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Hurricane Irma

The University of West Florida is fully engaged in providing assistance in Florida’s recovery following Hurricane Irma’s impact on the peninsula. Our efforts focus on providing support not only to our students, faculty, staff and alumni but to all Floridians and other Florida institutions in need of assistance.


Before the storm, UWF worked to prepare potential staging areas and shelters for disaster response teams and staff from other institutions for continuity of operations.

“The UWF family stands ready to assist our fellow Floridians in any way we can. Students, faculty, staff and alumni have volunteered to staff the shelters. Many of the student volunteers are from Central and South Florida and are waiting to hear from their own families. I am very proud of them.”

UWF President Martha Saunders

On Saturday, Sept. 9 and throughout the weekend, more than 80 UWF students signed up as American Red Cross shelter volunteers. Several UWF staff and alumni also joined the volunteer efforts.

Students volunteer with red cross during hurricane Irma
Students and community members volunteer with red cross during hurricane Irma
Students and other members of the community volunteer with red cross during hurricane Irma

"Students at UWF have always had a culture of giving back to the community. We, as a student body, are ready to help in all ways possible to aid those in need. We stand together during tough times like this and will show that through our efforts. We thank our university administration and community partners for working together for the best interest of the community."

UWF Student Body President Kishane Patel

Volunteer Opportunities

UWF students have the opportunity to serve as volunteers for those evacuating and sheltering in our community. Argos may sign up to volunteer and indicate their availability by filling out the ArgoPulse Volunteer Form. Additional shifts will be added as the relief efforts continue.

Faculty and staff can visit volunteerflorida.org for information about volunteering or donating to Hurricane Irma relief efforts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Financial Aid

If I or my parent lost a job due to the hurricane, can my financial aid be adjusted? If you have extenuating circumstances such as loss of employment due to layoff, discharge, retirement or disability, please contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships and speak with a financial aid counselor.

What if we lost tax returns and other documents in the hurricane that financial aid is requesting? Federal tax return transcripts can be obtained from irs.gov. The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will work with students and parents to waive verification documents lost in the hurricane, as permitted by the U.S. Department of Education.

Will dropping classes affect my financial aid? Students receiving financial aid who drop or withdraw from courses may be required to repay financial aid. Withdrawing from classes may impact Satisfactory Academic Progress. Students considering dropping or withdrawing should first speak with a financial aid counselor.

Will withdrawing from classes as a result of the hurricane affect my academic eligibility for Title IV financial aid? Students receiving financial aid who drop or withdraw from courses may be required to repay financial aid. Withdrawing from classes may impact Satisfactory Academic Progress. Students considering dropping or withdrawing should first speak with a financial aid counselor.

Did the closure affect financial aid refunds? University officials worked to ensure that financial aid refunds were distributed as scheduled on Sept. 8, 2017.

Enrollment and Classes

I need to withdraw from the University as a result of Hurricane Irma. Where do I start that process? If you haven’t talked with your Academic Advisor or Program Coordinator, we highly encourage you to see if there are options before withdrawing. This is also an important step as they will be able to document your withdrawal and help adjust your graduation plans to help keep you on track. To determine which withdrawal option best fits your circumstances, review the following website at http://uwf.edu/offices/registrar/registration/withdrawals-/.

If I need to go home to help my family, will I be excused from class? Please notify your professors and let them know your situation. Also, reach out to your academic advisor and discuss your situation with them. Together you can develop a plan of action to accommodate your situation and keep you on track academically.

I am unable to attend classes because I am dealing with hurricane related issues. What should I do? Please contact your professors and check your course syllabi to determine if your professors have given direction for bad weather or missed classes. Your professor will help you determine whether or not you can complete the missed work in your course and get back on track. Also contact your academic advisor to work on a plan of action to handle your enrollment this semester and get you back on track. If you are unsure about who your academic advisor is contact The First Year Advising Center: 850.474.3170 / fyac@uwf.edu.

How do I know if I need to drop my classes as a result of missing class? Please reach out to your professors. They will let you know where you stand in the class and if make-up work is possible. After reviewing your options, you can work with your Academic Advisor or the Office of the Registrar on options for withdrawing from your courses.

