Seven hundred and sixty two Goshen College undergraduate students received COVID-19 relief funds from the federal government last week, including students who didn’t qualify for the first two batches last year.Students were notified last Thursday of the funds provided by the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III as part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) act. While the previous two batches of COVID-19 relief money were not awarded to international, DACA and undocumented students, a ruling by the government last May changed that.
The Biden administration passed the ARP act in March of this year. It allocated $39.6 billion for institutions of higher education to use to serve the needs of their students.
According to Greg Sommers, student accounts coordinator, Goshen College was given over a million dollars to distribute to students. The financial aid and accounting teams worked to calculate how much each student would be awarded. The criteria for the amount was based on financial aid need.
“There were three groups of payment,” Sommers said, “One group was for students who require exceptional need, one group was the regular amount, and the other was the regular amount, plus one dollar.” The last group existed in order to randomly distribute the remainder.
The funds will be applied to students’ accounts on Friday, October 15. While students have the option to request the full amount directly, Adela Hufford, director of orientation, transition and retention encourages students to go with the default option and put their credit toward their financial aid balance.
“The money is for the students,” Hufford said, “but we strongly encourage students to put those funds towards the balance.” Doing this will make sure that remaining charges are taken care of before the student receives the remaining amount as a refund. Students who applied before Tuesday also had the option to push their balance over to the spring semester.
Tom Stuckey, interim VP of finance, said that the college wanted to make sure students got the money before fall break so that it could be applied to their accounts before the deadline for unpaid charges.
“For the students, my perception is that (the funds are) wonderful,” Stucky said. “They have been responding quite promptly.”