Photo: Fran Ruchalski, The Enterprise / The Enterprise
Applications for federal dollars from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed in early April by Congress now are open at all state colleges in Southeast Texas, with applications expected soon at Lamar University.
Lamar State College Port Arthur opened to applications earlier this week for the more than $500,000 in federal COVID-19 emergency aid that they received, with the earliest distributions expected as soon as Friday.
Students file expenses such as food, housing, technology or course materials, health care and childcare, among other possible financial impacts caused by the transition to remote learning at LSCPA.
“This funding is a much-needed boost for our students,” LSCPA President Dr. Betty Reynard said in a statement. “We understand that many of our students are struggling financially, so we are dedicated to getting this money out to them as quickly as possible.”
The application for funds will be available at the college’s website, lamarpa.edu, this week through May 15. Funds will be distributed no later than May 31 through direct deposit and checks.
The school has said funds will be issued on a first-come, first-serve basis and award amounts will be based on the number of students who apply.
A full list of qualifications is available at the application site.
Lamar University — which received the majority of the area’s funding with $7,048,774, half of which is required to be given directly to students for pandemic-related costs — has not yet released applications.
The funds were allocated based on a formula prescribed in the CARES Act that weighs the number of full-time students who are Pell-eligible but also takes into consideration the total population of the school and the number of students who were not enrolled full-time online before the coronavirus outbreak.
“Lamar University is actively contacting each student to check on their well-being and needs during this uncertain time. LU is identifying various student needs, ranging from technology to financial to academic, and faculty and staff members will follow up with appropriate support,” University spokeswoman Shelly Vitanza said when the funds were first announced earlier this month. “The remaining funds will be utilized by Lamar University to address our response to the coronavirus pandemic and mitigate the pandemic impact to the University.”
The university has been processing refunds for students moving out of dorms early due to the virus; and began tapping into the Cardinal Emergency Fund, which was set up following Tropical Storm Harvey to help those displaced by disasters.
Applications for Lamar State College Orange will open Friday.
The applications will be available at lsco.edu through May 15, according to a news release.
The application requires students to describe how they have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and how they will use the funds if received.
“We understand just how important this funding is for our students during this challenging time,” LSCO President Thomas Johnson said in a statement. “We want to make the application and disbursement process as fast and simple as possible to help our wonderful students.”
There is $521,660 available, with eligible students receiving a minimum of $500 “pending availability of funds.”
At Lamar Institute of Technology, students’ Federal financial aid (FAFSA) application will be reviewed in addition to a survey available on their website for grant consideration.
Students exclusively enrolled in online courses prior to March 13, international students, high school dual credit students, and incarcerated students are not eligible for CARES funding, according to information provided by the college.
Not all students who apply will receive an award.
Additional funding and information from the Department of Education also is expected in coming months as more funds are allocated.