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23,000 Students To Receive Cash Grants Through COVID-19 Relief Funding

Penn State will award more than 23,000 cash grants to students through funding provided by the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund II.

In a press release, President Eric Barron said the relief funding will help Penn State aid and relieve students with financial needs.

“The University is thankful for this funding for students, and we look forward to getting it into our students’ hands quickly so that it can begin to ease financial strain and allow them to focus on their studies with less worry,” Barron said.

Out of the $85 million Penn State received, the university will distribute at least $27.5 million to the students. It will also be matching the money students were awarded last year through the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The grants are given to students based on the data from the 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Pell Grant-eligible students will be offered $1,200, while other students in need of aid could receive $1,000.

Undergraduate, graduate, law, and medical students from any Penn State campus are eligible. Students will know if they have been awarded through their Penn State email. The email will come from the Office of Student Aid.

In the email, the student will be able to accept or deny the grant offer. If they do not need the full money offer, they may request a lower amount as well.

The cash grants can be used for attendance costs or emergency costs that occurred because of COVID-19, like tuition, housing, health care, mental health care, and child care. All expenses need to be from March 13, 2020, to now. When a student accepts the cash grant, they must agree that any expenses paid for with the money are in accordance with the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA).

Students can also choose for the grant to be refunded directly to them, applied to an outstanding balance from the spring of 2021, or combined between the two options.

Penn State will also offer an application-based second round of cash grants to those who have not completed the FAFSA or families who faced unexpected financial downfalls due to the coronavirus. Details about this second round of funding have not been released yet.

Penn State also expects to receive more COVID-19 relief funding through the $40 billion going toward higher education assistance through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. This was signed into law on March 11, 2021.

In a statement, Penn State said it is unaware how much will be allocated, but the law states that at least half the money has to be disbursed among students as emergency financial aid grants. A task group will assist administrators in creating a distribution plan once the U.S Department of Education gives the funds to Penn State.

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About the Author

Nicole Oronzio

Nicole is a sophmore majoring in journalism. She is from Aston, PA and loves hiking, watching movies, and trying new things. She has an obsession with her dog, Simba (aka. the love of her life). Just a fair warning: She will ramble on about literally any topic if given the chance. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @nicoleoronzio or email her at [email protected]

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