With more students than ever facing financial hardship due to COVID-19, Pierce College’s Financial Aid specialists have their work cut out for them. The team of 12 has processed 468 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act applications from students in need of anything from computers and printers to Internet and food assistance.
“Out of all the CARES Act applications we’ve processed, we haven’t had to deny anyone funding so far,” Huttner said. “If a student doesn’t qualify for CARES Act funds, we are able to look at a number of funding sources to help with their financial need.”
The college received $1.92 million in CARES Act funding to distribute to students who have been financially impacted by COVID-19. To date, Pierce College has awarded $238,400, with an average of about $1,100 going to each eligible student.
“The amount we have been awarding students is all based on their individual needs, and they are more than welcome to apply more than once,” Huttner said. “We are here to support students and help them through whatever situation they may be facing. It’s a true partnership, and we want students to feel comfortable reaching out to us.”
Students who have never applied for financial aid in the past are especially encouraged to reach out to Huttner’s team if they find themselves in need of financial assistance. Financial Aid specialists also collaborate with the Pierce College Foundation to encourage students to apply for scholarships, emergency grants and more.
“At Pierce College, we know students who work two and sometimes three jobs to afford housing, healthcare, childcare and transportation,” said Pierce College Foundation Executive Director Robin Echtle. “Our students make the investment in their education because they know that the best paying jobs require education and training. Scholarships provide funds for expenses not typically covered by financial aid; they also provide crucial funds for needs that arise through no fault of the student, such as the losses of a job, public transportation and childcare – all currently experienced by our students due to COVID-19.”
Reprinted, with permission, from the Pierce College website.