FAQ for students

These resources will be continually updated. Please check back for additional information and continue to monitor the UW-Madison COVID-19 websites,,, and, for the most current information.

If you are experiencing technology challenges, including hardware, software and network issues, we understand. Networks all over the world are seeing unprecedented use, and everything is moving more slowly as a result. You may need to allow more time to accomplish tasks that otherwise might have happened instantly. (First check if something is slow or not working properly.) If you continue to experience challenges, email and we will follow up as soon as we can.

For all other questions, please email us at and we will follow up, if needed, as soon as we can.

Graduate students, view information specifically for you at the bottom of this page.

Course Instruction and Technology Support

Yes. Instructors for each of your courses will contact you to let you know how to access lectures and materials needed for your courses. Watch your email or Canvas course page for these instructions. Make sure you turn on your notifications for your Canvas course page.

Faculty, staff, and students have access to resources that enable them to access UW-Madison working and learning tools remotely. DoIT has assembled a guide for working remotely and a guide for learning remotely. We strongly recommend testing these tools before you need them. Individual instructors will reach out to their students to provide more information and guidance on remote coursework.

We recommend using wired broadband internet service and not to rely on mobile hotspots for wireless carriers. While hotspots are convenient for occasional internet access, they do not provide enough data in the plans to sustain continued full-time work or learning from home. Contact your local internet provider to see if they are offering free or reduced rates right now. Many carriers are currently offering low-cost options.

The CAE Helpdesk is also available to support faculty, staff, and students who need additional assistance. And if something seems to be running slowly or not working as expected, check to see if there’s a larger issue our tech staff already are addressing.

The CAE Help Desk is staffed by workers called Consultants. Consultants go through a training program that focuses on hardware, software, and network trouble shooting.

Consultants can help you with installation of supported tethered software, Windows and linux computing issues, as well as account problems. If the on-duty consultant is unable to help you, they will refer you to someone else who can.

You can contact them through

Charter Communications-Spectrum

Beginning Monday, March 16, Charter committed to the following for 60 days:

Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription and at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 1-844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households. Charter will partner with school districts to ensure local communities are aware of these tools to help students learn remotely. Charter will continue to offer Spectrum Internet Assist, high speed broadband program to eligible low-income households delivering speeds of 30 Mbps. Charter will open its Wi-Fi hotspots across our footprint for public use. Spectrum does not have data caps or hidden fees.

Free Comcast Xfinity internet

Comcast Xfinity is currently offering its Internet Essentials program free for two months to new customers. The internet provider is also automatically increasing speeds for all Internet Essentials customers.

Comcast Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots are also open and free to use by anyone.

Free internet for students from Altice

Altice internet providers Suddenlink and Optimum are offering 60 days of free internet service for households with K–12 or college students. Internet speeds are up to 30 Mbps if you do not already have access to a home internet plan. To sign up, call 1-866-200-9522 if you live in an area with Optimum internet service, or call 1-888-633-0030 if you live in an area with Suddenlink internet service.

Free low-income internet from Cox

Until May 12, 2020, Cox is offering the first month of its low-income internet program, Connect2Compete, for free. The internet service is also providing free phone and remote desktop support for technical support during that time.

This link has a few more affordable internet access programs:

We understand that some students will experience financial hardship associated with the impact of COVID-19 as it relates to family, travel and academics. Please find the full list of resources at the University’s COVID-19 FAQ page under the ‘Financial Matters’ section:

Here are a few options for document scanning apps that will take readable pictures of documents and whiteboards (in no specific order):

  • Office Lens
  • Scanbot
  • CamScanner
  • Genius Scan
  • Evernote Scannable
  • Google Drive
  • Scanner Pro

Undergraduate Learning Center – Tutoring and Other Academic Support

We know this is question is very important, and we are continuing to work with university leadership to discuss our options. You can visit for the latest UW-Madison information about grading and academic policies.

No. Wendt, like all other engineering buildings, has been closed until further notice.  All of the Undergraduate Learning Center programs will be moved to on-line services and resources.

