students walking on UMSL Quad

The Office of Student Financial Aid has already awarded more than $4 million to 2,450 students and plans on distributing a total of $5.4 million during the fall the semester and an additional $5.4 million during the spring semester. (Photo by August Jennewein)

The University of Missouri–St. Louis is continuing its commitment to support students grappling with financial difficulties related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

UMSL will award $10.8 million to students this school year through emergency grants funded by the American Rescue Plan’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III – the most recent federal COVID relief program for colleges and universities.

The Office of Student Financial Aid has already awarded more than $4 million and plans on distributing a total of $5.4 million during the fall the semester and an additional $5.4 million during the spring semester.

Mitch Hess, director of student financial services, said the $4 million in funds already released went to about 2,450 UMSL students. Students can apply online, and based on the information they provide, the university will award a grant of $2,500, $1,500 or $500.

These emergency grants are assisting students with food or housing insecurity, medical expenses, childcare or lack of access to technology or other materials needed to continue their educational pursuits.

The amount each student receives is specifically based on their 2021-2022 Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

“The amount is based on what’s called their EFC, or ‘expected family contribution’ from their FAFSA,” Hess explained. “Students that have zero EFC – think of a full Pell-eligible student – students that have the most need, get the biggest dollar amount.”

Students with an EFC of less than $12,000 will receive a $1,500 grant, and anyone who hasn’t completed a FAFSA or didn’t have the option, such as international students, will receive $500.

UMSL previously distributed $2.9 million in funding through the CARES Act in May 2020 and an additional $2.9 million in funding provided by the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.

Hess added that the previous funding wasn’t available to DACA or international students, but this school year it is.

Additionally, students can apply the funds directly to their student account balances or receive them directly via deposit or check. Hess stressed that students can only receive one grant per semester. He said the university hasn’t determined when it will start taking applications for the spring semester.

The additional financial support is making a real difference for a significant portion of the student population.

“It’s a big help,” Hess said. “This is really trying to get them through this.”

To access the application, click here.

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