Ohio University

Financial resources for students impacted by COVID-19

Published: May 1, 2020 Author: Staff reports

OHIO CARES Relief Fund provides emergency financial assistance for Ohio University students

Ohio University students experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for financial assistance and resources, including funding available through federal relief programs and from the generous support of University alumni and donors. These funds will support the University’s ongoing efforts to assist students who are experiencing financial hardships as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

OHIO CARES Relief Fund

OHIO recently received $9.7 million through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act that will be distributed directly to eligible students to support immediate needs resulting from the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and childcare.

To be eligible to apply, students must have been enrolled in undergraduate coursework on one of Ohio’s campuses in spring 2020 and be eligible for federal financial aid; federal guidelines indicate that students who were exclusively studying online before the COVID-19 pandemic are ineligible. In accordance with federal guidance, distribution of the OHIO CARES Relief Fund will be prioritized to eligible students with the most significant financial need. Beginning next week, the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships will identify and contact eligible students via their Ohio University e-mail account with instructions about how to access the online application. Eligible students will need to apply for these funds on or before May 11.

“Financially vulnerable students and their families have been greatly impacted by necessary measures implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep our communities safe,” said Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis. “We are grateful for the $9.7 million CARES Act funding that helps augment the University’s existing support programs and will be passed directly to eligible students as quickly as possible.”

Change of Income Application

At any time, including during the pandemic, students who have completed the FAFSA and whose family financial circumstances may have changed may contact the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships to submit a Change of Income application. The form is currently available for the 2020-21 academic year. To access the online application, students must first contact the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships at financial.aid@ohio.edu after receiving their Financial Aid Offer email notification. Examples of special circumstances may include a reduced income due to job loss, retirement, disability or death of a wage earner; or loss of social security benefits. Students who have not yet completed a 2020-21 FAFSA can do so at any time at https://fafsa.gov.

Emergency Microgrant Funding

Limited Emergency Microgrants are available to help any OHIO student facing financial difficulty due to emergency situations or one-time hardships. The funds are awarded to help alleviate short-term financial need and are managed by the Dean of Students Office in collaboration with the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships. Sustained through generous gifts of alumni and friends, Emergency Microgrants awarded do not need to be repaid.

Additionally, through more support from alumni and friends, the University established the COVID-19 Ohio University Student Support Fund, Bobcats Take Care, on March 19 to help students facing immediate financial hardships specific to COVID-19 impacts.

Through this fund, OHIO has been making COVID-19 Emergency Microgrants available to help students experiencing financial difficulty due to COVID-19 impacts. These funds are available to all undergraduate and graduate (including medical) students currently enrolled in at least six credit hours (half-time) with demonstrated need related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Students must be enrolled during the semester in which they apply. Nearly $160,000 already has been awarded to students, and grants will be made until donated funds are exhausted.

For questions about either microgrant program or the application process, which is currently consolidated, visit the Emergency Microgrants webpage. For information about donating to the COVID-19 Ohio University Support Fund, visit the Bobcats Take Care website.

 “I am so grateful for the generous support of Bobcats near and far to help our students during this difficult time. These programs offer necessary support that will help increase the number of students receiving much needed assistance during this crisis,” President Nellis said.