Almost 4,000 University of Mississippi students have received more than $6.5 million in emergency financial aid grants supplied through the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress and signed into law on March 27, 2020 which is intended to provide economic relief for individuals impacted by the pandemic.
But because of the very narrow guidelines set by the federal government, another 2,000 Ole Miss students who applied for CARES funds did not qualify. With your help, the University of Mississippi is determined that students who need financial assistance will not fall through the gaps of the CARES Act.
Your support of the Rebel Relief Fund and the Christopher C. Holman Student Emergency Fund have enabled us to help more students in crisis. The needs are unprecedented right now. Donors like YOU are standing in the gap for our Ole Miss students.
According to Financial Aid Director Laura Diven-Brown, there are two main reasons that students get rejected for federal aid from CARES.
First, according to CARES regulations, the student must have incurred additional expenses due to the pandemic. For example, a student had to buy a computer because his course moved online. That expense qualifies for a CARES grant. But a student who lost the two jobs they worked to pay rent does not qualify for CARES funds, because the rent is not a new expense.
“We’ve had students whose parents are sick with COVID-19, and they still do not qualify for CARES Act funds. Although the family has more financial need now, they do not have student expenses that are specifically related to campus disruption,” Diven-Brown said. “Having access to Rebel Relief funds means we are able to help those students anyway, on our terms. But there are many more requests out there than available funds, unfortunately.”
One glaring gap in CARES funds is that international students do not qualify for the federal aid grants. At the same time, international students face additional challenging obstacles due to other federal regulations, said Kate Forster, director of advocacy for Ole Miss students.
“Due to visa restrictions, these students can typically only work on campus, and currently, almost all students have lost on-campus jobs,” Forster said. “These students may be unable to travel home due to lockdowns or travel bans in their home countries or for fear that they may not be able to reenter the United States after traveling. I know many international students feel afraid and uncertain about their futures.”
With your support, Rebel Relief and the Student Emergency Fund have been used to help students who have lost jobs, students who have sick family members, students whose parents lost businesses or jobs and worry about being able to afford the rest of their child’s college costs, international students and many, many more.
The University of Mississippi is committed to supporting every member of our family. We’re doing everything we can to make sure our students have the resources they need to continue their education and remain safe and healthy. But as the pandemic enters its fourth month – and as gaps in federal aid show – we still need your help.
Please consider making a gift to the Rebel Relief Fund, Christopher C. Holman Student Emergency Fund or others that will make an immediate impact. Help us stand in the gap for Ole Miss students in need.