West Virginia University expecting more than $20 million to help students during coronavirus pandemic

Education

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University is expected to receive $20.2 million from the federal stimulus package enacted to provide significant relief to higher education.

Funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act will be received in two equal installments, according to a press release. The WVU Board of Governors was briefed on the package during a special meeting Friday.

The first installment of approximately $10 million will be used to provide emergency assistance to help students with financial need stemming from COVID-19-related disruption of campus operations, including cost of attendance expenses, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare and childcare, according to WVU.

As a result of this funding, the university is announcing a program that will disburse direct cash grants to students following Department of Education guidance.

WVU said it is committed to providing assistance quickly to students who are facing financial challenges and struggling to make ends meet. Therefore, students with personal or family situations and events that meet the following criteria are eligible to apply:

  • Reduction in personal or family household income due to job loss, reduced work hours or temporary furlough from work
  • Additional and unexpected costs related to the transition to online learning for the remainder of the semester
  • Increased medical expenses (including additional support needed for accessibility purposes) 
  • Travel or moving expenses to return home due to the transition to online learning for the remainder of the semester

Students who received a reduction in spring charges for their residence hall room, dining plan or University Apartments’ April rent are currently not eligible for this additional financial assistance, the release states. This will be re-evaluated in light of the volume of initial requests for emergency financial assistance.

Additionally, WVU said students receiving other emergency assistance from the university may be considered for a reduced amount or may not be eligible, again depending on the volume of initial requests for emergency financial assistance funds. Due to limited financial resources and the volume of need, some applications may not be approved. Students may begin to apply for the funding beginning Tuesday, April 21.

The second approximately $10 million installment, expected later this spring, must also be used to cover any costs associated with significant changes to the delivery of instruction due to coronavirus. WVU said it is awaiting further potential guidance from the United States Department of Education relating to this second installment.

Emergency financial assistance through the CARES Act for summer session will be announced at a later date.

WVU has waived the Online Learning Student Support fee for students enrolled in 2020 summer online courses, according to the release. The fee is $25 per credit or $75 for a three-credit course.  The maximum fee a student would normally pay regardless of how many credits taken in summer is $75. Students who have already been assessed and have paid the fee will either be reimbursed or receive a credit on their student account, according to WVU.

A more detailed FAQ is available here.

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