College Students’ COVID-19 Resource Guide
By Scholarship America
We know that this year is a school year like no other. There’s no real precedent for a college experience that’s online for some, in-person for others and constantly changing in response to a global health crisis.
At Scholarship America, we believe in student success – and, beyond scholarships, we want to provide you with some resources to help you prepare and succeed during this uncertain school year.
In Case You Missed It: Scholarship America Resources
In the months since COVID-19 hit the U.S., Scholarship America has been working to keep students informed about scholarships, COVID-19 and the CARES Act.
- In June, Scholarship America posted a Q&A regarding COVID-19’s impact on students.
- We looked at the impact of the CARES Act on students in this blog post: Coronavirus and College: Funding and Support for Students.
- Our friends at the National Society of High School Scholars looked at some pros and cons of online learning.
- Recently, we put together a guide on what has and hasn’t changed regarding the taxation of scholarships and emergency aid funds.
- Finally, the Scholarship America Dream Award is open for applications until October 15. This renewable scholarship is designed just for current college students who may be struggling to pay for future years.
The pandemic has affected millions of jobs across the country. But a change in your or your family’s financial situation doesn’t have to mean putting your college career on hold. Here are some options that can keep you on track.
- If the Expected Family Contribution you reported on your FAFSA has changed due to illness, job loss or any other reason, here’s a guide to requesting more assistance from your school’s financial aid office.
- The CARES Act distributed $7 billion in emergency funds to colleges, and schools may have other sources of emergency aid to help you cover unexpected costs. NerdWallet has more about your options.
- To find out specifically about emergency grants at your school, Google “COVID Emergency Grants” plus your school’s name, or contact your financial aid office. Here’s a general roundup of eligibility questions; note that it was published over the summer and situations at specific schools may have changed.
- The federal government has temporarily suspended student loan repayments, collections and interest charges. In addition, if you’ve received Pell Grant or work-study funds for semesters you couldn’t complete, these will not be counted against your lifetime maximum. See the StudentAid.gov FAQ for more on federal funds.
Mental & Physical Health
Whether this fall semester finds you in a classroom, in your bedroom or on a coffee-shop WiFi network, the level of uncertainty and stress can take a toll. It is important that, through all of this, you take the time to focus on yourself and your well-being. Take moments just for you, take breaks and know that doing all of that is okay.
- The Minnesota Department of Health put together 16 tips to reduce COVID-19 stress along with other resources to help through this pandemic.
- Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Health has ideas on how to stay physically active during the pandemic, no matter your living situation.
- College Consensus has released a list of 10 mental health apps useful for college students.
- Gold’s Gym has developed free, on-demand workouts you can access on their website.
If You (Or Your Family) Get Sick
Just because COVID-19 is here does not mean colds, flu, allergies and every other sickness has gone away. If you or a loved one needs to access healthcare, there are options for you for you to make sure you take care of your health.
- Use the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) health center tool to locate treatment in your area. You can find COVID-19 testing sites as well as the health centers who do not conduct COVID-19 testing so you can get other symptoms treated.
- Paul Shafer, Assistant Professor of Health Law, Policy, and Management at Boston University, wrote an article on “4 things students should know about their health insurance and COVID-19 before heading to college this fall.”
Voting and Civic Engagement
Voting while in college can be a complicated process – especially during the 2020 election cycle, where absentee and mail-in ballots are expected to play a major role.
Below are some resources to help you know what your voting options are, how to get a ballot and where you can find more information. Be sure to research the candidates and issues to make an informed decision on who you would like to cast your vote for.
- You can register to vote or check your voter registration status on Vote.Org.
- If you are voting absentee, Vote.Org also has a great set of resources for you to visit into order to vote in your home area.
- Every state has its own rules regarding absentee ballots. The New York Times has a very good resource guide that details mailing times by state.
Taking a Break
Sometimes you just need time to yourself (that doesn’t involve your latest binge-watch). You can use the time to learn a skill outside of your classes, play a game or think of something completely off the topic of school or work.
- Google Arts and Culture has free virtual tours of museums around the world. You can access them for school or just for a break.
- Google has also partnered with national parks across the country for virtual tours.
- CNET has released a long list of free things you can access, including games, books and music, during the COVID-19 pandemic.