Drop-in tutoring will be moved on-line and will be accessible through a Canvas page that will be linked to the ULC website (  Support for all courses will not be immediately available the first week of on-line tutoring; the schedule for the week of March 23 will be posted on the website by Sunday, March 22 and will be updated frequently as additional course support is available.  We appreciate your patience as we train tutors in on-line tutoring and prepare resources for you.  If you have concerns about a particular course, you can contact us at

Yes. Although housing is not able to offer tutoring for the rest of the year, there are other tutoring services still available on campus.  The Math Lab and Statistics Learning Center both support courses many engineering students take.  The Computer Sciences department has added additional tutoring/office hours help to their courses through their Canvas pages, and the Chemistry Learning Center has links to many helpful on-line resources on their website.  For details about these services and other learning support offices on campus, see:

Yes. We will continue to offer PrEPS and Canvas course page will be the main point of contact.  For most students, you will continue to meet at the same time as your in-person session prior to spring break.  At least one of the courses supported by PrEPS is changing the times they meet (to a time that conflicts with a PrEPS section) so we might need to be flexible and adjust some times.  Your facilitator will be in touch with you by Sunday, March 22 with more information.

Yes. You are welcome to join the PrEPS study table, which gives you access to the Canvas page and all of the resources used by the PrEPS lab sections. Contact to join.

You will schedule sessions through the same system as in the past (  The system is temporarily closed, but will be available to schedule sessions beginning Sunday, March 22.  You will receive an email when you schedule a session that will explain how to connect with your tutor.

Please contact us at and we will respond as quickly as possible.


Yes. All College of Engineering academic advising services will be provided remotely. Advisors will be available for remote appointments and by email. Your academic advisor will send you an email with detailed instructions. Use the Starfish app in your MyUW portal to make an appointment.  If you have an urgent need in the meantime, please email your academic advisor (preferred) or If you don’t know who your academic advisor is, you can find your academic advisor in your Student Center via the MyUW portal.

Engineering students who are working on meeting progression requirements will receive an email with detailed instructions about how to complete and submit their required course planning form and DARS online. We will not be using the drop-in advising schedule you received at group advising.  You are also welcome to email your academic advisor with any questions.  If you don’t know who your academic advisor is, you can find your academic advisor in your Student Center via the MyUW portal.

  • Different majors and certificates have different requirements and declaration processes. Check Guide for admissions and declaration information.
  • Send your completed/approved major or certificate declaration form to
    • You can submit a PDF, scanned form, or legible photo of the form
  • Important note: some programs are suspending declarations in response to the transition to remote learning, please check in with the major or certificate advisor for updates.
  • Additional majors and certificates are declared for students who have progressed in their major and are in good standing.
  • Questions? Email Megan at
  • Send your completed/approved option declaration form to
    • You can submit a PDF, scanned form, or legible photo of the form
  • Alternatively, you can work with your advisor and/or faculty advisor to generate an email chain that demonstrates your interest in declaring and faculty/advisor approval to add the option. This email chain should then be forwarded to
  • Major options are declared for students who have progressed in their major and are in good standing.
  • Questions? Email Megan at

Buildings and Facilities

No. To lessen the risk to our community as much as possible, UW-Madison will suspend Spring Semester face-to-face instruction effective Saturday, March 14.

Alternate delivery of classes will begin on March 23 and continue through the end of the semester. Students will receive additional information about this transition.

No. As the university increases the number of faculty and staff who are working remotely in ongoing efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, all College of Engineering buildings will be closed and unavailable for your access until you receive communication otherwise.

To lessen the risk to our community as much as possible, UW–Madison has suspended Spring Semester face-to-face instruction effective Saturday, March 14, moving entirely to online instruction through the end of the semester.

Check the Campus Operations page for the most up-to-date information campus buildings/facilities.

Financial Aid and Scholarships

We understand that some students will experience financial hardship associated with the impact of COVID-19 as it relates to family, travel and academics. Please find information about student employment and an income continuation plan here:

The Office of Student Financial has funds available for all students, regardless of FAFSA eligibility. Email is the best way to contact them at They have reduced virtual hours, Monday-Friday, from 10 am – 2 pm. Call 608.262.3060 during those business hours to speak with a financial aid advisor.

The application deadline for the 2020 Spring Awards is Sunday, March 22. These awards are available to current seniors as well as other enrolled students.  Award notifications will be sent out in late April. You can apply for these scholarships here:

The scholarship application for the 2020-2021 academic year is now available for enrolled, continuing students. The deadline for applying is May 1, 2020.

How to apply:

  1. Log into Wisconsin Scholarship Hub  (WiSH) using your UW NetID and password. Complete the question set in the General Application.
  2. Your responses to the General Application will match you to the College of Engineering – Enrolled Undergraduate Application, and may match you to other applications within engineering or across campus.
    1. Mechanical Engineering majors will need to complete a separate application for Mechanical Engineering-specific scholarships.
    2. For all other majors, departments will review submissions to the College of Engineering – Enrolled Undergraduate Application to award their department-specific scholarships.
  3. Complete all applications that you are matched to in order to be considered for those scholarships.

Please contact us at and we will respond to you as quickly as possible.

Engineering Career Services

Yes. You may schedule an online or phone appointment with an ECS staff member using Starfish.  If you would just like a resume review, you may email it to and it will be returned within 24 hours with feedback on how to make it more effective.

Orientation sessions for students who are seeking credit for a summer internship or summer/fall co-op will still be able to attend an orientation session virtually. Sessions will be offered LIVE online at the previously scheduled in-person time. More information on the dates and times, along with the code to join the orientation virtually, can be found at

At this time summer opportunities are generally continuing as scheduled. ECS recommends that as the situation progresses, to check in with your summer employer as certain geographic areas or industries may be impacted differently than others. Reach out to Stephanie Salazar Kann at if you have received news that your summer opportunity will not be occurring.

Handshake will continue to be a powerful resource for students as recruiting in person will be limited. Use the “engineering recommended” label from within the Jobs search section to pull up a curated list of positions that are focused specifically on engineering students. ECS is working diligently to maintain this label for students.  You can schedule virtual appointments with staff using Starfish or reach out to us at

Engineering Student Organizations

No. To lessen the risk to our community as much as possible, students will not have access to College of Engineering building spaces, and should not be meeting in person or in in groups.

There are several UW tools available to students.  WebEX and Microsoft Teams are excellent depending on the need.

Most corporations have suspended non-essential employee travel, and business are also responding to the COVID-19 risk.  If you have an event scheduled with a corporate/business partner and they have not yet contacted you, you can inform them Campus events are suspended until further notice.

Wisconsin Involvement Network has an electronic elections tool that will organizations to hold virtual elections. It is fairly intuitive. There’s more information on this website here (  Contact Paige LaPoint at for questions.

Health and well-being

How can I support myself and others during this time?

Turn off the television and/or alert messaging on your phone if it is increasing your distress. Exposure to media can be healthy or unhealthy; for some individuals, knowing helps to feel a sense of control over the situation, while for others it may reinforce anxiety and fear. Research has shown that excess media exposure to coverage of stressful events can result in negative outcomes. Use trusted resources to gather the information you need then turn it off if it’s causing stress.

Obtain the latest information during an infectious disease outbreak from credible and reliable sources of information. Up-to-date, accurate recommendations regarding disease prevention, self and family care, and travel guidance can be found at the following websites:

Emotional distress is common and normal in the context of uncertainty and potentially life-threatening situations, such as COVID-19 pandemic.

Stress can present itself in different ways including physical, emotional, or cognitive ways. One common response for young adults is a feeling of invincibility and or emotional detachment which can lead to behaviors that may significantly increase risks.

Some other common reactions include:

    • Excessive worry; having a hard time not thinking about what happened
    • Sleeping Issues; having trouble sleeping or staying asleep
    • Ruminating
    • Hypervigilance; getting up to check the news or check on family
    • Difficulty relaxing
    • Muscle tension
    • Feeling keyed up or on edge
    • Increased alcohol, tobacco, or drug use
    • Irritability with emotional outbursts
    • Wanting to be alone or having difficulty communicating
    • Crying frequently
    • Inability to feel pleasure
    • Feeling detached or numb
    • Changes in energy level

Some common physical responses can be: diarrhea, aches and pains, and appetite changes.

Some common feelings are: sadness, guilt, anger, fear, and excessive anxiety.

Some common cognitive responses can be: memory issues, confusion, indecisiveness, and decreased concentration.

