Financial aid •

May 2, 2022

University of West Florida financial aid: a complete guide

Read all about financial aid at University of West Florida, including scholarships, loans, and grants.

Financial aid at UWF

Located in Pensacola, Florida, the University of West Florida is a public university that “believes in the power of higher education to drive change.”

The school is relatively young, founded in 1963 as the 6th of 12 universities in the State University System of Florida. Since then, the school has grown significantly, enrolling more than 9,600 undergraduates and 3,400 graduate students for the 2020 academic year. 

While most students come from the state, many students are also from outside Florida. And students represent many other countries, including Brazil, Germany, Ghana, and Jamaica!

If you’re thinking about attending UWF but want to know more about how you’ll pay for school, here’s what you need to know.

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A snapshot look at the University of West Florida 

The Pensacola, Florida-based University of West Florida is one of the newer schools in the University of Florida system. It held its first classes in 1967 but has since grown to have nearly 10,000 undergraduates enrolled in its degree programs.

The school’s mission is to provide high-quality education and conduct research that helps to create a valuable body of knowledge for both its local area and the world. The school values collaboration, creativity, entrepreneurship, innovation, and inclusiveness.

Students at UWF can choose from one of the school’s more than 110 degree and certificate programs across its Colleges of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, Business, Education and Professional Studies, Science and Engineering, and Health.

Outside of classes, students can cheer on the Argonauts, the school’s NCAA intercollegiate sports teams. There are also more than 150 student organizations to join, such as the African Students’ union, Chemistry Club, Cybersecurity Club, Korean Language and Culture Club, and Surf and Paddle Club.

Ranking: 35th in Regional Universities South Size: 9,619 undergraduate students, 3,424 graduate students Demographics: 61% female, 39% male Tuition: $6,360 for Florida residents, $9,506 for Alabama residents, $19,238 for other students Acceptance rate: 42% Average GPA of accepted student: 3.43 Key dates and deadlines (2022):

  • Application: December 1

  • Financial aid deadlines: December 1

Scholarships for the University of West Florida 

It’s hard to argue that there’s a better way to pay for college than getting a scholarship.

Scholarships are free money that you can put toward the cost of your education. Unlike things like student loans, you don’t usually have to pay them back after you graduate.

UWF’s financial aid website has information about the scholarships that students can apply for. You can log in to the scholarship portal and submit a general application that makes you eligible for most of the school's scholarship opportunities.

That means you can easily apply for multiple scholarships at once! Each program has different eligibility criteria. For example, some might be based on need and others based on your course of study.

Other than the scholarships available directly from UWF, you can try applying for scholarships offered by outside groups. Many large and local businesses, community organizations, and other groups have scholarship programs that offer awards as small as a hundred dollars or as large as a full ride.

If you look carefully, you can find scholarships for almost everything you can think of!

If you want to learn more about which scholarships you can apply for and how Mos can help, look over our financial aid tips and tricks.

Student loans

Scholarships are a great way to pay for school, but you still have options if your savings and scholarships aren’t enough to pay your full tuition. The next step is to think about student loans.

Keep in mind that student loans are one way you can invest in yourself, but you have to pay them back—plus interest.

UWF’s financial aid website has some basic information about the different loan programs available to students.

For most students, the best loan program out there is the Federal Direct Loan Program. Loans from this program come directly from the US federal government. There are 2 types of direct loans: subsidized and unsubsidized.

When you get a subsidized loan, you don’t have to worry about interest until you leave school. The government pays the interest on the loan for you. With an unsubsidized loan, interest will start building up right away, so the loan’s balance will grow over time.

Another reason to use federal loans is that they’re eligible for various assistance programs like income-based repayment and loan forgiveness. These programs can help you pay off your loans after you graduate.

After federal loans, the next place to look is private lenders. These banks and other loan companies offer student loans, but they tend to have higher rates and fees and don’t offer things like income-based repayment.

For more information on student loans, check out our article on how student loans work.


Completing the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the most important step for any student that needs help with paying for college.

The FAFSA is a universal application for student aid. The government and most schools in the US use it to help make decisions about what aid they should provide you. The information in your FAFSA can help you get scholarships, loans, and grants.


You’ll have to sit down with your family and provide some financial information when you fill out the FAFSA. That includes your family’s annual income and how much money you’ve saved to pay for college.

The government uses that information in a complex formula to figure out your expected family contribution (EFC) to the cost of your education.

UWF and the government use that EFC, combined with the cost of attendance at the school, to make aid decisions. Based on your financial need, you can receive Pell Grants, scholarships, and federal student loans.

It’s important to note that schools are usually need-blind when making admissions decisions. That means the info on your FAFSA won’t stop you from getting into a school.

You can start the FAFSA process for the next academic year on October 1. You can submit the form anytime before the end of June of the year you attend school. However, Florida has a May 15 deadline, so you should submit the form as soon as you can! 

If you're looking for more information on the FAFSA and relevant deadlines, you can visit this page that covers everything you need to know about the FAFSA.

University of West Florida financial aid FAQs 

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about financial aid at UWF.

What is the University of West Florida’s cost of attendance?

The University of West Florida’s cost of attendance for Florida residents ranges from $15,870 to $23,188, depending on the student’s living situation. Of that amount, $6,360 goes toward tuition.

Cost of attendance

Students from Alabama pay an additional $3,146 in tuition, pushing their cost of attendance from $19,016 to $26,334. Students from other states pay $12,878 more in tuition than Floridians, increasing their cost of attendance from $28,748 to $36,066.

How many students pay no tuition at UWF?

UWF doesn’t publish the number of students receiving a full ride at the school. However, the financial aid office notes that 70% of students get some amount of aid and that the school awarded more than $110 million in aid during the 2020-2021 academic year.

Can out-of-state students receive financial aid?

Out-of-state students are able to receive financial aid for the University of West Florida.

Universities like the University of West Florida that you might be interested in

If you’re thinking about going to UWF but want to consider some similar alternatives, these schools might be good options.

Schools similar to UWF

University of Florida

Located in Gainesville, Florida, the University of Florida is one of the largest public universities in Florida. It’s a selective school with high average GPAs and test scores. 

If you want a top-notch education at a low cost, UF might be a good fit.

Florida State University

FSU, located in Tallahassee, is the oldest continuously-operating institution of higher learning in Florida. 

Like UF, FSU is quite selective. It also offers a variety of programs, letting students choose from more than 275 courses of study.

If a school with history and a reasonable price tag appeals to you, FSU might be the right choice for you.

University of Central Florida

The University of Central Florida is a relatively young school, much like UWF. Founded in 1963 and located in Orlando, it gives students easier access to a city than some other colleges in the state.

UCF is a research university with a diverse student body, making it a good choice for students who want to participate in a vibrant student culture while getting to be on the cutting edge.

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The University of West Florida is a young, growing school that gives students an opportunity to be part of a diverse student body. They also benefit from small classes that allow them to interact with their professors on a regular basis. If you’re from Florida or Alabama and want to keep your education costs low, UWF might be a good choice.

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