College Students’ COVID-19 Resource Guide
By Scholarship America
Updated October 2021
As the COVID pandemic continues to impact student life and education plans, we’re here for you. 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 time.
In Case You Missed It: Scholarship America Resources
Throughout the pandemic, Scholarship America has been working to keep students informed about scholarships, COVID-19 and the latest impacts on education.
- We’re providing an updated guide to helping students recover from COVID setbacks.
- We published a 4-part blog series highlighting Collegiate Partners that offer virtual campus tours, as you continue your college search.
- Our friends at the National Society of High School Scholars looked at some pros and cons of online learning.
- We put together a guide on what has and hasn’t changed regarding the taxation of scholarships and emergency aid funds.
- Finally, scholarship application season is getting into full swing—visit our scholarship listings to see what’s open and what’s coming up.
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.
- To date, more than $18 billion in emergency aid has been provided to colleges from the federal government, and schools may have other sources of emergency aid to help you cover unexpected costs. NerdWallet has more about your options. Note that these funds are distributed according to individual school policies, so you’ll need to reach out to your campus financial aid office for details on how to access them. (Here’s a general roundup of eligibility questions; note that it was published in early 2021 and situations at specific schools may have changed.)
- The federal government has suspended student loan repayments, collections and interest charges until January 31, 2022. The Department of Education has indicated this will be the last extension—here’s their guidance and advice to be ready when payments start up again.
- 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. If you are currently employed under Federal Work Study (FWS), you will receive your paycheck as if you’ve completed your job through the end of the spring term. Payments can be made in one or multiple checks.
- If you need to drop out of school due to COVID-19, you will not have to return any of your federal aid (Pell Grants and/or student loans), and it will also not count toward your eligibility to receive such aid in the future.
- Participants in the National Service Corps, TEACH for America and other loan forgiveness programs will be considered to have completed a full year of service.
Mental & Physical Health
Whether you’re vaccinated, recovering from COVID or dealing with family health problems, ongoing 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.
- Looking for a place to get vaccinated? Vaccines.gov is your one-stop federal resource to find a vaccination site near you.
- Here’s the CDC’s frequently updated guidance on students and families keeping healthy.
- Colleges across the country, from Wellesley to Florida State, have aggregated student resources for physical and mental health—check your school’s health service for specifics on your campus!
- 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.
Getting Back to School
- CVS’s Return Ready program is helping college administrators prepare to open campuses with a full complement of COVID resources, and also provides valuable student information.
- Colleges differ widely in their plans to require and/or incentivize vaccination on campus; this blog has a good roundup of strategies and challenges, and Best Colleges has an updated list of schools’ vaccine requirements.
- If you’re not sure how you feel about going back to campus, you’re not alone—surveys show a lot of ambivalence about the best way forward.
- And if you’re studying virtually or on campus, JSTOR and Artstor have expanded their freely available offering of scholarly articles, academic research and art objects for study.
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″
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.