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Second round of emergency COVID-19 financial aid coming for students

February 1, 2021 By Karla Weber Wandel

UW-Madison is continuing its commitment to support our most financially vulnerable students during this global pandemic.

The recently authorized Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II (HEERF II) will provide a second round of federally-supported financial aid for students impacted by the pandemic. UW–Madison’s share of HEERF II emergency student support is $9.9 million. This funding will be used to continue to address the additional financial burden many students and families are facing.

Campus will be sharing more information with students and their families about this aid in the coming weeks. Although the HEERF II funding is restricted to those students who would otherwise be eligible for federal student aid (e.g., U.S. citizens, permanent non-residents and eligible non-U.S. citizens), additional resources are available to those who do not qualify for HEERF II funding.

In March 2020, the campus created a central emergency funding application administered by the Office of Student Financial Aid that is available to all students (including all residency and citizenship statuses, graduate, and clinical doctoral students) who were in need of emergency financial assistance. With funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the University provided $9.9 million for over 9,000 student requests. Emergency grants were provided within 48-72 hours, on average.

In addition to emergency grants, the university also provided income continuation in the amount of $2.75 million for student employees, strongly encouraging campus employers to continue providing employment opportunities to students.

Students expressed relief at the timely grant and income continuation support in their feedback. One student wrote, “I received the financial transfer this morning, and, to be honest, it brought me to tears. It was such profound relief, I cannot truly express how significantly my family will be helped.” It is clear that the pandemic has had severe impacts on many students, and the University is committed to alleviating that burden as much as possible with this infusion of federal relief funds.

Since the beginning of the fall 2020 semester, emergency funding requests have gone from a high of 79 applications per week to approximately 25 per week. Partners across campus and the community, including many UW student groups, continue to provide basic needs support and access to food. The Office of Student Financial Aid  and the Dean of Students Office are available to assist students in identifying resources for financial and other needs (e.g., rent, health insurance, childcare, technology, or food). These resources are open and available to all students.

A student’s full cost of attendance (e.g., tuition, fees, required course material /educational supplies, housing, food, transportation, and miscellaneous personal expenses) is considered as we work with students and families in navigating expenses.

The Office of Student Financial Aid is working with campus partners, including Student Affairs and the Associated Students of Madison (ASM), to inform students about available funding and where to find support for any other needs (e.g., rent, food, childcare) they may face.

For more information and to apply for emergency financial support, please visit or email