Several high-profile outlets have published articles or studies about the non-academic struggles of college students. These articles may have your students and families asking questions about resources, and wondering what to do if students encounter financial need during their college careers. Here are a couple of recent examples.
The Wisconsin Hope Lab looks at different challenges that college students face. The Lab recently released its third major national study, Still Hungry and Homeless in College. They found that between one-third and one-half of college students are in serious financial need. Where can these students find help?
The Washington Post recently published an article called Where College Students Can Find Emergency Money and Housing. It’s an easy-to-read piece that summarizes four ideas that students can use on their campuses.
Let’s bring that article closer to home. Where should UW System students go for help with an unexpected financial challenge?
Our first suggestion is simple: all students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA, in a timely manner each year. It takes one step out of the process of getting help should students or families encounter an unexpected financial need down the road.
Even if a student did not complete the FAFSA, the student should still contact the financial aid office to talk about the situation. Some campuses offer small grants, short-term loans, or other ways of assisting students with financial emergencies. All UW campuses will do their best to help!
Further, many of our campuses have food pantries for students. They are often in the student center or union. To find more information about how to access them, students may contact the Dean of Students Office.
That’s a great segue to our last point. Students should definitely contact the Dean of Students Office—sometimes it is called Student Life Office. It’s the place where students receive help for a wide variety of situations. People who work in these offices are problem solvers. They’re well-connected with resources, both on-campus and in the surrounding community.
Unexpected financial challenges happen to students and families, and our campuses are here to help.