On May 8, Western Nebraska Community College began disbursing $402,849 in federal stimulus funding to students facing financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funds were provided by the U.S. Department of Education through the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund and are designed to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to Coronavirus. The funds are meant to assist with unforeseen expenses such as food, housing, technology, health care, child care, and course-related materials.
In total, 500 students received checks for direct aid based on Expected Family Contribution from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and number of enrolled credits for the spring semester. Checks ranged from $250 to $800.
“We are grateful for the support provided to our students through the federal CARES Act,” said WNCC President Dr. Carmen Simone. “Our staff worked quickly and diligently to move these funds into the hands of our students, and we will continue to make every effort to alleviate financial burdens for students created by this unprecedented situation.”
Current WNCC students are encouraged to apply for remaining funds. To be eligible, students must have a 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file with WNCC, be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen, and otherwise meet all federal student financial aid eligibility criteria. Students enrolled exclusively in online courses prior to March 13, 2020, are not eligible to apply. To apply, students should login to their MyWNCC portal and click on the CARES Act application in the Department Announcements tab. There is no deadline to apply, but students are urged to apply as soon as possible because funds are limited.
Students who have experienced financial hardship but do not qualify for federal funds can still apply for assistance. The WNCC Foundation facilitates a Student Emergency Funds account and is available to any student who has a need for immediate help with finances outside of tuition costs. More information is available on the WNCC Foundation webpages, or contact the Foundation at email@example.com or 308.630.6550.