Western Carolina University students now have access to financial assistance through
the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), a new federal grant program that
is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES, Act.
These emergency grant funds will be available to eligible WCU students who are experiencing
unexpected expenses or financial hardships that are directly related to changes in
campus operations due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The assistance will be available
to undergraduate and graduate residential degree-seeking students who are eligible
to be considered for financial aid. According to federal guidelines, funding will
not be available to distance education students, non-degree seeking students, or international
and undocumented students.
Students who were enrolled this spring or who graduated this spring should apply for
funding by 11:29 pm on May 31, 2020.
See the reporting for the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund here
Additional information is avalable in the frequently asked questions below:
How can HEERF funds be used?
HEERF funds are specifically intended to provide emergency financial aid grants to
students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19.
Can I apply for HEERF to replace lost wages?
No. Lost wages do not constitute actual expenses. WCU cannot award HEERF funds to
replace lost wages of the student or parent.
Am I eligible to apply for HEERF funding?
Students must have filed an application for financial aid (FAFSA) and met aid eligibility
- Degree Seeking
- Teacher Certification
Subject to further clarification or change
- Distance – your program of study was 100% online prior to March 13, 2020 when the
President of the United States declared a national emergency related to COVID-19
- Non-Eligible Citizens
If I am an eligible student and I have filed an application for financial aid (FAFSA),
how do I apply for HEERF funding?
You may access the HEERF application in myWCU. In 'My Financial Aid Status', select 'Scholarships' and 'Apply for or Accept Scholarships'.
This application is for spring and summer 2020; another application will open in advance
of the opening of fall 2020.
If I am an eligible student but have not filed an application for financial aid, must
I file to be considered for HEERF funding?
Yes. Eligible students must have filed an application for financial aid. You can
apply for financial aid for 2019-2020 at fafsa.gov.
What are the eligibility requirements to receive financial aid?
To be eligible to receive federal student aid, you must:
- Be a citizen or eligible noncitizen of the United States.
- Have a valid Social Security Number. (Students from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia,
and the Republic of Palau are exempt from this requirement.)
- Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate, or
have completed homeschooling. If you don’t, you may still be eligible for federal
student aid if you were enrolled in college or career school prior to July 1, 2012.
Additional information is available here
- Be enrolled in an eligible program as a regular student seeking a degree or teacher
- Maintain satisfactory academic progress.
- Not owe a refund on a federal student grant or be in default on a federal student
- Register (or already be registered) with the Selective Service System, if you are a male and not currently on active
duty in the U.S. Armed Forces. (Students from the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands
and the Republic of Palau are exempt from registering; more information is available here)
- Not have a conviction for the possession or sale of illegal drugs for an offense that
occurred while you were receiving federal student aid (such as grants, work-study, or loans). If you have such a conviction, you must complete the Student Aid Eligibility Worksheet
to determine if you are eligible for aid or partially eligible for aid.
WCU moved all courses online for spring and summer 2020; does that make me a distance
No. You are considered a distance student if your program of study was 100% online
prior to March 13, 2020 when the President of the United States declared a national
emergency related to COVID-19.
If I am an eligible student and have now completed an application for financial aid,
can I apply for HEERF funding now?
Yes. As soon as WCU receives your application for financial aid and WCU determines
that you meet aid eligibility requirements, the application for HEERF will be made
available to you.
How will I know the HEERF application has been made available to me?
The application for spring and summer is available in the myWCU portal
under the 'scholarships' link.
When will WCU start application reviews for HEERF?
Initial review will begin by May 1, and review will be ongoing thereafter.
How long will the application review process take?
The rate of application submissions will affect review processing time, but the preliminary
goal is that the review of a complete, submitted application would occur within seven
to ten business days.
How will I know if I have been approved for HEERF funds?
Approved HEERF funds will be posted in myWCU
, My Financial Aid Status, View Financial Aid Awards and History.
How will HEERF funds be disbursed to me?
HEERF funds will be deposited into your bank account if you have set up your direct
deposit bank information in myWCU/Bill+Payment. Please verify your bank information and make sure that it is correct.
If no bank information is supplied, the check will be mailed to your home address.
It may take one week to ten days longer to receive your refund if the refund is made
by paper check and mailed
If I do not want to apply for financial aid, can I apply for emergency relief funding
through WCU’s Student Emergency Fund?
If I am an ineligible student, how can I apply for emergency relief funding?
Will I be able to request funds in the fall should I experience financial hardship
related to COVID-19 this fall?
Yes, if funding is available. The current application targets requests pertaining
to spring and summer 2020; another application will open in advance of the opening
of fall 2020.