El Paso Community College (EPCC) announced Thursday that the college can now provide financial relief to students whose education has been impacted by COVID-19.
“More than 85 percent of our students receive some type of financial aid so even during regular times, a significant number of students were already experiencing insecurity in meeting basic needs such as food, housing and tuition,” Dr. William Serrata, EPCC President said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created even more challenging circumstances for our students and funding from the CARES Act will help ease their burden.”
Dr. Serrata also expressed his gratitude to the Texas Congressional delegation for their work on this legislation.
The college is among many Texas colleges that are receiving a portion of funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress last month.
As directed by the U.S. Department of Education, funding will be available directly to students who college officials say have been financially affected due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CARES Act will allow EPCC to provide monetary assistance in the form of grants that do not have to be paid back by students experiencing financial difficulties as a result of this crisis.
EPCC’s Office of Financial Aid will be distributing funds to students based on the guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Education. According the Department of Education, this emergency financial aid can be used by students for course materials, technology, housing, food, childcare and other costs.
“This situation has been difficult for our entire community, especially our students,” Serrata said. “I am proud of how positively our students handled the unexpected transition to online instruction. This exemplifies how strong, determined and resilient EPCC students are and I hopeful this assistance will ease some of the financial burden.”
EPCC will make funds available to students on a first-come, first-served basis until funding is depleted. The college will send the funds directly to students, the student simply needs to apply.
Students can complete an application and expect a response within 24-hours. Applications are available online
Beyond direct aid, EPCC has been helping students transition to online learning and supporting them during these difficult times by:
- After spring break, the college converted instruction to remote methods whenever possible, allowing students to safely continue their academic progress.
- Counselors, tutors, librarians and nearly all other support services remain open and operating remotely to help students with their classes and continue their success.
- College counselors have helped students access community resources.
- EPCC waived Distance Learning fees for spring and summer classes unexpectedly transitioned online and
- Student workers paid through the college work-study program continue to receive wages as scheduled, even if they are unable to work.
- The Foundation for EPCC created the StayStrong Student Emergency Fund to help students with emergency needs like food insecurity. Donors can support the fund at go.epcc.edu/GiveNow and select the “StayStrong Fund”.
- Established EPCC Cares an action network of students and employees volunteering to help fellow students and the community. Examples of efforts include the production of sewn or 3-D printed facemasks for first responders and the Chefs Share initiative created by culinary faculty in partnership with the Tejano Food Pantry.
Students will be able to apply for these funds starting Thursday, May 14th