Utah State University is providing students with funds from the federal CARES Act in a second disbursement, this time for technology grants for fall 2020. The university has allocated up to $2 million for this second round, with grants of $300 to help pay for the additional tech costs of education during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“More than 80% of fall courses will be technology enhanced in a variety of face-to-face and online formats, and courses are scheduled to go fully remote after Nov. 20, 2020,” said Robert Wagner, vice president for academic and instructional services. “Students will need to have appropriate technology to succeed in these learning environments, and this grant is intended to help defray the cost of these expenses for students.”
Appropriate technology needed for fall will include a computer and high-speed internet access.
The technology grants are being disbursed in a similar way to how CARES emergency grants were disbursed in June and in accordance with the federal legislation. Student need is determined by their 2020-21 FAFSA, and the grant is allocated to those students who are eligible. Students already deemed eligible received an email on Monday, July 6, directing them to certify their grant. Students who received a CARES Act emergency grant for spring 2020 may still qualify for a fall 2020 CARES Act technology grant.
Full-time students who have not filled out the FAFSA or whose financial situation has changed since then, can still apply for a technology grant. Funds will be disbursed first-come, first-serve until fall or until the funds run out.
The federal government has specified that undocumented and international students are not eligible for CARES Act funds, so the university is providing a separate grant application to these students. It is funded to a great extent by generous donations from faculty, staff and friends of USU.
In spring 2020, USU received $17.4 million through the CARES Act, and the U.S. Department of Education requires at least 50% be distributed directly to students whose lives have been disrupted and are facing financial challenges due to the pandemic.
The university made grants totaling $5 million in CARES Act funds available to students beginning in the week of May 11 and nearly $4.1 million were accepted and disbursed in emergency grants to more than 6,300 students. A little more than half of students already allocated the fall 2020 technology grants have accepted their awards. More information is available at usu.edu/covid-19/cares.