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unidentified students walking through the VCU student commons [View Image] VCU will begin accepting student applications Monday for the latest round of COVID-19 relief grants. The university to date has distributed over $27 million in federal COVID relief funds to students. (File photo)

Here’s how students can apply for the latest round of COVID-19 relief grants

VCU will begin accepting applications Aug. 16 for the grants, which are being distributed as part of the American Rescue Plan.

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As part of an ongoing effort to provide financial relief to students during the COVID-19 pandemic, Virginia Commonwealth University will begin accepting applications for COVID relief grant funds at noon on Monday, Aug. 16. The grants are valued at up to $1,250, and students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible as funds are limited. Here are four things to know about the funds, what they are for and how the application process works:

1. The money being distributed is part of the American Rescue Plan.

The $1.9 trillion economic stimulus signed into law March 11 provides $39.6 billion in funding to higher education. As part of that package, VCU received $57.1 million in Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III funding, of which approximately half is designated to provide grants to students who have experienced hardships during the pandemic. The other portion covers the costs of operational changes and additional support services incurred because of the pandemic. 

2. The funds can be used for either tuition and fees or related expenses. 

The latter includes housing, utilities, food, school supplies, transportation, childcare and Internet access. No FAFSA information is required to complete the seven-question online application.

3. Speaking of the application …

When filling it out, students can select whether the money would go toward tuition and fees or other expenses. Students who select the tuition option will be asked whether to apply any money granted as a credit. 

4. Sign up for direct deposit. 

To expedite the process, students should use their VCU eServices account to sign up for direct deposit. The university can issue a check, but the funds will be distributed faster electronically. 

By the numbers

COVID-19 financial relief efforts at VCU

  • VCU provided students $10,144,499 in CARES Act (HEERF I) funds to 7,767 students.
  • VCU provided students $10,144,499 in HEERF II funds to 5,299 students.
  • VCU has awarded $7,209,276.52 to 2,465 students for the specific purposes of reducing balances, using funds from HEERF III.
  • Tuition frozen for the 2021-22 academic year.

VCU has distributed over $27 million in federal COVID relief funds to date. For more information, visit the Student Financial Services website.

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