Harper distributes federal COVID relief grants to students
To support students and keep them academically on track toward their educational goals during the pandemic, Harper College has begun disbursing $7.5 million in federal funds under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) signed into law in late December.
Harper is required only to match the $2.8 million it provided students last year under the CARES Act. However, the college is committed to providing more than half of its federal pandemic relief funding to students.
"We are grateful for this funding and are focused on directing resources toward students who have significant hardships due to COVID-19," said Dr. Avis Proctor, president of Harper College.
"We certainly hope this support will provide some financial relief so students can focus on their academic and career goals."
The cash grants will help students with expenses connected to their cost of attendance or emergency expenses related to COVID-19, including food, housing, transportation, child care and health care (including mental health care).
The funds are initially being prioritized for students who demonstrate exceptional need and are U.S. citizens or eligible noncitizens, as required under the CRRSAA guidelines.
Harper awarded $800 to about 3,300 students earlier this month and has reached out to 3,800 additional students who may be eligible.
Student grants account for 60% of the $12.6 million Harper received in CRRSAA funding. The remaining 40% will support institutional expenses such as classroom technology, distance learning improvements, faculty professional development, lost revenue resulting from COVID-19, as well as other financial measures that will directly benefit students, including student account balances, lowered tuition and fees.
This is the second round of pandemic relief funding through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, a historic federal investment to help students stay in school while helping colleges and universities adapt to implement COVID-19 safety measures.
Students who may be eligible to receive CRRSAA funding through this initial disbursement will be notified. Federal guidelines require students to be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen to be eligible for the emergency grants. Harper is using the FAFSA to verify citizenship status; students who have not completed a FAFSA will be asked to complete a self-certification of citizenship.
In addition, Harper established its own emergency relief fund to help support students during the pandemic, including those who may not qualify for federal funding. Thus far, more than $400,000 has been awarded to about 900 students.
After disbursement is completed to students demonstrating exceptional need, Harper will continue to provide aid. Those details are being finalized. Learn more about Harper's CRRSAA disbursement at harpercollege.edu.
Students who don't qualify for CRRSAA funds are encouraged to seek other support, as nearly 12,000 students were awarded more than $33 million in scholarships, grants and tuition waivers through Harper in 2019-20. Learn more at harpercollege.edu/financialaid.