A second round of the CARES Act, now known as the Higher Education Relief Fund, was distributed to eligible students’ accounts on April 1.
The HERF grant is $4.6 million and is meant to help students who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. Each eligible student received $100 in their student banner account automatically but can choose to apply for more funds.
Students are considered eligible if they have to filled out a FASFA form, are Pell Grant eligible and have a certain type of citizen code in the institution. Dual enrollment and transient students are not eligible to receive the HERF Grant.
Dr. Rodney Carr, vice president of Student Success, said that students seeking additional funds can apply for the emergency relief funds but will not receive more than the maximum amount of the Pell Grant.
“The federal guidelines tell us that we can’t award a student any more than what the maximum amount for the Pell grant is, which is $3,173. So if students apply for it they can get up to that amount if they show the demonstrated financial need at that,” he said.
Last spring semester the first round of the grant was distributed and students received $500.
“What ended up happening was we had some students who got those funds (The first round of the CARES act) and then all the funds were depleted and wiped out and we still had students that had a large financial impact,” Dr. Carr said.
Dr. Carr also said that the plan for the grant during this second round will be different from the first round.
“We’re going to be using some of these grants to be able to provide meals and meal plans for students who are running out of those meal swipes,” he said. “The first round was very restricted of what you could use it for. This time they’ve opened it up a little bit more that will allow us to pay for resident halls and meal plans. “
Dr.Carr wants students to further their education and said that this grant is not just extra money for students to have.
“The part where we have students that are not able to eat and don’t have a place to lay their head down that’s their own is heartbreaking and so I truly hope that we can use this grant to help those students,” he said. “This is truly to help students to finish their education because it’s going to be a life changing event with a degree and so that’s kind of the impact we hope to have with it.”
This Story was last updated on April 3, 2021 at 11:40 p.m.
Story written by Lenah Allen, Editor-In- Chief. Photo courtesy of Bethany Davis, Special to the VSU Spectator.