NASFAA Mention: Colleges Are Handing Out Billions in Coronavirus Stimulus Funding to Students. Can They Do It Fairly?

"One week after the federal government announced it was 'immediately' distributing more than $6 billion for colleges to disburse to their students, administrators are wrestling with how to quickly identify the students who need help the most without leaving anyone behind," The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

"... Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, said colleges will need to gather at least some information on new needs that may have come up in students’ lives as a result of the coronavirus.

Two institutions told The Chronicle they’re depending entirely on an application. If students don’t fill it out, they won’t get any money.

At Keiser University, a private institution in Florida that until 2011 was a for-profit college, leaders decided to use an application because they believed the federal financial-aid information they had, which students turned in before the coronavirus pandemic, was outdated, Kelli Lane, a university spokeswoman, wrote in an email. The university enrolls about 18,000 undergraduates.

Houston Community College will distribute its Cares Act funds through an online-application process. The application requires no paperwork or documentation: Students simply check off that they exhibited financial hardship as a result of Covid-19 and choose the basic living expenses that they need help paying, including housing, food, and utility bills, said JoEllen Soucier, the college’s executive director of financial aid.

'We need to make that process as streamlined and as easy as possible,' Soucier said. 'I feel like we’ve done that with the application.'

For those institutions that choose to use an application, it’s important to ensure everyone knows about it, Baker said. Otherwise the savviest students may deplete the fund before every needy student has a chance to apply."

NASFAA's "Notable Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Articles included under the notable headlines section are not written by NASFAA, but rather by external sources. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.


Publication Date: 4/17/2020

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