The University of South Florida, a national leader in student success, will make an unprecedented investment of $20 million to help students who are experiencing financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic remain on a path to timely graduation. The university has begun awarding the We Got U-SF Scholarship and Waiver to nearly 22,000 eligible undergraduate and graduate students to encourage full-time enrollment in the fall semester.
USF created this unique initiative upon recognizing that financial uncertainty may interrupt the academic progress of students, which could lead to increased debt and tens of thousands of dollars in lost wages from delayed entry into the workforce. Especially in light of COVID-19, many students and families may lack sufficient funds to enroll in college full-time as traditional scholarships and financial aid may not cover the full cost. USF developed this solution to help new and continuing students avoid having to make difficult decisions about their educational futures.
“At USF, we are deeply committed to supporting our students’ academic progress and success through these difficult times,” Provost and Executive Vice President Ralph Wilcox said. “We hope this investment will help support their full-time enrollment this fall as students begin their academic journey or continue to pursue their educational goals at USF.”
USF determined eligibility for the scholarship and waiver program by identifying students who are not already receiving scholarships from the Office of Admissions, Federal CARES Act Emergency Financial Aid funds for fall 2020 or are not receiving tuition waivers or third-party payments of tuition. Eligible students will receive an email from USF’s Office of Financial Aid or the Office of Admissions. The funds used for this initiative are restricted institutional dollars that have been allocated for financial aid.
The We Got U-SF Scholarship and Waiver is the latest program in a long history of USF’s commitment to student success. Since converting to remote instruction in the spring due to COVID-19, USF has taken numerous steps to support students both academically and financially, including retaining student employees who could work remotely, rebalancing fees to ensure summer session remained affordable, expanding tutoring services, partnering with a third party for online paid internships, ramping up food pantry operations, creating a laptop loaner program and distributing federal CARES Act funds to thousands of students. USF has also provided more than $500,000 in privately funded scholarships to support students facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19.