UI financial aid options remain available during pandemic

An+Illinois+student+enters+the+Student+Financial+Aid+office+on+Oct.+22%2C+2018.+Illinois+continues+to+utilize+COVID-19+Supplemental+Stimulus+Funding+on+student+tuitions+and+funding+for+the+institution.

The Daily Illini File Photo

An Illinois student enters the Student Financial Aid office on Oct. 22, 2018. Illinois continues to utilize COVID-19 Supplemental Stimulus Funding on student tuitions and funding for the institution.

By Payal Rathore, Staff Writer

The University’s financial need-based program in response to the coronavirus continues to be implemented, along with programs such as Illinois Promise and Illinois Commitment. The COVID-19 Supplemental Stimulus Funding is a temporary program that will be brought to an end once the pandemic subsides. This program also covers graduate students.

Under Illinois Commitment, eligible students receive financial aid that provides scholarships covering the entire tuition cost and campus fees. Illinois Promise, on the other hand, is inclusive of not just the tuition and fees, but room and board, textbooks and other such expenses.

The COVID-19 Supplemental Stimulus Funding consists of two components: funding for students and funding for the institution. 

According to the website of the Office of Student Financial Aid, the Coronavirus Response and Relied Supplemental Appropriations Act “includes additional funding for an Education Stabilization Fund of which a portion of the funding will be directed toward institutions of higher education.”

The website also states the University “is awaiting guidance from the Department of Education regarding the regulations and requirements for the use of these funds.”

“A round of the emergency grant funding by the federal government was provided in the Spring semester of 2020,” said Michelle Trame, director of the Office of Student Financial Aid. 

This was the first of three packages, which includes the recently passed higher education relief fund. The third package is still underway as discussions regarding the same take place.

“There is a special circumstance form which can be filled by students in case a parent loses their job or in case there is a death in the family,” Trame said, stating that the form filled will allow for re-evaluation of need-based financial aid for the concerned student.

“Fundraising for emergency grant funding as well as individual sources are also contributing to the financial aid provided,” Trame said. 

The Emergency Dean Fund, one such other source of funding, utilizes donations from University alumni and supporters to help students facing temporary hardship due to an unforeseen emergency. The 2021-2022 Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or the FAFSA, was also made available on Oct. 1.

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