Students who are currently enrolled at Merced College can apply for a one-time emergency grant to mitigate financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The emergency student grant was created by the Federal Emergency Relief Grant, commonly known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, and provides much needed relief to students to address the disruption to campus operations due to the pandemic. Students may use the funds for housing, food, childcare, transportation, and healthcare.
Merced College created an application process which includes a form available at www.mccd.edu/rd/grants. The form asks students to provide information to determine eligibility and the amount of funding for which each student is eligible. Grant awards range from $250 to $1000 depending on need, number of enrolled units and other mitigating factors such as participation in college support services.
The Financial Aid office is handling applications and disbursements. The first distribution of grants was May 7th, 2020 and funding will continue for students enrolled in summer and fall 2020 until it runs out. To date, Merced College has distributed $752,250 to more than 880 students.
“The pandemic has caused extreme financial stress for our students and we are doing what we can to help,” said Director of Financial Aid Traci Veyl. “We are grateful for this federal funding as it will allow us to support students so that they can continue their education.”
The Federal Emergency Relief Grant will be distributed to students through the college’s digital banking service for financial aid distributions, BankMobile. For students not yet currently enrolled in BankMobile, an enrollment link is available in the student portal.
The grant funds are non-taxable and do not need to be repaid. Students can only apply once for the funding. The Federal Emergency Relief Grant is currently not available for undocumented students, DACA students, AB540 students or students enrolled in noncredit courses.
Merced College has been able to provide support to students who may be ineligible for the federal relief, through its other programs and through the Merced College Foundation.
Executive Director of the Foundation Jill Cunningham launched an emergency relief fund April 9th with an open letter to the community asking for donations to support students facing unplanned financial expenses as a direct result of the pandemic. Within days of launching, the fund received hundreds of requests for aid from students.
“The overwhelming response from students underscores the need in our community. Our students are disproportionately impacted and vulnerable in economic downturns,” said Cunningham. “With support from generous donors, we can help students stay in school and finish strong.”
To date, the Merced College Foundation has issued $7,900 in grocery gift cards purchased with donations to the emergency relief fund. Distribution and determination of eligibility is coordinated with the Financial Aid Office through its existing application process for the emergency student grant.
The Foundation’s emergency fund is accepting donations from community members who would like to support this worthy cause. Visit www.mccd.edu/foundation to learn more.
For the emergency student grant application and details, visit www.mccd.edu/rd/grants.
For more information about the Merced College Foundation emergency relief fund, visit www.mccd.edu/foundation.
For more information, contact the Office of External Relations at email@example.com or (209) 381-6176.
For updates on the COVID-19 situation, visit: http://www.mccd.edu/news/covid-19-update