Skip to main content

Helping Northwestern students impacted by COVID-19

The emergency COVID-19 fund has already distributed nearly $1 million to students.

A temporary emergency assistance fund established to help students with travel and technology costs associated with the transition to remote learning will remain available through April 15. Beyond that date, students impacted by COVID-19 can continue to access the University’s many financial aid resources and other assistance as the impacts of the pandemic continue.

To date, the temporary emergency COVID-19 fund has helped more than 1,100 students and distributed nearly $1 million. Set up in mid-March, the fund was designed to help students with travel costs associated with Northwestern’s goal of depopulating its campuses to increase social distancing and slow the spread of the virus. The fund also provides money to students who need to purchase technology and equipment associated with remote learning.

University officials said the fund has helped accomplish the goal of transitioning students to remote learning, providing a bridge between in-person Winter Quarter and remote Spring Quarter. Still, they realize COVID-19 will continue to impact students’ lives in many ways in the days and weeks to come.

Lesley-Ann Brown-Henderson, acting chief of staff and executive director of campus inclusion and community for Student Affairs, said administrative leaders from across Northwestern worked collaboratively to ensure students were able to go home with the support of the University and the resources provided by the temporary emergency aid fund. For those who could not, accommodations were made for them to remain on campus.

“As the impact of COVID-19 began to intensify, it was imperative that we centered students and not the crisis as we worked to de-densify campus,” Brown-Henderson said.

Julie Payne-Kirchmeier, vice president for Student Affairs, said the University community will continue to work together to navigate and respond to the impact of the pandemic.

“I’m humbled by our students’ resiliency and resolve amid the life-altering impacts of this pandemic,” Payne-Kirchmeier said. “As we begin Spring Quarter, we know members of our community will face many challenges, and we will continue supporting students as they occur.”

Payne-Kirchmeier said the University recognizes that some students may experience increased food insecurity and lost income for family members as a result of COVID-19. 

“Northwestern provides a number of resources and services to help students as they navigate these difficult and uncertain times,” Payne-Kirchmeier said.

Phil Asbury, director of Financial Aid, said the University has many existing resources to help students meet new financial needs caused by the pandemic. 

“We recognize that the effects of this pandemic have brought short-term but also long-term challenges for many of our students and families,” Asbury said. “Families who suffer unfortunate and very difficult changes in their financial circumstances will receive help both in the near term and in the future.”

Among the resources available to students are:

  • The Emergency Aid Fund is available for students who encounter unexpected expenses or a change in financial circumstances; 
  • Health Service EvanstonHealth Service Chicago and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) are now available online, as are patient advocates, who can help students navigate insurance and healthcare billing questions; 
  • The Books for Cats program enables first-year students to borrow course materials;
  • For students with Aetna health insurance, there will be no co-pays for telemedicine visits for any reason for 90 days, and there will be no deductible or co-insurance for diagnostic testing related to COVID-19;
  • For those on or near campus, Health Service is open and Purple Pantry is available by appointment.

Additional information about the University’s response to the pandemic can be found at Northwestern’s COVID-19 resource page, which includes a range of FAQs related to the virus.

Northwestern community members who have questions can contact the COVID-19 Resource Center at and 847-467-4111.