Financial relief for pandemic will continue for students through fall

UNT Cares ACT

Article Originally Published by Makayla Herron on North Texas Daily

The fall application for the COVID-19 Student Success Award, which was introduced in spring to serve students ineligible for the federal CARES Act funds, opened Monday to continue aiding students in need.

Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Melissa McGuire said the university will continue to offer the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act and Student Success Award until they run out of funds. However, students cannot receive any aid from the Student Success Award if they were already awarded up to the cost of attendance.

“Federal funds should get us through the fall semester,” McGuire said. “But university funds will run out before then. We are constantly fundraising to raise more money for this fund, so we can support students not eligible for federal funds.”

Political science sophomore Declan Savage said they think the university could do more to help students financially impacted by the pandemic.

“I think they have done an extremely poor job of providing financial assistance to those more greatly impacted by the pandemic,” Savage said. “For those who don’t have scholarships to lessen the immense financial strain of American college tuition, the financial assistance provided by the school has been poor to nonexistent.”

Executive Director for Financial Aid Zelma DeLeon said families who experienced a significant loss of income can contact the financial aid office and see if they qualify for special circumstances. DeLeon also said students should apply for financial aid and scholarships.

“It’s important for students to know that financial aid is one of many financial resources available to them at UNT,” DeLeon said. “We encourage students to do their research and always strive to secure funding early. The SFAS webpage is a great resource for students providing useful information regarding financial aid and scholarships offered at UNT.”

Psychology junior Breonna Mills said they appreciate the additional aid the university offered but thinks adjusting tuition would be more helpful for students.

“I think the CARES Act was a good start,” Mills said. “But I feel that [the university] could do a better job at making tuition cheaper for students. If I’m not receiving the full class experience, then I don’t believe I should be charged for it.”

The McNatt Fund for Students in Financial Crisis is an emergency award available to business students. Director of the Ryan College of Business Christina Aguilar said the fund is meant to keep students in a financial crisis enrolled and progressing toward their degrees.

“While a student at UNT, Jim McNatt witnessed the needs of his fellow students that created barriers to obtaining their education,” Aguilar said. “Mr. McNatt established this fund to assist students with similar barriers to their education that can be addressed by an emergency award.”

Business freshman Jeffrey Quintanilla said they wish financial resources were better advertised by the university.

“The only thing I did not like was not being aware or notified of financial aid resources like the COVID[-19] Success Award and instead finding out about it through a tweet,” Quintanilla said.

The bell tower atop the Administration Building at the University of North Texas rings out to an empty campus on April 27, 2020. The COVID-19 Student Success Award application has opened up for the fall semester. Image by Ryan Gossett

Source: North Texas Daily