UConn is encouraging students who face financial emergencies due to the COVID-19 pandemic to apply for federal grants being distributed in three phases over the coming academic year.
UConn has received $28.4 million under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) to provide emergency grants for students to help with unexpected and urgent needs that arose due to the coronavirus.
“We know from talking with our students that many of them, along with their families, have experienced hardships they could never have anticipated due to COVID,” says UConn Interim President Dr. Andrew Agwunobi.
“It is our hope and intention that distributing this emergency aid will help them address these burdens, and will remove barriers that might have otherwise interrupted or added undue stress to their pursuits at UConn,” he says.
The first round of aid went to about 8,600 students in late July as block grants of $500 to $1,000, depending on their financial situation as determined in their FAFSA filing (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) or their UConn Undocumented Student Aid Application.
Starting Aug. 2, UConn students could also start applying for $500 individual grants to help meet emergency expenses related to coronavirus, including food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare, tuition, and childcare. The application does not require the student to have the FAFSA or undocumented aid request documents already on file.
The application is straightforward and asks only for the student’s name, NET ID and Student ID; in which category they faced an emergency expense; and acknowledgment and agreement that the facts stated are true.
UConn is dividing the federally funded emergency aid allocation into three distinct phases to be able to provide help throughout the academic year. That approach offers a chance for aid to first-year students, transfer students, and others who have emergency expenses in fall and spring semester but wouldn’t have qualified if the grants were made now and only once.
To qualify for the current round of emergency grants, the student must have been enrolled and seeking a degree as of the end of the spring 2021 semester and enrolled for fall 2021. Undocumented and international students are included in the pool of potential recipients.
Although the first phase precludes first-year and transfer students, they can apply in future rounds to help cover emergency costs they incur starting with the fall semester.
UConn will distribute the emergency grants to qualifying students by adding them to their student accounts in the Office of the Bursar, which will refund them directly to the students. The recipients can then decide whether to use it to pay expenses on those accounts or retain it to cover other emergency expenses. UConn will not hold the funds to cover unpaid balances in those accounts or encumbered it in any other way.
The second phase of grants will start Sept. 30 and run through Jan. 11, 2022, with the same two types of awards (block grants, plus grants available by application).
First-year and transfer students who experienced emergency costs as enrolled students will be able to apply in this and future rounds, and students who sought and received these kinds of grants in the first phase can also apply for additional funding in the second phase.
The third phase of grants will run from Feb. 7, 2022, through May 31, 2022, and be open to degree-seeking students who are enrolled in the spring 2022 term.
Like the earlier phases, there will be two kinds of grants – block grants and application grants – and again, students who sought and/or received assistance in the first two rounds can still apply for additional funds in the third.
In addition to the $28.4 million in federal emergency ARP aid this year, UConn is allocating $164 million in institutionally funded financial aid, $37 million in federal aid, and $10 million in state aid through scholarships and need-based grants.
Students facing unexpected financial circumstances are always encouraged to reach out to the financial aid office to ask about additional support that might be available.