Utah State University will begin processing emergency grants this week for eligible students with $8.7 million in funding the university received from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Students in need who are not eligible for CARES Act funds can still apply for emergency assistance through the USU COVID-19 Student Emergency Hardship Resources Fund.
“We know many students faced unanticipated costs associated with the pandemic this last semester, and many are struggling right now trying to make ends meet,” said USU President Noelle Cockett. “We’re distributing CARES Act funds in a way to help those who need it the most, while also providing other ways for students to access help.”
USU received $17,428,745 through the CARES Act, and the U.S. Department of Education requires at least 50% be distributed directly to students whose lives have been disrupted. Many students are facing financial challenges and struggling to make ends meet.
This week, the university will begin making grants totaling $5 million in CARES Act funds available to approximately 40% of degree-seeking students who were enrolled spring 2020 and are continuing their education at Utah State. A portion of the remaining $3.7 million in CARES Act funds will be provided to enrolled students in need who are nearing graduation, while funds will also be reserved for enrolled students impacted by COVID-19 in the upcoming semesters, based on availability. CARES Act emergency grants will range from $500 to $800.
Eligibility for CARES Act emergency grants is based on the number of credits a student took spring 2020 and their need according to their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students who did not fill out the FAFSA, or whose financial circumstances have changed, can still be considered by applying through the CARES Act Student Relief Fund. The U.S. Department of Education has excluded international students, undocumented students, non-matriculated students, and students enrolled exclusively in online courses prior to March 13, 2020, from receiving CARES Act funding.
All eligible students will receive an email this week directing them to fill out a certification form necessary to receive their grant. As required by the CARES Act, students receiving CARES Act emergency grants must certify they faced COVID-19 related expenses.
Those students not eligible for CARES Act grants, but who still need emergency assistance, may apply for help through the USU COVID-19 Student Emergency Hardship Resources Fund.
During the last few months, private donors have contributed $115,000 to the USU COVID-19 Student Emergency Hardship Resources Fund. The fund is currently in the third round of awards since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and the university plans to open it for applications soon for another round. When receiving a hardship grant, students may also receive an award to cover on-campus dining services as well as referrals for additional help with other issues they are facing.
Learn more about USU’s CARES Act emergency grants to students at: https://www.usu.edu/covid-19/cares.