Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds give boost to college students

Local News

BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — It’s a new semester at South Dakota State University, and with it comes a boost for students.

It’s a big boost for students at SDSU as the university gets ready to distribute about $8 million in Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds to students.

SDSU senior Calli Jelen knows firsthand just how helpful past COVID relief money has been for students.

“I kind of set it back for food and housing during a time when I couldn’t work as much,” SDSU student Calli Jelen said.

SDSU is in the process of distributing its third wave of federal COVID relief money.

Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Michaela Willis says about $8 million dollars will be dispersed to students this fall.

“We’re issuing those dollars to any degree-seeking student at South Dakota State University, undergraduate or graduate students, and we have three different tiers that we’re issuing those dollars to. First is of course, the highest financial need. Then there’s a group just outside of that highest financial need, and then it’s all of those other students,” SDSU VP for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management Michaela Willis said.

The goal is to get it into students’ hands by next week.

“If they want to use that to help pay their tuition, fees, or student expenses they can, but they could also use that for rent, or whatever they might need to,” Willis said.

Jelen says there’s still a need among students as the pandemic stretches on.

“It started long ago is what it seems like, but there are still lingering affects, long term affects whether it’s financially or medical bills for people that were affected or college students that are still kind of underwater, trying to come back from not working for so long,” Jelen said.

Throughout the pandemic, all of South Dakota’s public universities have distributed federal COVID relief money to students.

The director of the financial aid office at South Dakota Mines says institutions nationwide are working on distributing this third wave of Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds.

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