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Student Care Network

COVID-19 Financial Assistance for Students

WSU was awarded $21.76 million from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Secruity (CARES) Act of which $10.88 million is allocated for Student Emergency Funds. WSU has distributed just over $7.04 million (as of May 20,2020) to help current students mitigate financial impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Initial eligibility for these students was based on federal guidelines and included:

  • Students enrolled on the Everett, Pullman, Spokane, Tri-Cities, and Vancouver campuses
  • Students who qualified for federal financial aid through direct disbursements based on enrollment, expected family contribution, and need

Students who were not initially eligible for CARES Act assistance can now submit the new Student Emergency Funding Request form, which includes grants from the university emergency fund and the remainder of CARES Act fund. All enrolled students experiencing hardships due to COVID-19 are encouraged to submit this form.

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Key Facts Regarding Federal CARES Act Grants

Washington State University acknowledges that it has signed and returned the Certification and Agreement to the Department of Education and has used 100 percent of the funds received to date under Section 18004(a)(1) of the CARES Act to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students.

  • Total CARES Act funds received for Student Emergency Grants: $10.884 million
  • Total amount of CARES Act funds distributed to students: $7.04 million
  • Number of students eligible to receive CARES funding: 17,010
  • Total number of WSU students who have received federal CARES Act grants: 7,047

CARES Act FAQs

  • What is the CARES/Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund?

    The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress and signed into law to provide economic relief from COVID-19. One section of the CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief fund and sent money to schools to use for emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the pandemic.

    This federal program allocates $21.76 million to WSU, and of that allocation, $10.884 million is to be awarded to students who are experiencing financial hardship because of the campus disruption in operations due to the coronavirus. The other half of the funds to be used by the institution will help cover the cost related to operational disruptions caused by COVID-19.

  • How long will CARES Act funds be available?

    The current focus is awarding students enrolled in Spring & Summer 2020 terms. If remaining funds are available during the Fall 2020 term, students will be awarded accordingly.

  • Who is eligible for CARES Act and Student Emergency funding?

    To be eligible for CARES Act funding, a student must have a FAFSA on file, meet federal eligibility requirements to receive financial aid, meet Satisfactory Academic Progress, and be enrolled in at least ½ time Spring or Summer 2020 term classes.

    Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Education does not allow CARES ACT funds to be awarded to international students, undocumented students, non-matriculated students, or students enrolled at WSU Global.

    Students who are not eligible for CARES Act funding may submit the Student Emergency Funding Request form.

  • Why didn’t I receive funds from the CARES Act and what are my options?

    Under U.S. Department of Education rules for the program, students who are not eligible for federal financial aid programs are not eligible for CARES Act funds. 

    The U.S. Department of Education does not allow CARES ACT funds to be awarded to international students, undocumented students, non-matriculated students or students enrolled at WSU Global.

    Current WSU students experiencing hardships due to the pandemic should submit the new Student Emergency Funding Request form to be considered for assistance, even if they were not eligible during the Phase I CARES Act fund distribution. We will review your request and determine if we can offer assistance at this time.

  • Will there be financial assistance available for 2020-21?

    Right now we are concentrating on spring semester emergency aid and monitoring federal and state economic conditions, as well as the prospects for additional federal emergency funding for universities and students. We will update these FAQs as we make later decisions on the use of these funds.

  • How will I receive the funding if I am awarded CARES Act or Student Emergency funding?

    The fastest way for WSU to deliver funds is for us to send it directly to the student’s personal bank account. We strongly recommend students go to myWSU, select Financial Account>Account Services>Enroll in Direct Deposit. If one needs to change their bank account information for a current direct deposit, go to myWSU, select Financial Account>Account Services>Manage My Bank Accounts. Once the new checking account information has been entered, click on the modify direct deposit link and follow the steps to select the new banking information. See video instructions for enrolling in direct deposit.  

    Some points to remember about Direct Deposit:

    • We can only deposit into domestic United States bank accounts or credit unions.
    • Communications are sent to the student’s official WSU email address when a direct deposit has been sent to the bank. The funds will generally be available in their bank account within three business days after it appears on their WSU student account.

    If you are awarded funds, it will take approximately 24-48 business hours from your confirmation date for the funds to be deposited into your bank account. Some banks make take longer to process payments.

    If you are not able to set up a direct deposit account, you be mailed a paper check to the local mailing address on record with the university. To determine what primary address WSU has on record for you, go to MyWSU, Main Menu and then My Profile.  You can check and update your primary address there. Be advised that this method can take between 1-2 weeks.

  • Who do I contact if I have questions?

    CARES ACT funding questions should be directed to the Office of Student Financial Service at: https://financialaid.wsu.edu/contact

    • Pullman, Everett, and Global campus Emergency Grant Funding questions should be directed to the Pullman Dean of Students Office at deanofstudents@wsu.edu
    • Spokane campus Emergency Grant Funding questions should be directed to the Spokane Division of Student Affairs at spok.sa@wsu.edu
    • Tri-Cities campus Emergency Grant Funding questions should be directed to tricities.studentaffairs@wsu.edu
    • Vancouver campus Emergency Grant Funding questions should be directed to the Assistant Director, Student Financial Services: april.lappin@wsu.edu

  • How much will I get from the CARES Act or Student Emergency funds if I am eligible?

    Awarding levels for CARES Act funding will range from $500-$1,000 and Emergency Funding levels vary depending on availability of funds.

  • What funds are available if I am not eligible for CARES Act funds?

    While the U.S. Department of Education does not allow CARES Act grants to some students, WSU may be able to provide emergency funding. Students should submit the Student Emergency Funding Request form. Non-federal sources are providing these funds. 

  • Do I need to report financial aid or grants on my federal tax return?

    The IRS issued FAQs on the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund and Emergency Financial Aid Grants under the CARES Act that clarifies that the CARES Act aid should be treated as a “qualified disaster relief payment” and not be treated as taxable income. Each financial award you receive from the federal government and other sources will have separate and unique tax consequences for your federal tax return. Visit the https://www.irs.gov/IRS website for assistance.

Grant Distribution and Refunds

CARES funds are posted to student accounts and the student is notified via a message to their WSU email account.

Students enrolled in direct deposit will receive their funds directly in their bank account. This is the fastest way to receive a refund.

  • Students who need to update their direct deposit information should go to myWSU , select Financial Account > Account Services > Manage My Bank Accounts
  • Students who are not enrolled in direct deposit will receive a paper check to the local mailing address on record with the university. Students may check this address by going to go to myWSU, Main Menu and then My Profile
  • To enroll in direct deposit, students should go to myWSU, select Financial Account > Account Services > Enroll in Direct Deposit to do so. We strongly encourage students sign up for direct deposit.