By SUSAN JONES
Of the $30.6 million Pitt received in January from Congress’ second pandemic stimulus plan, half will go to direct student aid and the other half will be used to cover COVID-19 related costs, Chancellor Patrick Gallagher said at the Feb. 17 Senate Council meeting.
For this round of funding, Pitt was legally obligated to provide direct student aid at or above the amount it disbursed from the April 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Gallagher said. In April, Pitt received $21.3 million and distributed $10.6 million to approximately 11,400 students across all five campuses.
This time, Pitt will distribute $15.3 million to approximately 15,200 undergraduate and graduate students who had a 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file as of Feb. 18, 2021, demonstrated significant financial need and who meet eligibility requirements to receive federal Title IV financial aid.
Eligible students will receive $600 or $1,050 depending on their situation. All students eligible for a grant were notified by email. If you did not receive an email or do not have a grant posted to your account, you were not eligible to receive a CRRSAA grant. Find more details here.
“The University’s decision to increase the student aid portion of funding allows us to provide grants to even more students,” Provost Ann Cudd said in Pittwire. “It’s just the right thing to do.”
The funding is part of the $900 billion Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) that was passed by Congress and signed into law in December. The bill included $22.9 billion in COVID-19 relief funding for higher education
Allocations to institutions were based on a formula that includes the relative shares of Federal Pell Grant recipients, non-Pell Grant recipients, and Federal Pell and non-Pell Grant recipients exclusively enrolled in distance education prior to the coronavirus emergency, the education department said.
After distributing student aid, public and nonprofit schools can use the rest of the money for student support activities, and to cover institutional costs, including lost revenue, reimbursement for expenses already incurred, technology costs associated with a transition to distance education, faculty and staff trainings, and payroll, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Education.
“The other funding will be used offset institutionally provided assistance or direct COVID-19 related costs related to either student reimbursements, payments, and scholarship and technology needs that have come up or other restart costs that support safe operation of the campus,” Gallagher said.
The chancellor also reminded students there are other aid programs available, such as the Pitt Student Emergency Aid Fund, which is available for unanticipated and insurmountable expenses related to emergency situations.
“We also are urging international students to contact the Office of the Provost if they need need-based scholarships,” Gallagher said. “We are very cognizant of the fact that some of the early federal rounds explicitly excluded international students, but we have attempted to address some of those needs with institutional funds.”
Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at email@example.com or 724-244-4042.
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