Dear Faculty and Staff,
It’s my great pleasure to share with you that we will provide $5.1 million in immediate debt relief for students at all our campuses. As you know, the pandemic has been financially difficult for many of our students, and they need our help. These student-centric efforts are right in line with our 2030 goals and our efforts to increase enrollment.
With that in mind, we are forgiving outstanding balances incurred by undergraduate and graduate students during the 2020-21 academic year. Two thousand students who owe an average of $2,700 will have their debt wiped away. The $5.1 million initiative is being paid for with our institutional portion of Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds, which must be used for COVID-related expenses. Using the money to help our students is consistent with our 2030 goal of becoming a more student-centric university.
Because we want this to be as easy as possible for eligible students, their 2020-21 outstanding balances will be automatically paid – no application or other paperwork is needed. And, while we hope students will re-enroll, they do not have to do so to receive this aid.
The debt relief program is separate from the previously announced $25 million emergency grant program for students enrolled during the 2021-22 academic year. Students can apply for those grants through Sept. 13, 2021.
Some students may qualify for both debt relief for the last school year and an emergency grant for the upcoming school year. Please emphasize that in your discussions with students in need and encourage them to explore all of their options for aid.
We’re also setting aside $500,000 for students who do not have outstanding balances from last year but did have financial hardship. Students can apply for those grants starting now. Questions about all three programs can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As students begin returning to our campuses this week, I ask that you please welcome them, extend your greetings and ask how they are doing. The fall semester is likely to be a tenuous time for us all, and a simple message of care and support from you can make a significant difference in a student’s day, and perhaps in their future at UWM.
Mark A. Mone, PhD