If I have a friend from an affected area can they enroll at UWF? Yes, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions will admit students that are currently enrolled at one of the State University System of Florida institutions. Students that are thinking of transferring either temporarily or permanently should complete the Florida SUS Displaced Student Enrollment Form and someone from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions will contact each student to discuss enrollment options.

How will I make up the classes that were canceled because UWF was closed for the hurricane? Please reach out to your professors. Your professors will let you know how course work will be made up as the result of missed classes.

How will my deadlines for online courses be adjusted? All online classes were canceled during the University’s closure, which results in the adjustment of deadlines during that time period. Your professors will let you know how course work will be made up as the result of missed classes.

I am a fully online student living in an area affected by Hurricane Irma. What do I do? If you are participating in online courses from an area that have been affected by Hurricane Irma, please contact your faculty members as soon as possible to let them know of your situation. We are asking faculty to work with you to allow extra time on assignment completion and engagement in your fully online courses.

Housing & Residence Life

I am a current student and my family home was impacted by the storm. I need to go home to help out. Can I cancel my UWF Housing contract? Housing will work with students on a case-by-case basis. Please contact Housing staff by visiting Building 19, calling 850.474.2463, or at housing@uwf.edu.

Support Services

If I have emergency support needs, whom should I contact? Students with emergency support needs should contact the Dean of Students Office at deanofstudents@uwf.edu or 850.474.2384.

I am struggling psychologically with the impact from Hurricane Irma. Is there someone I can talk to for help? Counseling and Psychological Services has a counselor on call 24 hours a day to help UWF students in a psychological crisis. During normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.), when the University is open, call Counseling & Psychological Services at 850.474.2420 for immediate assistance or walk into Building 960, Suite 200A and ask to be seen. After hours, or when the University is closed, call 850.474.2420 and the automated system will instruct you on how to page the counselor on call. We also have helpful tips and links related to coping with the aftermath of a natural disaster on our website at: http://uwf.edu/offices/counseling-psychological-services/self-help-resources/self-help-topics/coping-with-tragedy/. No matter how bad it seems in the moment there is hope and there is help. Do not hesitate to reach out. We are here to help.

I have significant personal hardship as a result of the hurricane and I’m not sure what to do about classes. What should I do? Please contact your academic advisor in First Year Advising or your Academic College who can help you find the appropriate resources. First year Advising: 850.474.3170 / fyac@uwf.edu. Other offices you might want to contact for assistance include: Dean of Students - 850.474.2384 / deanofstudents@uwf.edu, Counseling & Psychological Services - 850.474.2420 / counselingservices@uwf.edu, Financial Aid - 850.474.2400 / finaid@uwf.edu.

If my family needs to stay in Pensacola are there available spaces on campus? Families evacuating from the affected areas should first consider the public shelters operated by the Red Cross. These facilities are staffed with emergency volunteers and equipped with food, water and other essentials. Residential students with specific needs can contact UWF Housing for information about limited guest housing. Housing staff will assist on a case by case basis to determine the best course of action.

Volunteer Opportunities

How do I volunteer to assist with relief efforts? UWF students have the opportunity to serve as volunteers for those evacuating and sheltering in our community. Argos may sign up to volunteer and indicate their availability by filling out the ArgoPulse volunteer form. Additional shifts will be added as the relief efforts continue. You can also visit volunteerflorida.org for information about volunteering or donating before, during and after disasters.

Will I be excused from class if I am serving as an American Red Cross volunteer? The American Red Cross will provide the list of volunteers to UWF. Professors will be asked to be flexible with those students. We are extremely appreciative of your dedication.

What if my plans to get involved in the coming weeks are interrupted by the hurricane (ex. sorority recruitment, applications for leadership programs)? We encourage students to reach out out to the appropriate contact person(s) to discuss your particular situation, or contact involvement@uwf.edu if you are unsure whom to contact.

Displaced Students

This section includes information for students currently attending one of the 12 Florida state universities that are seeking to transfer to UWF due to Hurricane Irma.

