The impact COVID-19 has had on our lives can be seen in all different facets of the world around us. For many, life experiences would be forever changed. One major area impacted by COVID-19 is higher education. The quiet hallways, the empty common rooms, virtual classes, and meals on the go—the day-to-day life is completely different and ever-evolving. Dealing with a pandemic can be stressful enough without worrying about your financial ability to stay in school. There have been great strides in financial support for college students; it is important to stay informed and actively seek available assistance.
Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF)
A HEERF grant can help alleviate some of the financial hardships created by COVID-19. Starting in March 2020, funds became available through the first coronavirus package, known as the CARES Act. In 2021, Congress allotted more, and President Joe Biden has moved into expanding grants as part of his American Rescue Plan. These funds are directly related to the rise in expenses due to the shift to online/remote learning. An example of a potentially impacted area of remote learning could be food costs. If you could not utilize a meal plan through your campus, your expenses may have been impacted.
According to Forbes’ Brianna McGurran, aid can vary. She says, “The college can decide on the size of the grant made to students, but many colleges offer a range of awards depending on a student’s financial situation and the number of credit hours they’re taking.”
What Qualifies a Person for Aid
In general, when it comes to any grant, you must carefully read the specific requirements, as these can change depending on the type of aid you are seeking. In general, some of the basic qualifiers include having a Social Security number or U.S. citizenship, as well as being an eligible non-citizen. Applicants must be making satisfactory academic progress. A person can not be in default on a student loan.
The Assistance on the Horizon
The American Rescue Plan will aid eligible college students. There are a few benefits that may be available to students, such as a larger stimulus payment, increased unemployment aid, and higher tax credits. A larger stimulus would be available for students who are not dependent on their parents. If a previously employed student is unemployed, they might qualify for an additional $400 a week under this proposed plan. A child tax credit of $3,000 per child may be available as well. Renter’s relief is also a proposed element that could benefit students who are living independently off-campus. It is important to note that more students may be eligible for assistance under this plan than those in the past.
COVID-19 has greatly impacted higher learning, and it shouldn’t become a factor in students’ ability to stay in school. There is help available. It is important to keep an eye on any HEERF applications that become available. Stay up to date on your school’s application process.
Get Help from the Team at CBRG
If you have questions or concerns about how COVID-19 and the accompanying response impacts students and their ability to stay on campus, contact us. We can help you navigate these new and complex issues as they relate to academia. We’re your college planning specialists.