Financial Aid for Students: A Ray of Light in These Dark Times

college student

The novel coronavirus pandemic has disrupted our lives and has ushered us into a new period where we are adopting new norms. COVID-19 has brought us to unchartered territory and unprecedented times. Normally, around this time, students would have already gone back from spring break and into schools and universities again. However, because of the dangers present, academic institutions have decided to implement home-based schooling until further notice based on the recommendation of the Center for Disease Control.

The Realities of the Times

Because everyone was sent home and are prohibited from going out unless needed, the current situation has parents and students anxious about financial matters concerning education. 

Due to the lockdown, industries have been greatly affected and have been forced to shut down and cease operations indefinitely. Parents have been furloughed or have experienced salary reductions due to shutdowns. Some who were barely able to make ends meet before this global health crisis might now need to consider talking to a bankruptcy lawyer in Salt Lake City, Nashville, Houston or wherever they are located.

Students who have part-time jobs to help pay for their schooling now find themselves jobless. Those who are under the federal work-study program are worried that they might not get paid. 

C.A.R.E.S. Act: The Ray of Light in These Dark Times

student finances

Fortunately, the U.S. government has already signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (C.A.R.E.S.) Act on March 27, 2020. Provisions for student financial emergency aid and protection are included under this law among other things. Here are some of the things that you might find helpful for your situation:

1. Can I ask for emergency financial aid?

You always could ask for financial aid at any time. With all the uncertainty surrounding us now, you have greater reason to seek out emergency financial aid to support your education. The first thing you need to do is talk to a representative from your university’s financial aid office to know how you can go about with the process.

2. Will I still receive payments as a federal work-study student even if my work has been cut?

According to Section 3505 of the C.A.R.E.S. Act, you should still get your work-study financial assistance whether in multiple payouts or lump sum. If your office is closed and you are not able to go and report for work, you will still receive payment for your regular hours as scheduled. On the other hand, if you have not been offered remote work, you need to fill out a COVID-19 Form and submit it to your supervisor to continue to receive payments. Unless your site is tagged as essential or it is closed, FWS students should do remote work.

3. What should I do about my on-campus job now that my college has closed?

If you had a job on-campus but it has been suspended due to campus closure, you need to get in touch immediately with a financial aid representative from your university. Let them know about your current plight and ask for recommendations on how to make emergency aid claims.

4. Will my grades affect my chances of receiving financial aid?

Normally, financial aid eligibility maintains certain standards to see whether a student is qualified for aid or not. However, we are not living under normal conditions now. The C.A.R.E.S. Act has included certain allowances for flexibility at this time regarding grades and has lowered the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standards to accommodate the national crisis we are facing.

This news brings a sliver of hope to those who have are burdened by this financial concern. If you need more information about the C.A.R.E.S. Act and how you can avail of its benefits as a student, contact your university’s financial aid office for guidance.

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