Emergency financial aid for college students

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The coronavirus pandemic has made life difficult for many graduating students, especially those who have already struggled to balance school with bills and other expenses. If you are a college student in financial difficulty, there are resources available to help you. Below are the three types of emergency financial aid available to college students, as well as the benefit options that student loan borrowers can take advantage of.

What emergency financial aid is available to college students?

In response to the coronavirus, many colleges and organizations have provided emergency funding. Here’s what to look for.

Emergency grants

In light of the COVID-19 crisis, college students have a new financial aid option that could benefit them. Under the Relief, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) was established in response to the coronavirus with $ 14 billion in aid to eligible colleges and universities. In January 2021, $ 21.2 billion in emergency assistance was provided through HEERF II.

Colleges and universities that receive funds from HEERF or HEERF II are required to disburse a certain percentage of these funds to students in the form of emergency financial grants. The average size of these grants provided each eligible student about $ 830 in student emergency assistance, according to data US Government Accounts Chamber

Students can use emergency funds to cover related expenses such as:

  • Food.
  • Housing.
  • Healthcare.
  • Childcare.
  • Course materials.
  • Technology.

How to apply: Participating schools must disclose information about available emergency grants on their websites. You can also contact the financial aid department at your university to find out more about the eligibility requirements and to apply.

Emergency student loans

In addition to grants, some schools may provide emergency loans to students with immediate financial needs. Just keep in mind that, unlike grants, you must pay off urgent loans at some point in the future. Therefore, even if you qualify, it is important to make sure that you understand the terms of the loan and are confident that you can pay off the debt as soon as it is due.

You may also have access to any help that you were eligible for but did not accept when you filled out your Free Federal Student Aid App (FAFSA)… If your financial situation has changed since you filed your FAFSA application, you can update your application and possibly get additional federal student loans. You can also consider private student loans also as a potential source of funding.

How to apply: Visit your school’s financial aid office to see if you have any additional student loan options – emergency or otherwise.

Food programs

The Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP) is a federal nutritional program that provides electronic benefits that you can use, such as cash to buy groceries. Even if you were not eligible for these benefits in the past, you may be able to use them now. Due to the pandemic, more students are eligible for temporary SNAP benefits.

Under the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021, students can qualify for SNAP benefits under the following circumstances:

  • You are eligible to participate in a federal or state training program during the school year as part of your offer of financial assistance.
  • Your expected family contribution is $ 0 for the current school year as per your Student Aid Report.

In addition to federal benefits, your school may offer short-term solutions. Some schools provide food stamps or pantries for students who cannot afford to buy food.

How to apply: Visit USDA website to learn more and complete an application for SNAP in your state. You can also contact your local SNAP office and your school’s financial aid office for additional assistance.

Student Loan Benefit Options

If you are currently in school, there is a good chance that you do not need to start. student loan repayment process yet. Most federal student loan payments will be deferred until you graduate.

However, some private lenders require that you start the repayment process as soon as the loan is paid off. Check with your lender or your loan agreement for details of your individual loan repayment requirements.

If you are owed student loan payments that you cannot afford, there may be other ways to find temporary financial relief.

  • Administrative leniency: In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, federal the government has provided several measures to help borrowers of federal student loans. Both payments and interest charges on eligible federal student loans are suspended until September 30, 2021.
  • Organization of difficulties: Private student loan borrowers do not enjoy the same benefits as federal student loan borrowers under the CARES Act (and subsequent expansions). But your lender may offer you relief or otherwise. loan relief options on a short-term basis if you cannot currently afford to pay. Contact your lender as soon as possible if you are facing financial problems that could affect your ability to pay off your debt as promised.

Factors to Consider

An ambulance can be a lifesaver when you are a student in financial distress. However, there are a few downsides to keep in mind when researching options.

  • You must meet eligibility requirements to receive grants, loans, or other types of financial assistance.
  • If you are eligible for an Emergency Grant or Emergency Loan from your school, it may not be large enough to meet all of your immediate financial needs.
  • Federal and private student loans may offer you more cash, but you will have to repay the money you borrowed at some point in the future.
  • Before you can apply for private student loans, the lender will want to check your credit and income.

Next steps

If you are facing a financial crisis, don’t wait to ask for help. Your school’s financial aid office, in particular, can be a great resource to either give you immediate assistance or help you find resources to weather the storm.

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