FAQs

Online Courses vs. Campus-Based Courses

Is there an instructor in an online course?

All UW Colleges Online courses are taught by UW Colleges professors. Using the same learning materials, they have adapted and enhanced their courses to the interactive online environment with the assistance of professional instructional designers. You will be able to communicate with your professor via email or Desire2Learn.

What kind of support is available to me as an online learner?

UW Colleges Online offers the same high level of quality support services for our students. Visit Student Services to find out what’s available. 

Is an online course easier than a campus course?

These are the same courses developed and taught by the same professors who teach in the UW Colleges classrooms. As a result, UW Colleges Online courses require just as much, if not more, time and energy as traditional classroom courses. They also require specific computer skills and learning strategies in order to succeed.

Would I have to be online at a certain time for class? Or are they self-paced?

You do not need to be online at a certain time for class. However, our courses are not entirely self-paced as there are deadlines, such as discussion posts, quizzes or other assignments, throughout the week that students must meet. 

What is expected of me to be a successful online student?

While the course quality compares to that of a traditional classroom, online learning can pose unique challenges for students. To see if it’s the right fit, take a look at “Are online classes right for you?”

How do lab courses work?

You will be required to purchase a lab kit and manual for the course and complete a hands-on component (which varies based on the course and instructor). 

Application and Admission Processes

I am transferring. How do I find out if my previous courses transfer?

If you are transferring to UW Colleges Online from another school in the UW System, you can use Transfer Wisconsin to see if your courses will transfer.  If you are transferring from a school outside the UW System, your transcripts will have to be evaluated by the registrar’s office or an academic advisor.

Do I have to apply if I'm a student at another UW school?

If you are currently an active student at another UW Colleges campus, you do not have to apply. Simply register for our courses through PRISM. If you are a student at a four-year UW institution or any other college or university, you must submit a new application in order to take courses with UW Colleges Online.

What type of student should I apply as?

Please see the Admissions & Enrollment page for application procedures that apply specifically to returning adult students, re-entry students, transfer students, special students, high school students, auditors and international students.

How long until I hear if I’ve been accepted?

If you apply as a degree-seeking student, it typically takes two to three weeks for us to receive all of your documentation and process your application. The quicker you get us the necessary documentation, the quicker we are able to process it and make a decision. Once your application is complete and all documentation has been received, allow us two to three business days to make a decision. If you apply as a special or non-degree-seeking student, we will be able to make a decision within one to three business days.

Tuition and Aid

How much is my tuition going to cost?

At UW Colleges Online, our flat rate tuition is $238 per credit plus an additional $25 per credit administrative fee.

Is tuition included if I attend another UW school?

Online courses cannot be included in the 12-18 credit full-time campus college tuition. All online courses are individually charged per credit ($238 per credit plus an additional $25 per credit administrative fee) in addition to any regular tuition.

How do I apply for financial aid?

Student financial aid is available to eligible students who are admitted to UW Colleges Online as degree-seeking. More information about applying for financial aid can be found on the Financial Aid website. If you want to receive financial aid, you are encouraged to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) after January 1 as soon as possible. The UW Colleges school code is 003897.


How do I make a tuition payment?

The Business Office accepts online payments submitted through your Student Center in PRISM in the form of a web check (free online service) or credit card transaction (2.5% convenience fee will be charged). In addition, checks and money orders can be mailed to the UW Colleges Business Office at 780 Regent St., Madison, WI 53715.

Prior to Enrolling

When do I register for classes?

UW Colleges Online students can enroll once open registration for the term you have been accepted for has started. For a list of registration dates, go to the Academic Calendar.

How do I enroll?

 Once you have been accepted, you will log in to your PRISM account to enroll for courses.  In PRISM, follow Main Menu > Self Service > Enrollment > Enrollment: Add Classes. You will be able to search by course or by topic. Then proceed through the steps to finish enrolling. If you need additional help, check out our Enroll in Classes page.

The course that I want/need is full. Can I still get in?

During registration, UW Colleges Online does not keep a wait list. Students are encouraged to continue to check their PRISM accounts to see if space becomes available. Once a course has been added to your shopping cart, it will remain there until you enroll, so you will not have to complete that step each time.

I have a hold on my account that’s preventing me from enrolling. How do I get rid of it?

If you view the details of the hold in your PRISM account, it will tell you what you need to do in order to remove the hold. The most common type of hold on a student’s account is the Terms and Conditions Hold. To remove it, you must accept the Terms and Conditions.

I keep getting an error when I'm trying to enroll saying that I need a prerequisite for the course. I've already taken that course at another school. Can you waive it for me?

You will need to fill out a Prerequisite Verification Form in order to show us that you have met the prerequisites for the course that you are trying to enroll for. The form will require you to attach a copy of an unofficial academic transcript with the course that meets the prerequisite. You will need to complete this form for each course you are proving prerequisites for.

After I’ve Enrolled

How are tests proctored?

Some courses require the use of a proctor for exams. Depending on the course and term you are taking courses with UW Colleges Online, you will have different options for having your exam proctored.

How do I drop a course?

You can drop a course the same way that you enrolled for the course: through your PRISM account. Prior to dropping, be sure to talk with your academic advisor to discuss any academic or financial implications.

When will my grades be posted?

Grades are due a week after the end of the semester and will be officially posted within your transcript the following week.

I just registered for a course. How do I access it?

Your course will be available through Desire2Learn a week before the start of the term.

How do I get my textbooks and other course materials?

Required textbooks and course materials can be ordered through our UW Colleges Online bookstore.

How do I request a transcript?

You may obtain your official transcript by submitting a request online.

UW Colleges Online

34 Schroeder Court, Suite 200

Madison, WI 53711