COVID-19 Daily News

UMass Amherst Students Receive $8.3 Million in Emergency Federal Financial Aid

AMHERST — Emergency federal financial-aid grants totaling $8.3 million were distributed to more than 7,700 undergraduate students this week by UMass Amherst, the latest in a number of steps the campus has taken to support students experiencing economic distress due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The funds were allocated through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities (CARES) Act. Grants were calculated based upon a number of factors, including financial need and an estimate of additional costs of food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare, and childcare. To receive the grants, the law requires that students must be U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens, according to guidance from the U.S. Department of Education. These are students who are eligible for federal aid under Title IV of the Higher Education Act. The grants provide additional financial aid to students and will not affect their existing financial-aid award.

Meanwhile, a $1 million pool of financial aid is being established for graduate students, a combination of CARES Act funds and university money.

UMass Amherst’s disbursement of CARES Act grants follows a series of previous measures taken to support students. These include issuing more than $40 million in room, meal, and parking refunds; $150,000 in COVID-19 hardship grants; support from the Student Care and Emergency Relief Fund; short-term emergency loans; approximately $300,000 to assist students returning from study abroad with airline-rebooking fees; and assistance offered by the Student Legal Services Office and the international Programs Office.

“We are appreciative of all the support provided by the Massachusetts congressional delegation, which pushed so hard for the inclusion of this funding that allows us to assist our neediest students in this time of crisis,” Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said. “Of course, we realize that, for some, even with the combination of these resources, there will still be hardships. We encourage them to seek additional counsel from our Dean of Students Office. We will steadfastly work with the state and federal governments, and our generous donors, to continue to help all our students pursue their studies and complete their degrees without delay or hindrance.”

Added UMass President Marty Meehan, “these grants will help keep the aspiration of a college degree alive for thousands of UMass students who will go on to make a valuable contribution to society. I am grateful for the skilled advocacy that our congressional delegation demonstrated in securing these funds, and the outstanding leadership that Chancellor Subbaswamy and his team have shown in rapidly getting these critical funds to students.”

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