The University of Wisconsin-Madison received funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to provide Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and childcare) in the amount of $9,891,501 on April 23, 2020 (UW-Madison signed and returned the Certification Agreement to the U.S. Department of Education on April 10, 2020).
Only students eligible to participate in Title IV programs under Section 484 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 are eligible to receive funding through the CARES Act. There are over 38,000 students enrolled at UW-Madison who meet these qualifications.
UW-Madison disbursed these grant funds directly to students who requested financial assistance for qualifying expenses through the end of the spring term based on the completion of an online Emergency Assistance application.
Although the overwhelming majority of all requests were able to be met, priority was provided to students who are economically disadvantaged either historically or due to COVID-19 disruptions with their (or their family’s) ability to work.
The UW-Madison COVID-19 website (https://covid19.wisc.edu/) and the homepage of the Office of Student Financial Aid directly posted the form and instructions. Notice of the availability and application process to receive emergency funds were included in emails, web notices, social media posts and direct calls from various campus offices. Messages to students about their transition to online learning and student support sent from the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs also draws attention to financial support and resources available.
Additional communication of funding availability was made via multiple social media posts and emails to students who met the outlined criteria from the Office of Student Financial Aid, Student Employment, International Student Services, University Housing, University Athletics, the Graduate School, and the Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement. The Associated Students of Madison (ASM) and the International Student Services also hosted town halls where the availability of these emergency funds was discussed. All information about applying for CARES Act funding was provided on the UW-Madison’s COVID-19 webpage highlighting the availability of emergency funds and directing students to complete the Emergency Assistance Form.
As of May 21, 2020, the $9,891,501 in HEERF funding was disbursed to 7,815 UW-Madison students.