Students receive money from emergency COVID-19 grants

By Amrita Bhattacharyya, Staff Writer

Undergraduate students who applied for the Illinois CARES: COVID-19 Support Program for the Spring 2020 semester have begun to receive their grants. 

This fund enabled students to request up to $1,000 for financial hardships stemming from the pandemic. Requested amounts greater than $1,000 were considered in cases of “extraordinary need.”

Jack Cunningham, senior in LAS, requested $1,000 on the first day the application opened and received the money after two weeks. 

Cunningham has been living at home with his parents since online classes started. He called living at home a more “financially viable” option than living on campus. 

Both of his parents have been furloughed; his mom now works for DoorDash and Instacart. 

According to Illinois Policy, around 24% of Illinoisans work in industries directly impacted by the pandemic. Over 900,000 Illinoisans have filed for unemployment since mid-March. 

“I really needed as much money as possible that I could get to help pay my rent for the next few months,” Cunningham said. 

Cunningham was also not eligible for the $1,200 stimulus check, as he filed as a dependent on his parents’ tax returns. 

The Graduate College has also been giving out emergency grants. According to Charlotte Bauer, assistant dean for communications and strategic planning in the Graduate College, 1,873 applications have been received as of May 5, and 1,671 have been reviewed so far. 

The Graduate College has given about $1.4 million in total to graduate students in aid related to COVID-19. The most common reasons for requesting the grant include housing, food and out-of-pocket medical expenses. 

According to Bauer, “a very small number” of applicants were denied grants because they did not make a justification for their need being related to COVID-19. 

In addition, there were also some undergraduate students who tried to apply for the COVID-19 emergency grant for graduate students and were denied. 

The process to request a grant for undergraduate students is now closed; however, graduate students are still able to apply as of May 7. 

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