Can I enroll at UWF if I cannot access my transcripts from my previous institutions? Yes, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions will admit students that are currently enrolled at one of the Florida SUS institutions. Students that are thinking of transferring either temporarily or permanently should complete the Florida SUS Displaced Student Enrollment Form and someone from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions will contact each student to discuss enrollment options.

If I enroll at UWF, how will that affect my Financial Aid? Students wishing to enroll and receive financial aid at UWF should add UWF’s school code of 003955 to their 2017-18 FAFSA at fafsa.gov. The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will contact students with more details about a financial aid package for UWF.

Is on-campus housing available if I enroll at UWF? There is limited availability for on-campus housing for those wishing to enroll at UWF. When completing the Florida SUS Displaced Student Enrollment Form, please be sure to indicate if you are seeking on-campus housing. A UWF representative will contact you to discuss housing options.

Faculty and Staff

My family and friends have been devastated by the hurricane. How can we find help? The Aetna Employee Assistance Program is available for all University employees via phone at 800.272.7252 or online at mylifevalues.com (username and password are both UWF in all capital letters). The website features a disaster resources section that includes practical tips as well as resources for coping with a disaster. All services and calls are strictly confidential between the employee and Aetna.

What can I do to support students that may have been impacted? We encourage faculty members to work with students who have been directly impacted by Hurricane Irma by assisting them with coursework outside of normal class hours (or through electronic means) until these students have been able to assist their families with the recovery effort. When appropriate, we also encourage faculty to consider excusing absences on a short-term basis for those students who have been most directly impacted by the Hurricane.

Will the University closure impact my paychecks? Payroll services were not disrupted and regularly scheduled payroll will occur on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. For more information, visit the UWF Human Resources website.

General Weather Preparedness

When does the University begin monitoring for potential hurricanes that may impact UWF? UWF is constantly monitoring for tropical system formation in the entire Atlantic Basin during the hurricane season which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. As storm systems move closer to our area, the campus community will be notified and kept aware of the progress of such systems.

How does the University decide to close during inclement weather? UWF constantly monitors weather information provided by the National Weather Service. Decisions to close are based on input from the NWS and in coordination with the Escambia County and state of Florida Emergency Operations Centers. The information is provided to the University's Emergency Management Team where a decision will be made whether or not to close based on the information provided.

How can I stay updated about hurricanes and tropical storms? In the event of a hurricane or tropical storm approaching Northwest Florida, University officials communicate with students via email, uwf.edu, UWF social media outlets (Facebook and Twitter) and the UWF text messaging system. Additional communication outlets include desktop/computer notifications and loud speakers/sirens and electronic displays on campus, when deemed necessary. Weather information is available by tuning into WUWF at 88.1FM or online at wuwf.org. Updates from the National Weather Service are available at weather.gov/mob and twitter.com/NWSMobile.

What shelters are available for UWF students?

Shelters for UWF Residential Students: When hurricane conditions are expected in the Pensacola area, the decision may be made to evacuate UWF residential students to the on-campus shelter. A decision regarding student evacuation to the shelter will be made as the storm progresses and communicated in a timely manner to residential students.

The official on-campus hurricane shelter for UWF residential students is located in the Science and Engineering Building (Building 4). If sheltering beyond the storm becomes necessary (loss of power, damage to buildings, etc.), sheltered students will be moved from Building 4 to the University Commons (Building 22), pending the appropriate clearance of Building 22.

In some circumstances it may be appropriate to shelter in place (e.g., instruct residents to remain in their buildings during a weather situation that does not pose a particular structural threat).

To learn more about residential student operations, visit this student preparedness webpage.

Public Shelters: All non-residential students seeking shelter should report to one of the designated County Shelters:

Due to space available, the University does not encourage employees and their families to use facilities as shelter space. However, the families of University employees who are required to work may stay on campus during the storm.



Disaster Recovery and Assistance

If you don’t find the information you need in this FAQ, you can send an inquiry to irma@uwf.edu. We are monitoring this email account and will forward your inquiry to the appropriate individuals.

For more information about disaster recovery and assistance: