Special Coronavirus Bulletin #9: Emergency Grants Are Available To Postsecondary Students Who Are Struggling Financially Due To Coronavirus

Coronavirus has wreaked havoc on both the health and finances of college students and their families. So far more than 600,000 Americans have been infected and over 25,000 have died. Bloomberg Business News reports that 22 million unemployment claims have been filed since mid-March, and that economists are predicting a 20% jobless rate before this month ends. Almost every college campus has closed, and many students need new computers and software for online classes.

Does any of this describe a situation that applies to you or your student? Has this situation left you unable to cover college-related expenses for rest of this term? If so, don’t panic, drop classes, or drop out. Get an emergency grant.

In the last several years, colleges and universities have become keenly aware of how unforeseen financial problems undermine student success, obstruct student retention, and erode student opportunities to graduate. As a result, many institutions now offer their students emergency grants.

Students in need of emergency grants can usually obtain them fairly quickly, but such grants are normally limited to a few hundred dollars because institutional emergency grant funds normally don’t contain tons of money. However, these are not normal times.

In fact, depending upon the size and financial need of its student body, your college is getting federal funds ranging from thousands to millions of dollars out of $6.28 billion Congress allotted for emergency grants. To see how much Washington is sending your school, click here.

Institutions must use these federal emergency grant funds to help students to pay expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus. These include costs they can’t cover for child care, course materials, food, health care, housing, and technology.

Emergency grants are typically administered by deans of students, student financial aid, or student affairs offices. Check their websites to learn how and where to request such grants.

Recently, we recommended you seriously consider filing an appeal for additional financial aid if coronavirus-related issues have significantly cut your ability to pay necessary college expenses. Such appeals usually require you to get and submit various documents, and it may take several days or weeks for your financial aid office to make decisions about them. So if you can’t afford to wait out an appeal, seek an emergency grant to cover expenses that’ll come up until it’s decided.

Students in need of emergency grants should go get them. Don’t let coronavirus prevent the completion of your studies this spring!

Need information on how to make, and keep, postsecondary learning affordable. Start following the College Affordability Solutions website for articles and special bulletins like this.

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