To our Cougar Community,
Congratulations for persevering though the Spring 2020 semester.
We are in awe of how our community has united to serve and care for each
other during this uncertain and unpredictable time. We have seen what
happens when we are all committed to creating the kind of place that
thousands of students, faculty, staff, and alumni would be proud to call
their home, their place of work, or the place where they graduated from.
On every one of our campuses, students worked to ensure their peers
did not go hungry. Faculty in every one of our colleges led their peers
and shared their expertise as we moved to remote teaching and learning.
Staff worked diligently to ensure the safety and security of all of our
campus, outreach, and extension locations across the state while moving
critical programs and services on‑line to support students, faculty,
As this academic year comes to a close, we wanted to provide a few
student‑focused updates to our Cougar Community. Thank you for your
patience and understanding as we took the necessary time to make
decisions that were aligned with our land‑grant mission with
locations and services across the state.
CARES Act distributions to students across the WSU system
Congress, including members of the Washington Delegation who
unanimously supported the bill, passed the Coronovirus Aid, Relief,
and Economic Security (CARES) Act and is providing unprecedented
amounts of emergency funding to support students attending institutions
of higher education during this pandemic. WSU’s Student Financial
Services will be distributing $10.884 million to students who qualify
for federal financial aid through direct disbursements based
on enrollment, expected family contribution, and need. Additionally,
eligible students can also apply for an emergency grant for exceptional
WSU students enrolled on the Pullman, Spokane, Everett, Vancouver
and Tri‑Cities campuses who are eligible for CARES Act
distribution will receive communication directly from Student Financial
Services beginning the week of May 4th. Students must certify that
these cash grants will be used to cover food, housing, course materials,
technology, health care, or childcare due to disruption in their
education or hardship because of COVID‑19. Eligible students will
receive between $500 and $1500 and will also be eligible to apply for
an emergency grant if they are experiencing exceptional circumstances
and need funds beyond the first disbursement. Detailed information about
WSU’s distribution of CARES Act funding can
be found online.
A few groups of students are not eligible for these funds including
WSU Global students who were enrolled exclusively in online distance
education, international students, and others who are not eligible for
CARES Act based on guidelines. Student who are not eligible for
CARES Act funding may apply for institutional emergency aid grants.
In the coming weeks, we will announce the university’s plan
for the institutional portion of the CARES Act distribution.
Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 mandatory student fees
across the WSU system
The university conducted an extensive review of mandatory
student fees. Besides the Services and Activities Fee
students pay each semester, there are other mandatory student fees
depending on which WSU campus they attend. Examples of these fees
include the Compton Union Building Fee, Stadium Fee, Transit Fee,
and Media Fee on the Pullman campus, the Student Union Fee on
the Tri‑Cities campus, as well as the Technology Fee on the
Pullman and Vancouver campuses.
These fees were initiated and approved through student referendum.
Students who attended WSU years ago voted to invest in a welcoming
and inclusive environment for future Cougars.
Approximately $12.5 million of these fees are dedicated to annual
mandatory building and facility debt payments in accordance with the
referendums. The remaining amounts are dedicated to paying student and
staff employees, programming, and operational costs.
As the university shifted to remote instruction starting in March,
programs and activities continued remotely. Student organization advising,
fitness classes, medical and counseling appointments, food pantry operations,
student success trainings and workshops were offered remotely across the
WSU system. Significant effort was required of both staff and student
employees to transition these services. Operational expenses such as utilities
and insurance are also needed to maintain buildings for when campuses are
allowed to re‑open.
Based on these factors, the WSU system will not be refunding or
crediting any portion of the Spring 2020 mandatory student fees.
Summer 2020 mandatory student fees will continue to be charged
at all of the WSU campuses as well.
Housing and dining on the WSU Pullman campus
Over one‑half of students who lived in university-owned
residence halls and apartments have already received Housing and
Resident Dining Accounts (RDA) refunds or credits. To date, nearly
$6 million dollars has been refunded or credited to students.
The remaining students will see refunds or credits on their MyWSU
account by May 8, 2020. If you have questions about the amount
refunded or credited, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are exceedingly thankful for the 70 students who donated
over $21,000 of their remaining RDA dollars to Cougs Feeding Cougs.
On Friday, May 1st, students who live in university-owned
residence halls and apartments will receive move‑out information
delivered to their @wsu.edu email accounts. Students will be able to
retrieve their belongings beginning May 5 through May 31.
In order to adhere to social distance guidelines provided by federal,
state, and local health authorities, students must sign‑up for
a specific move‑out time. Detailed instructions will be provided
to students once a move‑out time has been confirmed.
Virtual town hall
Please join us for our virtual town hall tomorrow which is dedicated
to addressing student-related questions including computer and internet
access, grading options including pass/fail, student fees, move‑out
process, and emergency financial assistance including the CARES Act.
The town hall will be live‑streamed on May 1st at 11 a.m.
Pacific Time at our Experience WSU website.
As you reflect on this Spring 2020 semester, we hope that you
look back as we have. We know not everything went as we had dreamt or
imagined. We know that events, programs, and activities we spent months
planning did not happen as we expected. We know we are more grateful for
things like spending time with loved ones and we are more resilient than
we thought we were all those weeks ago. It is from that place of courage,
that place of strength that we will emerge as One WSU as we head into
And, as always, Go Cougs!
Mary Jo Gonzales
Vice President of Student Affairs
Vice President of Finance and Administration
Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs