UWB Students are Having Financing Issues During the Pandemic so UWB has Shown the Way Students Can Solve the Problem

Written by: Annie Richter, Sangwoo Nam, Abyenezer Zerihun, Samuel Besrat, Narissa Howatson

Looking for the financing information on the University of Washington Financing information page. June 2, 2020 Photo by Samuel Besrat

Students who are struggling financially during 2020 can get financial support with the help of UWB programs. Nobody could have prepared for the COVID-19 pandemic or the effects it would have on society at large. Businesses have closed, classes have moved online, and some students find themselves pressured due to loss of funds. Students need help if they are to make it through the school year and the quarters as times to come, but they can’t do it alone and turn to their schools for aid. 

University of Washington Bothell student Arlie Moore, majoring in health studies, is just one of the college students who did not qualify for the government stimulus check. While she is fortunate because she is considered an essential worker with her job as a behavior specialist, Arlie is more concerned for her family members. Her sister did not receive the check either and lost her job when public places closed, so now she is worrying about making ends meet. Arlie’s brother did receive a stimulus check even though he was in the same circumstances as his sisters: they all were claimed as dependents last tax season and were all college students at the time of the check disbursement.

 Arlie said “… I know some people who are claimed as dependents are getting [the check].” She isn’t in need of the funds, so it doesn’t affect her as much if she gets them or not. “I don’t need a stimulus check, but if I got one it could be beneficial in some sort of way,” Arlie says. However, her sister is in need of the funds, so Arlie hopes additional funds from the UWB relief grant and other resources make it to her sister and the other students that need it during this pandemic. 

Jeannette Wilson is an example of what scholarships can do financially for students during these hard times. Like many UWB students, Jeannette was struggling to pay for college. Jeannette applied for a scholarship through her school at Bellevue College

 Jeannette said “it was a pretty easy application process. There was a general application, probably about 4-5 essay questions, kind of like a short answer type of question. I also needed a letter of recommendation as well.” Jeannette has to pay for most of her college by herself and she lost her job due to COVID-19. “When I found out that I got it… it took that financial burden of both of us [her and her parents] because that scholarship ended up paying for the whole entire senior year of college,” Jeannette said.

For many, there is a fear that Universities will start to reduce merit and need-based aid because of the pandemic. After talking to Robin Chang from the Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships & Awards, she explained that this pandemic has not affected any scholarship money that is being awarded as of right now. The University of Washington Bothell offers support to students by giving the option to apply for scholarships. There is a UW Bothell General Scholarship that is awarded to students each quarter. Students can apply by attaching a copy of the resume, answering a few short questions, writing a personal statement, and turning it on time.

You can find more information on the application process on the UW Bothell general scholarship page on the link above. For students who struggle with writing and need help with resumes, personal statements, etc. The Writing and Communication Center (WCC) is more than happy to help with students not only with homework but with applying for scholarships.

The writing and communication center stated that they “see quite a few people who come with these kinds of assignments,” and that they are “always more than happy to help students with their applications!”. The center says “I can tell you that since fall quarter, we’ve had 382 people come who have categorized the nature of their assignment as a cover letter/ personal statement.” A writing center is a great tool for students to help strengthen their application so that they have a better chance of receiving their scholarships.

If you miss the deadline for the UW Bothell General Scholarship, there are other private scholarship search sites that students can use to apply for college. Scholarships.com is a free site that offers millions of scholarships for high school to college-level students. For anyone needing extra help and money and missed the UWB scholarship deadline, this site will help relieve that stress. Two-thirds of students who graduate end up with piles of debt, usually averaging at $20,000. Sites like the one listed above help relieve some of the debt for students.

The University of Washington has announced an emergency loan for students who have difficulty paying for housing during emergency situations. Information can be found at https://www.washington.edu/emergencyaid/. The University of Washington tries to support students in multiple ways and financing is one of the important issues for students. The current pandemic situation has made it hard for students with payments on housing. The emergency aid is for University of Washington students whose education is being negatively affected due to financial struggles. Other than housing, the emergency loans offered are emergency medical/dental costs, family emergencies, natural disasters, and loss of income. 

The University of Washington has given students the option during this outbreak to request a revision on their financial aid. This provides a resource for students who need extra funds but they have already applied for financial aid. The Revision Request for Additional Expenses asks students to fill out the lost expenses that they have faced during COVID-19. Once the form is sent in, the UW financial aid office will review it and the funds needed, and from there, funds will be distributed. 

This pandemic has left a lot of students clueless about what their next move is going to be, but it is clear that there are some ways to get some help. The number one advice received from students and staff was to apply for financial aid and scholarships as early as you can, like Jeannette Wilson. As far as the stimulus checks are concerned, we know that students that were claimed as a dependent on their guardian’s tax return did not receive it, like Arlie Moore, but that is not true in all cases, like her brother. If you are one of the many students that need that extra income, make sure to reflect that on your FAFSA and resubmit it so you can get the aid you need.

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