?
  • Will I fit in?

You are not alone!  Many adults face the challenge of beginning or returning to school every year and they do become successful students.  It is never too late to follow a dream.   At UW-Eau Claire there are approximately 800 nontraditional students like you here each semester and you bring rich life experiences to the classroom.  Understanding that beginning or returning to college is a life changing experience, Nontraditional Student Services (NSS) is here to provide support during the initial transition into college and throughout graduation.  Go for it!

1. Who is a Nontraditional Student? What do I "get" as a nontraditional student? BACK TO FAQ's

You are a nontraditional/adult student if any of the following descriptions characterize you:

  • Are age 25 or older
  • Have experienced a break in your education
  • Are a military veteran
  • Are married or a parent (no matter your age) 

You are entitled to the same benefits as any other student and you must adhere to the same academic standards.  However, nontraditional students have access to a Nontraditional Student Services (NSS) adviser who can help you in your entry to the university, and can be a resource throughout your education.  The NSS adviser emails a weekly newsletter and offers workshops on various topics.  Events sponsored through the NSS office are a way to connect with other nontraditional students, and will enrich your time at UWEC. 

The OASIS room in Davies Center 266 is a lounge for nontraditional students, and has a microwave, refrigerator, and a computer for your use.  The Library Study Room is available for nontraditional students and offers a quiet place to concentrate on your studies.

2. How much does it cost to attend UW-Eau Claire?  Do nontraditional students qualify for financial aid?  BACK TO FAQ's

Current tuition and fee schedules are found on the Business Office website under Student Financials.  Total tuition and fees depend on the number of credits taken; a few courses also have a special course fee.

YES, nontraditional students qualify for financial aid based on their family resources. Visit the Financial Aid Office website where you can get an idea of what your education expenses might look like, and fill out a Financial Aid Estimator at  Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) even before you have been admitted to the university at

3. I'm a military veteran.  What kinds of military education benefits are available for me?   BACK TO FAQ's

For specific information on the WI GI Bill and your education benefits contact the UW-Eau Claire Military Education Benefits Coordinator located in Veteran Services, Schofield Hall 128.  Call (715) 836-5212, Monday through Friday 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Information is also available on the Veterans and Military Education Benefits website. Thank you for your service!

4. I have some "old" college credits. Are they still "good"? Will they transfer in?  BACK TO FAQ's

Most undergraduate college credits don't have a "statute of limitations" on them, but it does sometimes depend on the program you're planning to enter. In some cases you might need to update some of your required credits from years ago. Technical college credits prior to fall 1989 are not accepted.

After you apply for admission, Admissions Office staff evaluates all your transcripts (you request to have them sent here) and will determine which of your previous college coursework transfer in and count toward your degree at UW-Eau Claire.

5. I have to work full-time.  Can I earn a degree at UW-Eau Claire on a part-time basis?   BACK TO FAQ's

Yes, you can take as few as 1 or 2 credits each semester if you choose. We do offer late afternoon and evening classes and some classes are online. However, there are many programs that require daytime availability. Check with the department of your intended major for more information on their particular options. 

The new online degree offered in Bachelor of Professional Studies, Organizational Leadership & Communication might be of interest to you.

Through the UW System there are other opportunities to begin your general education coursework either through on-line courses or through independent study.  A UW associate degree is available completely on-line through the UW Colleges, Independent study courses are available through the University of Wisconsin Independent Learning Program,

Contact the Nontraditional Student Services Adviser at 715-836-3259 for more information on these options.

6. I want to be an admitted student at UW-Eau Claire---where do I start? Do I need ACT or SAT test scores?   BACK TO FAQ's

Call 715-836-3259 to make a face to face appointment or a phone appointment with an adviser if you choose.    During your appointment they will cover all your Initial questions related to admission, financial aid, registering for classes, tuition and fees, academic support services, campus resources, and more. 

To apply for undergraduate admission complete the application on-line at Students over the age of 22 do not need to submit ACT or SAT scores.

9. Is there childcare available through UW-Eau Claire?  BACK TO FAQ's

Yes. The UW-Eau Claire Children's Nature Academy is a professionally staffed and accredited program of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. The Center is available to the children age infant to age 10 of students, faculty and staff, and to community members as openings permit.  Some age groups have waiting lists.  For more information, call the Children's Nature Academy at 715-836-2178 or visit their website at:

8. It's been years since I've been in school. Is there help available for brushing up on my academic skills?   BACK TO FAQ's

Yes! The Academic Skills Center at UW-Eau Claire offers tutoring in many skill areas, including reading and study strategies, writing, mathematics, and English as a Second Language as well as help with brushing up on rusty basic skills. You can contact the Academic Skills Center at 715-836-5844 for more detailed information about their services or visit their website at

The University Writing Center, 715-836-2644 assists with all your writing needs.  A math lab, 715-836-3301, is available for all math course tutoring.

Gen 100:  Foundations for Academic Success, taught by the NSS adviser, is offered each semester.  This 1-credit course will help acclimate you to the university and provide tips on studying, time management, campus resources, financial aid and scholarships, and much more!

Free software training is available for all students.  Students can call the Help desk at 715-836-5711 for help with computer training and all their computing questions, including those about connecting to UWEC from their home computer.

9. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.  Can I get academic and career advising?   BACK TO FAQ's

Yes! Both the academic advisers and advisers in Career Services at UW-Eau Claire can help you assess your interests and experiences and how these might relate to future educational and career choices. There are career inventories available to help match student interest areas to particular programs of study and career areas. Career Services has a very useful website with many interesting links to online inventories and college majors and related careers.

10. I don't want a college degree. Can I still take some classes for my own enrichment or to "test the waters"?   BACK TO FAQ's

Yes, you can. A "special student" is anyone who wishes to take one or two classes at a time but is not ready or interested in being an admitted student yet.  Special students do not qualify for the regular forms of financial aid, and they have last priority in registration.  For more information and to discuss which status--admitted student or special student--would best for you, call the Advising Office at 715-836-3259.  Visit the Admissions website for information on registering as a Special Student.

11. I'm a senior citizen. Is there a reduced rate for senior citizens taking classes?   BACK TO FAQ's

Residents of Wisconsin who are 60 years of age and older or who meet certain disability requirements may audit courses on a space-available basis at no tuition charge. Not all courses are open to auditors, though most are. There may be some related course fees and campus (segregated) fees for issuance of a university ID card, which entitles you to full use of student services, such as textbook rental, library use, recreation programs, city bus pass, health services, etc.  Tuition and campus fees are not waived for any courses taken for credit. Contact the Business Office Bursar 715-836-4325 for details on segregated fee charges for senior auditors.

Continuing Education also offers some credit and non-credit programs, some specifically targeting senior citizens.  Call them at 715-836-3636 or visit their website at

For more information contact:
Advising, Retention + Career Center, Old Library 2100
715-836-3487  -
NSS Home