College and university students are faced with a dilemma this school year: whether or not to return to school amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those who don't risk losing financial aid.
Student loans are available for those who choose to not to be a full-time student for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021, but other funding sources such as Pell grants and scholarships require students to be enrolled as a full-time student.
“One of the things we want to encourage the students," said Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Vice President of Enrollment Management Benoit. "If they are thinking about not necessarily being full-time or whatever, before they make that decision, consult financial aid and be able to talk about the impacts of how that is going to be."
One solution to help students receive funding is called the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF).
“I do pay for my school by myself," said A&M-CC student Isaac Neyra. "I do get a few a little financial aid. This semester I did receive an email about the cares act so I will be receiving that.”
A&M-CC received around $10 million in CARES ACT funding.
“We’re required by law to allocate at least 50 percent of those funds that were received to assist students,” he said.
The institution is still in the process of awarding those funds.
“It doesn’t tell you the amount, but it tells you it will be deposited soon and I am really happy that it is assisting me in some way,” Neyra said.
The remainder of the funds could be used for online teaching or provide services to students who are living on campus.
"Mainly the CARES Act has really helped us," Neyra said. "It has been an additional assistance, too, for other students, so I’m really glad that they’ve helped us with that. And there's plenty of other opportunities with helping us with our FAFSA.”
If you have any concerns about your scholarships or Pell grants, contact the university's Financial Aid Office.