The WashU First Year Grants were created as part of an ongoing effort to provide every student the true Washington University in St. Louis experience by providing funds for resources students need to engage fully in academic and campus life.

Due to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, Student Financial Services has adjusted the First Year grant funds to better serve our students. Please review the common questions below to learn more about the funds for this year and how to receive them.

Common Questions

What kind of funds will I receive and what can they be used for?

First Year Grant recipients for the 2020-21 academic year will receive a $1,115 computer grant, a $500 bookstore credit, and $1,000 start-up grant.

$1,115 Technology Grant Fund: These new funds are replacing your original $500 computer grant  and are to be used toward the purchase of a computer. This grant will fully cover a computer meeting minimum requirements for the undergraduate divisions. These funds will not show up on your financial aid award but are available to you through a account at the WashU Campus Bookstore and can only be used to purchase a laptop computer. This computer must be purchased during the Fall 2020 semester and these funds will not roll over to Spring 2021.

$1,000 Startup Grant Funds:
These funds will continue to be reflected in your financial aid award which you can see in your MyFAAccess portal. These funds can be used for necessary school items including but not limited to school supplies, residential hall supplies, and winter clothing. You are not required to purchase these items from one particular place or to show a proof of purchase.

$500 Bookstore Credit: These funds are sourced from the Startup Grant funds that will continue to be reflected in your financial aid award and will be available to you beginning September 1, 2020. The funds will roll over each semester if not used.

How do I know what kind of computer to buy?

Please refer to the WashU Tech Den website for detailed information on the type of computer you will need. Each school has different requirements. You can find several computer options on the WashU Campus Bookstore website for purchase.

Why am I required to have a laptop?

WashU students are required to have a laptop that meets or exceeds the minimum laptop specifications for their class or school.

It’s important to be able to take your school-work mobile. You will use it to take notes in class, for studying with your class-mates in the library, in study rooms or other campus locations or for remote online learning.

For more information on laptop requirements and questions please visit WashU Tech Den.

Do I have to purchase my computer through the WashU Campus Bookstore?

Yes. Your $1,115 technology grant must be used at the bookstore. You may choose which computer you would like purchase from the bookstore’s WashU Approved options, but note that the laptop purchase must also include a 3-year accident warranty. If your model does not list a 3-year warranty bundle, contact Aimee at so it can be added to the grant purchase and enrolled. 

Please note: Beginning September 1st, you can also combine some of your $250 bookstore credit with your computer purchase if the computer amount exceeds your $1,115 grant, but keep in mind your bookstore credit could be used for other items like schoolbooks as well.  

Can I save my Technology Grant Funds for the Spring?

No. Technology Grant Funds must be used in Fall of 2020, these will not roll over. If they are not used you will lose them.

When can I purchase my computer?

You can purchase your computer starting August 3. Your technology grant will be available in August and can be accessed through your online purchase at the bookstore’s website or in-person by showing your student ID when checking out. Your student ID number will be required for all purchases.

Check out this helpful guide if you plan on purchasing your computer during Missouri Tax Free Weekend.

Can I use my technology grant and/or bookstore credit online?

Yes. When you check out online click the “financial aid/scholarship” option and enter your student ID number. 

If you have questions about purchasing a computer or other items through the bookstore please email

How will I get my computer?

You can choose to either pick up your computer in person at the bookstore once you arrive to campus or have your computer shipped to your home address.  

If you plan on purchasing your computer during Missouri Tax Free weekend, please click here for specific shipping information.

What happens if I already purchased my computer?

For students who have already purchased a computer, or who already had a computer and were planning to use the previous $500 computer grant toward other expenses related to Fall 2020, we will on a case-by-case basis remove the $1,115 technology grant bookstore credit and replace it with the original $500 computer grant that you will receive as a refund the week of September 7th. Please reach out directly to your Student Financial Services Counselor to begin this process. 

How does the bookstore credit work?

Each semester recipients will receive a $250 bookstore credit. This credit can be used for any item at the bookstore including but not limited to books, technology, and school supplies.

Does my bookstore credit roll over?

Yes. If you do not use all of your bookstore credit for the fall semester the funds will roll over to the spring semester. 

When will I receive the $1,000 startup grant funds?

Each semester first year grant recipients will receive $500 in startup grants funds, for a total of $1,000 for the student’s first year. Students will receive an email from WashU once the funds are available. You can expect your fall funds to be available in early September.

How do I receive my $1,000 startup grant funds?

Startup grant recipients for 20-21 will receive their funds through a bank direct deposit or by check.  All checks will be mailed to students’ permanent home address. Each student will need to set up direct deposit through WebSTAC by August 26.

How do I set up direct deposit with my bank?

Visit WebSTAC to receive your grant funds, refunds and other disbursements through a direct deposit to your checking or savings account.

What can I use my startup grant funds for?

The startup grant funds are meant to help offset the extra “startup” costs first-year students experience like school supplies, residential hall supplies, winter clothing, etc.

Do I have to provide receipts of any of my purchases with my start-up grant funds?

No. We do not track what you purchase with your start-up grant funds. Each student’s needs are different and we leave it up to the student to decide what they need to purchase for their first-year. 

Can I use my grant funds to pay my balance in WebStac?

No. The startup grant funds are meant to offset some of the extra costs first-year students experience outside of tuition, fees, and room and board. These funds are a resource to our students so they can fully engage in academic and campus life without the extra burden of unexpected college costs.

Why do I still have a balance on my account?

Since the startup grant funds are meant to pay for additional costs outside of tuition, fees, and room and board credit for these funds do not show up on your student billing account. The funds will be directly deposited to your bank account or mailed to your permanent home for you to use. 

What is the refund I received at the beginning of the semester?

Some students who qualify for the startup grant may also qualify for a refund through WashU. If you are eligible for that refund you will receive those funds at the beginning of each semester in addition to your startup grant money. This refund will be available to you through direct deposit or a physical check mailed to your permanent address, whichever is set up on your student account during the time of disbursement. If you have questions about the amount of your refund, please reach out to your Student Financial Services Counselor.

What is the Summer Earnings Expectation Replacement Grant?

Your $1,550 summer earnings expectation for entering students has been waived, increasing your overall aid. You will be able to see this in your financial aid award as “summer earnings expectation replacement grant.” A credit of $775 will be automatically applied toward university charges at the beginning of each semester for the 2020-21 school year. 

Where can I find more information on budgeting for college?

Check out our Financial Literacy page to learn more tips on how to budget in college. You can also meet with you Student Financial Services Counselor with additional questions or needs you may have throughout your four years at WashU! 

Wondering what are the recommended specs for a laptop for your degree?

Check out – a new site that brings together each school’s recommended hardware specifications and more.