Updated as of March 16, 2021.

Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1368 was signed into law by Governor Inslee on February 19, 2021. This legislation provides a $5 million appropriation (Section 14) to serve undocumented students who need emergency funding and are enrolled during the 2020-21 academic year.  The UW received our allocation of these funds and established the Washington Emergency Relief Grant (WERG) to distribute funds to eligible students.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for the Washington Emergency Relief Grant (WERG)?

Students selected for a WERG at the UW must meet the following criteria:

  • Meet Washington residency requirements;
  • Demonstrate financial need;
  • Make satisfactory academic progress;
  • Completes the Washington application for state financial aid (WASFA);
  • Does not qualify for federally funded student financial aid because of their citizenship  status; and
  • Was not eligible and did not receive assistance from Federal CARES/HEERF student emergency financial aid grants.

What is a Washington Emergency Relief Grant?

The UW wants to provide economic relief quickly to students who may have experienced additional expenses and/or a loss of income due to COVID-19. Starting winter 2021, we have used the WERG emergency aid funds to provide a standard relief grant of $1,100* per quarter based on the family income reported on your WASFA.

The specific criteria for the Washington Emergency Relief Grant is as follows—

  • Undergraduate, graduate, or professional student in a degree program, enrolled at least half time for winter quarter 2021 and for spring quarter 2021
  • A 2020-21 WASFA on record with the UW’s Office of Student Financial Aid
  • Family income in the low- to low-middle income levels based on WASFA information.

*Students graduating or not returning after winter quarter 2021 received a $1,300 grant.

When will Washington Emergency Relief Grant be available?

Funds were disbursed starting March 15, 2021 and we continue to make awards to students until funds are fully expended. Recipients are notified via a message to their UW email account if awarded WERG relief funds.  Funds will not be available after June 30, 2021.

How can I use the Washington Emergency Relief Grant?

These funds are meant to help students pay expenses for technology, health care, child care, course materials, rent, food moving or other expenses incurred during the pandemic. If you have yet to experience financial stress due to COVID-19, these funds can help with unanticipated expenses or income loss that may occur throughout the quarter and into future quarters.

If you have higher COVID-19 expenses than the standard relief grant amount, you can submit a request for emergency aid.

Why didn’t I receive a Washington Emergency Relief Grant?

Students who do not meet basic eligibility criteria for the WERG grant or do not demonstrate financial need at the low- or low-middle income levels are not eligible for WERG grants. However, the UW may be able to help you with emergency aid from other institutional or private donations. These funds are limited, but we encourage you to apply. We will review your request and determine if we can offer you assistance.

If you are eligible for WERG, but did not receive the standard grant described above, you can notify our office for a review of your situation by submitting a request for emergency aid.  This application usually takes less than five minutes to complete.

When we award a standard grant, we must make some assumptions about students’ needs in order to award the funds quickly.  Sometimes these broad assumptions miss students that may have great financial need as well. We recognize that you may have need even if you don’t meet the standard grant criteria listed above. We know that many families’ income is in flux or there may be additional expenses associated due to the pandemic. We need to hear from you in order to determine if we can offer you funds too. Please file the emergency aid request to help with your immediate needs and consider filing a request for change in income or expenses for other financial aid funds for longer term and future needs. You can find more information about changing your financial aid information here.

What emergency relief funds are available for international students?

Unfortunately, international students are not eligible for the state WERG funds. International students who need emergency aid assistance are encouraged to file an emergency aid application. Please note that these funds are limited and generally awarded to help with living expenses.

You may also want to review the resources page on the International Student Services website.


If you have any questions that are not addressed above, please contact our office.