MSU CAMPUS — Some pandemic relief is hitting Michigan State’s campus and could soon be hitting students’ wallets.
The university announced this week that they’ll be awarding students approximately $15 million in emergency financial aid grants through the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.
The university will make $12 million available to undergraduate students and $3 million available to graduate students through the Spartan Relief Fund2.
The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act was signed into law on Dec. 27 and sends $81.88 billion in higher education relief to schools across the country.
MSU President Samuel Stanley told students the university is proud of how their Spartans have responded to a year full of so many new challenges in a letter to the campus community. He said the Spartan Relief Fund2 is an opportunity for students to tackle financial hardships beyond just the costs of their tuition.
“Students may use these financial aid grants for any component of the student’s cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to the coronavirus, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care) or child care,” Stanley said.
Emily Guerrant, a university spokeswoman, said that, since the announcement of emergency funding on Tuesday, thousands of Spartans have applied.
“We have already received thousands of applications that have come in. More than 3,000 students have already been approved for the funding,“ Guerrant said. “We have another 600 graduate students who have put their applications and we're still working through their applications.”
In order to be eligible, students must be enrolled at MSU and have an active Free Application for Federal Student Aid on file with the financial aid office.
The money will be broken into two types of grants: block grants and variable grants.
Students who are considered to have exceptional need on their FAFSA will be awarded a block grant of between $500 and $1,000. Exceptional need is typically identified as qualifying for a Pell Grant or an estimated family contribution of less than $15,000. Students who are eligible for block grants don’t need to apply, the university will refund the grant amount through a standard process.
Variable grants are distributed to students based on an application directly to financial aid through StuInfo. Students will need to provide the total amount they require to offset pandemic costs and a clear indication of need. These grants are subject to a case-by-case approval process.
“I feel like the need is certainly out there,” Guerrant said. “Some of their requests are totaling well over what we have to give out. But it does just show you that the need that our students have. So we're coming out with every creative way that we can to provide them some support.”
Undocumented students, DACA recipients and international students aren’t expressly permitted to receive the federal allotment of aid yet, but the university encourages these students to reach out to the Office of Financial Aid to determine if there are non-Federal funds available to them through the university.
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