NAU, UA Distributing COVID-19 Student Relief Funds; ASU Has Not Received Them

Published: Friday, May 15, 2020 - 2:32pm

Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona have both received and started distributing money from the federal coronavirus relief package this week to eligible students. But Arizona State University said on Friday that it has yet to receive those funds. 

The funds are available to students who are eligible for federal student aid and can only be used to cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care), under guidance from the U.S. Department of Education. 

NAU is immediately distributing 75% of the nearly $12 million it received to students through July 6 and saving the rest to help more later this summer and in the fall. NAU students need to have a Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA on file and fill out a form on NAU's website to receive the assistance. 

Vice President For Enrollment Management Anika Olsen said just under 8,000 NAU students, including those that are eligible for federal Pell grants, have applied so far.

“Those that are Pell-eligible based on that FAFSA, we did offer them $500, and for all other students $400 that have that FAFSA but weren’t in the highest needs category," Olsen said.  

Olsen said about half of the students who applied indicated on the form that food and housing assistance as their biggest needs. 

Meanwhile UA divided its $15.4 million into three equal parts. The first $5 million went out on Thursday to 8,013 students, said Kasey Urquidez, the university’s vice president for enrollment management.

"We really focused on students who met the criteria of course, but also those that were on campus housing and they had to move out of their housing and/or they had meal plans and things where they didn’t get full refunds on those," she said.

"We have students that had to travel really long distances. We also have students from rural communities that may have suffered undue hardship through that disruption."

The second portion of UA's will be distributed through an application process, and the rest will be saved for the summer and fall. 

Urquidez said UA will also receive an additional $2.3 million as a Hispanic Serving Institution. 

ASU said in a Friday statement that it's still developing a distribution plan for the $31.8 million it will receive to help its students.

"When ASU has finalized the mechanism for the distribution of the funds, the university will report back to the U.S. Department of Education, the CARES Act funds will be released to ASU by the federal government, and the CARES Act funds in turn will be distributed to students," ASU said. 

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