Warhawk Emergency Fund

Warhawk Emergency Fund

Welcome to the Warhawk Emergency Fund

Life can be difficult. Each of us face challenges in our lives. The goal of the Warhawk Emergency Fund is to make sure that those challenges don’t lead to dropping out of college.

Whether you are here because you need help or because you want to offer help, or even if you are just looking to learn more about the program, we welcome you.

What is the Warhawk Emergency Fund?

Paying for college can be difficult. An unexpected expense, loss of supporting family member, inability to secure employment: all of these can influence a decision to stay in school or leave prematurely. UW-Whitewater's Warhawk Emergency Fund provides assistance to students at risk of dropping out of college due to unexpected financial emergencies.

The program aim is to support a student to bridge the gap, help them stay in college and meet their educational goals, and ultimately allow them to secure a better financial future.

History of the Warhawk Emergency Fund

The program originated through a two-year grant by Ascendium. The pilot grant was offered to test the success of an emergency fund at UW-W and to encourage us to find our own funding source to continue past the testing period.

Did it work? Absolutely!

During our pilot program, we have seen our already impressive student retention rates increase by nearly 8%; from near 92% to 100% (spring 2019 figure). So, we are naturally enthusiastic about continuing the program and equally pleased to have helped so many students stay in college. View success stories and videos here.

With the conclusion of the pilot program in August 2019, we are now faced with the challenge of funding this valuable resource. Learn more!


  • Need police, fire, or ambulance? Dial 911.
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  • Having other emergency?

Are you experiencing an urgent financial problem? That is what the Warhawk Emergency Fund is all about. Click here to learn more about applying for assistance. The process is fast, straight forward, and confidential. We want to help you succeed.

Are you a student experiencing a financial crisis? Let’s see if we can help. Remember, you can always contact us directly, too, if you have any questions.

Applicant Eligibility

Five eligibility criteria apply to students seeking assistance. Eligible students need to:

  • Have a completed FAFSA on file unless they are DACA students.
  • Have an EFC (Expected Family Contribution) of $7,000 or less.
  • Provide documentation of the financial emergency.
  • Be actively enrolled during the term in which the application is submitted.
  • Have room in their financial aid budget for additional assistance.

Assistance is granted without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, age, gender, disability, or national origin.

This is a one-time only award capped at $1,000, but exceptions can sometimes be made at the discretion of the WEF Team. Students from Rock County campus will be supported by this fund only after depleting the $500 maximum emergency assistance offered to them from a different fund program. They may then receive up to an additional $500 in assistance from the Warhawk Emergency Fund program.

No second request exceptions will be made for students who do not attend Financial Literacy training.

Eligible Expenses


  • Child Care
  • Food/Meals
  • Gas
  • Housing/Rent
  • Medical/Dental Expenses
  • Personal Automobile Expenses
  • Public Transportation/Bus Pass
  • Utilities


  • Legal Fees
  • Tuition
  • Car Loans
  • Credit Card Bills
  • Any other expenses deemed inessential by the WEF Team



Application Process

Note: [With the exception of winterim], a student must be actively enrolled during the term in which the application is submitted.

Submitting an Application

If you think you might be eligible for aid, complete an application.

  1. Create an account at https://uww.dreamkeepers.org/
  2. Complete an Application.
  3. Submit application for review.


When applying, pay special attention to these two sections

  • The Statement of Need section tells us about the financial crisis you’re facing, how you’re coping and/or trying to remedy the situation (what steps you’ve taken), and your plan to maintain financial stability. This is an important section of the application and requires details. See example statements for suggestions on writing this section.
  • The Supporting Documents section is a repository for uploading the bill or estimate(s) of the cost for your fund request. If you are requesting funds for food or gas, you do not need supporting documentation. In all other cases, you will need to provide support document(s) with estimate of cost for the service(s) you request. You may provide documents in .pdf, .png, or .jpg format. Upload using the Add or Delete File button.

If you find the application process difficult/challenging, you may seek help from caseworkers in the WEF office or from staff members in the following offices on campus:

  • Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
  • Center for Students with Disabilities
  • University Health and Counseling Services

When you’ve completed the application, click the Submit button to send it for review.

Deletion of Incomplete/Unsubmitted Application

While we understand that students juggle many daily activities and time is sparse, the WEF program assumes that a student in financial crisis will not delay in completing an application. Should the application remain incomplete and/or unsubmitted after one month, the application will be deleted. At that point, a student seeking assistance must restart the application process.

Approval Process

Upon application, you will be assigned a caseworker that will follow your application through the three-step process.

Step 1) Check for Room in Student’s Financial Aid Budget A committee consisting of a caseworker, Financial Aid Office, and WEF committee members will review your financial aid budget.

  • If you have reached your maximum budget level, you will be denied funds from that source, which prevents you from owing money back to the university in a case where you’d be awarded funds by the Warhawk Emergency Fund.
  • If room exists in your budget and the WEF committee awards you funds, you will receive the amount determined by the committee, an amount not exceeding your budget.

Step 2) Award Decision

Approval typically takes two business days; however, please be aware that holidays, staffing, or other issues may arise to delay the process. After application review, you will be notified of the committee’s decision by your caseworker.

