College of the Canyons has announced this week its plans to distribute $3.1 million to students in need through the CARES Act Emergency Grants.
According to Tom Bilbruck, director of financial aid and scholarships at the college, $6.3 million was given to the school by the federal government in response to COVID-19, with 50% going directly to the students, and the other 50% being used for the institution to offset the cost of transitioning to remote learning.
“On May 8, we’re disbursing $1 million to 1,500 students, some of our neediest students on campus,” said Bilbruck. “It’s just over a million bucks, so it’s $700 per student.”
That first set of funds were disbursed automatically, Bilbruck said, based on the students who met a certain eligibility requirement. The rest of the funds will be doled out based on applications being submitted.
“Within the next couple of weeks here we’re going to be launching an application for the remaining eligible students to submit a quick application to apply for a $700 grant,” Bilbruck said.
To apply for a grant, students must be eligible to receive federal financial aid and have been enrolled in at least one on-ground class on March 13, 2020. Those students eligible to apply will receive an email to their My Canyons account with more information about the grants and applications process in the coming weeks.
Based on guidelines established by the federal government for disbursement of CARES Act funds, students must meet basic eligibility criteria for federal financial aid. Students who have the greatest financial need will be granted priority.
The money was given to COC based on a formula determined by a U.S. Department of Education that determined how much each college in the country would need to distribute to students, Bilbruck said.
“It’s a critical resource to help them with the transition to remote learning,” said Bilbruck. “It’s not thousands of dollars, but it’s significant enough money that we’re hoping will help them be able to continue their educational pursuit.”