March 30: Emergency financial aid grants for students

 

Dear MSU Undergraduate and Graduate Students,

As we work our way through the spring we would like to pause briefly to once again thank each of you for your collective hard work, patience and commitment. The coronavirus pandemic has been a frightening time in our lives, and we are very proud of how our students have responded to all of the new challenges being faced.

For some of you, the pandemic has brought on financial hardships. The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, enacted on Dec. 27, 2020, has provided a second round of pandemic-related relief funding to MSU, approximately $15 million of which will be awarded to students in the form of emergency financial aid grants.

Students may use these financial aid grants for any component of the student’s cost of attendance or for emergency costs that arise due to the coronavirus, such as tuition, food, housing, health care (including mental health care) or child care. These funds will be referred to as the “Spartan Relief Fund2.”

We are grateful for this funding and the ability to help our students. MSU has developed a system and process for determining how to award emergency financial aid grants in accordance with the law, which requires institutions to prioritize students with exceptional need, such as students who receive Pell Grants.

To that end, MSU plans to award approximately $10 million in “block grants” to all students who are within certain categories, as well as approximately $5 million in “variable grants” to certain students based on an application process. Our goal is to get help to those students who need it most, so that they can continue their studies with some peace of mind.

Block grants will be awarded automatically to students within certain categories of exceptional need, in each case based on the student’s FAFSA on file for the 2020-21 academic year. After a block grant has been awarded to a student, funds will be refunded according to the standard MSU refund process, using either direct deposit or paper check.

Students will need to apply for variable grants. The application for this will reside in StuInfo. After students apply, an email will be sent to their MSU account within 48 hours confirming receipt of the application. Another message will be sent to their MSU account within one week of receipt indicating a decision. Two to three business days following this decision, an approved request will appear as a credit on the Account Detail link in StuInfo. The funds then will be refunded to students according to the standard MSU refund process, using either direct deposit or paper check.

The U.S. Department of Education has not yet issued written guidance to clarify whether or not undocumented, DACA, or international students may receive emergency financial aid grants. We believe all MSU students deserve our support during this time. For those who are not eligible for these funds, there may be other non-federal funds available to you. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid for more information.

For more information about Spartan Relief Fund2 grants, including distribution details, please review our FAQs. The application and FAQ documents can be accessed through the Office of Financial Aid, on Together We Will or in StuInfo.

In addition to financial strains, we know the pandemic is also straining your emotional and mental well-being. Mental health is just as important as physical health, and we encourage students to seek the support they need. MSU offers a wide range of support to help you experience mental health and wellness. Do not hesitate to reach out to this wide range of resources.

We wish you health and safety as this academic year comes to an end. We are proud of the Spartan spirit you each possess and the will to make this world a better place.

 

Sincerely,

Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D.

President

 

Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D.

Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

MSU Foundation Professor