Around 8,000 West Virginia University students received emergency grants of $750 from the federal government to help offset expenses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funds given to students come from the federal government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. That money will be used for direct cash grants to students affected by the pandemic when WVU closed its three campuses in mid-March and went to online learning.
The federal government gave colleges latitude in deciding which students will receive funds, according to a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education. In a letter to colleges, Betsy DeVos, the secretary of education, wrote that she wanted “to encourage the leadership of each institution to prioritize your students with the greatest need,” The Chronicle said.
Qualifying students who are also eligible for a Pell Grant — a federal subsidy — received $1,000 for the semester.
WVU received $20.2 million from the government in two separate payments. Approximately $10 million went to direct emergency assistance to students with a financial need due to the pandemic for items such as technology, course materials, health care, childcare, housing and food.
The university said it will also distribute CARES Act emergency funds to eligible students who are attending summer classes this year. Students need to submit an application by May 28 to be considered. Grants will be awarded the week of June 15.
Eligible students who have submitted an online application and completed a FAFSA — Free Application for Federal Student Aid — and are attending classes part-time by June 30 will be awarded grants the week of July 30.
The second $10 million installment is expected later this spring. It must be used to cover any costs associated with changes to delivery of instruction because of the coronavirus.