Step 3) Award Distribution (Payout of Funds)

After notifying an applicant of an award, the caseworker will make payment to a third party for services rendered. Payment type will be determined by the WEF office on a case-by-case basis. Once the application process is complete, award payments will be available within 2 business days in most cases.

  • If the service is for gift cards, the applicant will arrange to pick them up at the WEF Office.
  • If the service is from outside the university, the applicant shall inform the caseworker when service is underway, so that the caseworker can make payment for the service. Some (but not all) service providers will provide a receipt to the WEF program for services rendered. In cases where providers do not provide a receipt directly to WEF, the applicant is required to obtain the receipt and submit a copy of it to the WEF Office. Receipts are required for business accounting purposes. We advise the applicant to retain the actual receipt for their own records.

Deletion of Awarded Application with No Details on Service Provider

If the caseworker has not been notified of services rendered within 30 days of award decision, the application will be deleted and the applicant will need to reapply with a new application if assistance is still needed.

Financial Literacy

All recipients are required to attend financial literacy training. Recipients can attend one of several group sessions conducted during a semester (to which all recipients get invited to register by email), or can register online to attend a private coaching with the financial literacy coordinator on campus (by completing an online form through the UW-W Financial Literacy Center at http://www.uww.edu/adminaffairs/finance/financial-literacy/contact-us#ScheduleCoaching

Get credit for attending financial literacy either by signing in at the group session or by letting the financial coach know (during private coaching) that you were referred by WEF.

Note: All financial literacy group sessions and private coaching are conducted by professionals in the financial business and/or financial education business.

Other Resources

Students in financial crisis often experience other areas of concern that can interfere with focus on studies. Following is information about other available resources on campus.


Student Employment

The WEF assistance program was designed to help low-income students fill an unexpected hardship so they may remain in college and achieve their goal of attaining a degree that could provide the opportunity of a good career. The program was not designed to be an easy hand-out.

While students’ class loads vary and each student has a different ability to take on extra commitments, the UW offers an abundance of work study and paid jobs with flexible hours and schedules. Something is sure to suit everyone. Though employment is not required to receive funding, the effort to obtain employment shows initiative and responsibility on a student’s part and reflects well for any student who applies a second time in hope of additional funding. Jobs on campus are available through Handshake. To seek out job opportunities, the student would start by going to https://uww.joinhandshake.com/login


CARE Team and Other University Services

College can be a very challenging endeavor for some students. And the experience can be made all the more compounded and stressful by external and additional internal factors (e.g., stressful family life, slow reading and math skills, health concerns, assault threat, etc.). The WEF assistance program can help alleviate some of the financial stresses for students, but to address other concerns and help struggling students succeed, UW-Whitewater offers a variety of services at no expense to the student.

For information about these services, contact your caseworker.

Not only does the WEF program improve student retention, overcoming financial hardship improves lives. Click on the videos below to learn how.

Student Success Stories:





More about the WEF:



Since the fund's establishment in 2017, 300 students have been awarded almost $250,000 to pay for housing, auto repairs and transportation, medical/dental bills, utilities, childcare and a wide range of other emergency needs. That is 300 students who may otherwise have dropped out of college and never have had the opportunity to earn their degree and improve their future financial well-being.

What does this look like from another perspective? That is an 8% increase in retention of at-risk students in two years: from 92% to 100% by 2019.

That is two years’ worth of hard work that did not come easily. That is also two years’ worth of pilot grant funding which has now come to an end.

The Warhawk Emergency Fund (WEF) needs your help.


It’s simple and easy!

If you have any questions or need assistance with this online form, please contact the UW-Whitewater Foundation at 262-472-1105.

To sustain long-term operation assistance programs like the WEF, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater depends on the generosity of gifts from donors. The WEF program is largely supported by non-taxed donations, bequests, and memorials. We are extremely grateful for these charitable gifts.

If you would like to help keep a deserving student in college by contributing to the Warhawk Emergency Fund, donate today! Do you have questions about payroll deductions or setting up a bequest or memorial? Contact us today.

Campus Fundraising

Program gifts from generous donors are our main source of funding, but it is not our only effort. The WEF committee is committed to:

  • Collaborate with the UW-W Alumni Center to call upon UW-Whitewater graduates for support.
  • Conduct campus fund drives.
  • Host drawings at campus and local community functions.

Our source for funding is ongoing. Do you have a suggestion or would you like to become involved with our fundraising efforts? Let us know!

Contact Us

Do you have questions about anything you’ve read on this site? Would you like to offer a fundraising suggestion or become involved in our fundraising efforts? Are you a student seeking help? Please contact us.

Program Administrator

Lauren Smith (smithlb@uww.edu)

Warhawk Emergency Fund

2017A Roseman Hall, UW-Whitewater


P: 262-472-2125
F: 262-472-5027

Are you a student at UW-W Rock County?

Your first step is to apply for funds set aside for our branch campus. This fund is intended to help with unexpected financial emergencies, such as medical expenses, dental expenses, car repair, or travel for family emergency. We cannot help with on-going monthly expenses such as rent, credit card bills, groceries or utilities. We also can't pay for tuition, textbooks, student fees, legal services or fines. No more than two grants per academic year per student, not to exceed $500 in total is available. For more information, log in and complete the application. If you are turned down for UW-Rock County funding, you may still be eligible for Warhawk Emergency Funds.