College Students’ COVID-19 Resource Guide
By Scholarship America
Updated April 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 CARES Act.
- We’re providing an updated guide to helping students recover from COVID setbacks.
- 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 opening again for applications in August. 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.
- That legislation includes funding for emergency aid grants to help with unexpected costs, including food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and child care. The CARES Act allows colleges to use Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) funds for these emergency aid grants, and also allocates an additional $7 billion in one-time funding. 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 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.
- 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.
- Federal student loan borrowers currently in school will not accrue interest on your unsubsidized loans, and your loan balance for the term will be forgiven if you have to drop out for COVID-19-related reasons.
- 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.
If you’d like to learn more, the National College Attainment Network has a detailed roundup of student-related provisions in the CARES Act, and Federal Student Aid has a thorough Q&A on student loan questions.
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.
- 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.”
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.