Students call for aggressive action on emergency aid

Aid would help students pay for unexpected food, housing, medical and technology costs during COVID disruptions. 
By: | November 13, 2020
Some students trying to stay in college are struggling with the unexpected day-to-day expenses of the ongoing COVID pandemic. (GettyImages/aldomurillo)Some students trying to stay in college are struggling with the unexpected day-to-day expenses of the ongoing COVID pandemic. (GettyImages/aldomurillo)

Students trying to stay in college—or head home when campuses close—need more than CARES Act funding to cope with COVID’s ongoing disruptions, says an advocacy group.

Today’s Student Coalition is calling on policymakers to create a competitive grant program to support emergency aid funds at colleges and universities.

The aid would help students pay for unexpected food, housing, medical and technology costs.

Emergency assistance is also neededto cover transportation and storage costs, institutional fees, car repairs and other expenses students have incurred as they shift between in-person to online learning.


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The coalition says a new grant program should also provide more robust methods for notifying students of the eligibility for emergency aid.

More transparent criteria and processes are also needed, says the coalition, which comprises policy, advocacy, and membership organizations that are focused on student success.

Sudden campus closures are particularly challenging for low-income students who rely on campus as more than a place to attend lectures. The 60% of students who work while in colleges are also facing the uncertainties of the volatile COVID labor market, the coalition says.

And the one in four students who is a parent may also be dealing with increased childcare costs, or may have had to leave a job to care for children whose schools are closed, the group says.


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