Dear Students and Families,
WWU applied for federal CARES Act funding for students on April 21, and this week we received $5.8 million to expend over the next year as grants for Western students who have incurred expenses from disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19.
As a new federal program, CARES grant eligibility requirements have been subject to change and we are still working to ensure that we fully understand the regulations. But we don’t want to delay in getting funds to students who qualify. Here’s what you need to know:
To receive federal CARES Act funding, you must meet these criteria:
Incurred expenses from disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19
Filed a FAFSA in 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 and are eligible to receive Federal Title IV student aid
Are currently enrolled in a degree-seeking program
Aren’t currently in financial aid suspension
If you haven’t yet filed a FAFSA, you still have time! The sooner you file, the better.
CARES funding will come as a direct deposit to your bank account, or as a mailed check. Direct deposit will be fastest and most secure, so please make sure that your banking information is up-to-date in your student account, and that we have your correct current physical address if you prefer a check.
CARES funding will not affect your financial aid this term, or your eligibility in future years, nor will it automatically apply to any charges on your student account. It is a direct emergency grant from the federal government.
As we disburse funding, our goals are to provide funds promptly, broadly, equitably and in compliance with Federal requirements, with attention to the differential impacts students may be experiencing as a result of the pandemic. While all of us have felt the consequences of COVID-19, some students and families are experiencing extraordinary challenges; we know that these funds can only begin to address those needs over the year.
We will begin disbursing funds to students who are eligible immediately. There is an application form and CARES Grant FAQs on the Financial Aid website. The application is brief and designed to be easy and fast to complete.
If you aren’t eligible for a CARES Act grant and are undergoing financial hardship, please apply for the Student Emergency Fund, which doesn’t have the same restrictions. DACA and other undocumented students, international students, and students who are not otherwise eligible for Title IV federal aid, are still able to access funds through the Student Emergency Fund. Western is committed to supporting as many students as we possibly can, through all the means at our disposal.
One final note: BankMobile, an external partner with the Student Business Office, sent an unintentionally misleading email to students last week referring to “your emergency grant.” That email, which they subsequently clarified, was not a CARES Act notification. All communication about CARES Act funding will come directly from Western Washington University.
If you have questions, please contact the Financial Aid department, which is overseeing CARES Act funding for students.
With all best wishes for your safety and well-being in this difficult time,
Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services
The Incident Command System team at Western has established three goals for all of our preparation and response to COVID-19: to protect life safety and minimize the spread of the coronavirus illness, to maintain – as much as possible – the continuity of Western’s operations, and to communicate with our communities as fully as possible.
Western's coronavirus information website features Frequently Asked Questions; has links to campus, regional and national resources; an archive of campus messaging and media stories about coronavirus; a new toll-free campus coronavirus information line, and more. The site is a living document, and gets frequent updates as the coronavirus situation evolves.