FSU Students Receive Emergency Grant Funding


-Nick Twomey

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, students have been struggling to make ends meet with their school, home, and work life being drastically affected by the lack of normalcy in the world throughout the past year. Whether it was the shift to online learning, or hours being cut at their job, each and every student has been affected negatively in some way. However, there is good news on the horizon, as recently, the Office of Student Accounts for Fitchburg State sent out emails to every student regarding December of last year, when the Federal Government signed the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation Act (CRRSAA) into law. A part of that bill saw that the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) received additional funding that would help prepare schools for prevention, and response to the pandemic. The HEERF is a tool backed by the U.S. Department of Education, and is used to provide financial aid to students whose lives have been obstructed by the ongoing pandemic. Overall, this fund received $22.7 billion that was intended to be distributed among schools within the coming months. During the months following December’s bill, the Department of Education has granted an additional $21.2 billion for schools around the country in an effort to ensure learning continues for students during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government passed the CARES Act, which ensured that higher education would receive $14 billion in funding. Through this act, students also received checks from Fitchburg State’s Falcon Cares Grant, which is a fund set up by the school in order to stave off future financial troubles that were caused by the coronavirus. The amount of money then is similar to the amount students will receive with the bill signed into law just a few months ago.

Although the bill was passed in December, financial aid for students won’t be processed until March 15th, 2021. The amount of money students will receive is based on their current level of enrollment, and financial need. To check your eligibility, visit your eRefund account through the Fitchburg State Website. Similar to last year when the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Office of Student Accounts recommends that you use your eRefund account because of its swiftness in delivering funds when compared to mail. Through mail, letters may arrive in 10-14 days, whereas through your eRefund account, you will receive the funds in 3-4 business days. While this may not be life changing in terms of student loans and other forms of payments at colleges and universities, paired with stimulus checks now being available for adult dependents, it comes across as a breath of fresh air for some students that were struggling daily to balance the complications of the pandemic, with piles of schoolwork, and stress from other sources.