There is no right or wrong way to deal with this stress. What works for you may not work for others. It is important to keep at it and try different things such as:

  • Be prepared (e.g., develop a personal and/or family plan for the outbreak)
  • Educate yourself about preventive measures from hand-washing technique and cough etiquette, to more complex medical recommendations for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
  • Talk to loved ones about worries and concerns. Know that your feelings are normal and others may be experiencing them too. Connect with friends and family in novel ways if you’re isolated. Connect with those you feel closest to for support.
  • Schedule positive activities. Do things that are enjoyable, even if you don’t feel like it. Listening to music, exercising, practicing breathing routines, spending time in nature or with animals, journaling, or reading inspirational texts are some simple ways to help manage emotions.
  • Take time to renew your spirit through prayer, meditation, or helping others.
  • Take care of your body. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Get enough sleep every night. We know sleep is restorative and reduces anxiety, helps learning, helps problem solving, and allows the brain to rest. Even short periods of sleep deprivation can be troublesome.
  • Keep a routine. If possible, create and stick to your new usual daily routine.
  • Keep looking forward. Make some plans for six months down the road.
  • Find your ‘happy’ daily. Infusing happiness and joy everyday should be your own personal homework.

For guided meditations, helpful tips and expert voices check out:  or  Ten Percent Happier

We encourage you to reach out to University Health Services (UHS). Students can call the UHS Mental Health Crisis Line 24/7 at 608-265-5600 (option 9). You can also reach out to UHS Mental Health during business hours at 608-265-5600 (option 2) for help connecting to a home provider or options through UHS.

  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has guidance on managing mental health and coping during COVID-19 for children and caregivers.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has information on travel, media resources, and other research on COVID-19.
  • Anxiety and Depression Association of America Psychologist Jelena Kecmanovic provides some science-based strategies and tips for coping with COVID-19 anxiety.

Click here to access SilverCloud, a no-cost cognitive behavioral health resource available 24/7 (learning modules that help w/ stress, anxiety, depression, and body image. You can also download the SilverCloud app for your mobile device. SilverCloud is available for all currently enrolled, full-time students at UW-Madison. You will need to use your wisc email address when signing up, and you will be asked to login using your NetID.

UW-Madison’s  Center for Healthy Minds, led by Dr. Richard Davidson, has led to breakthroughs in the neuroscience of well-being and how the mind can be trained to be more focused, calm, and resilient through meditation training. Download the free app.

Other apps include:

  • Mindfulness Coach
  • Insight Timer
  • Calm
  • HeadSpace
  • Stop, Breathe, and Think

For most people, stress reactions will lessen over the first few weeks. However, when symptoms are significantly impacting functioning, becoming harder to manage, or are increasing in severity then there is increased need for concern. We encourage you to reach out to UHS. Students can call the UHS Mental Health Crisis Line 24/7 at 608-265-5600 (option 9). You can also reach out to UHS Mental Health during business hours at 608-265-5600 (option 2) for help connecting to a home provider or options through UHS.

Information for graduate students

Check back, as we will be updating this section with more information. Additionally, continue to monitor the UW-Madison COVID-19 site, You also can find answers to common questions at

Answers to common graduate-student-related questions

No, unless you are cleared for essential work. If you need access to retrieve personal belongings or materials critical to advancing your work remotely, please contact your PI, who can request access through College of Engineering leadership.

That depends on the nature of your work. Please communicate with your advisor/PI to determine a mutually agreeable plan. Common minimal options could include literature review, computational techniques, existing data analysis, outlining your thesis, drafting manuscripts, and preparing presentations. This might also be a good time to learn a new analytical skill to help with your work in the future.

Yes, but we will be conducting them remotely using Webex, Microsoft Teams or similar conferencing tools. See also FAQ.

Possibly, but there are both payroll/human resources and academic considerations. You will need to work with your advisor/PI and graduate student services coordinator to determine your options.

Due to large undergraduate course demand in XenApp, its use is temporarily limited and not available to all graduate students. We will continue to assess CAE and XenApp use patterns, and will develop methods for expanding access based on use patterns. We will update this information regularly, so please check back often.

In lieu of XenApp versions, we strongly encourage you to use downloadable versions of software whenever possible. Please review the options documented on the CAE website, along with the appropriate use guidelines (