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Texas Southern University Provides Emergency Aid for Students during COVID-19

Written by on May 6, 2020

By: Isaiah Robinson

HOUSTON—Texas Southern University is providing the opportunity for students to receive emergency funding through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). 

A section of the CARES Act established the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, which provides aid to schools and universities for emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the pandemic.

From the $14 billion designated by Congress for higher education nationwide, Texas’ postsecondary institutions received around $1 billion.

Out of the $1 billion, TSU was given a total of $11.7 million; of that total, $5.8 million would be given to students.

The Historically Black University will provide $850 to students for specific expenses that were a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

TSU officially closed its campus for in-person classes and resumed the spring semester remotely through online instruction on March 23 because of the coronavirus.

TSU junior journalism major Mariah Campbell believes what the university is doing is helpful with what’s going on during the challenging time.

“It’s extremely helpful. We are in a difficult and unprecedented time, so this is new for all of us,” Campbell said. “For the university to continue serving the student body by providing its resources, speaks volumes and it’s a blessing.”

Further, the opportunity for students to apply began on May 4.

TSU students would need to fill out an application and meet specific requirements, and send supporting documents proving the issues that students are facing because of the coronavirus to qualify for the aid.

Those qualifications are to: have a completed free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file; meet the minimum satisfactory progress requirement; have enrolled as of March 11, 2020; be eligible to participate in Title IV aid programs for financial aid, be a degree-seeking, full-time or part-time student to be eligible for the money.

As for TSU journalism major and junior Katriel Pickett, she too believes the funds being provided has helped her friends and loved ones make ends meet during the pandemic.

“I think TSU is doing its best with the funds that were given,” Pickett said. “With a lot of my family and friends being furloughed or laid off, it’s a starting point that has really kept some of my peers afloat for the time being.”

Examples of needed expenses to be covered that was a result of COVID-19 would be: food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, child care expenses, travel expenses, homelessness or sudden loss of housing and overdue utility bills reaching a turn off-notice.

TSU freshman art major Ke’Aysa Stewart, who lived on campus as a full-time student, echoed Pickett and Campbell sentiments.

“The assistance was very helpful for me and my family,” Stewart said. “As a full-time student, I don’t have much of an income; so, it was very needed to help take care of the necessities in my family household.”

The application can be accessed through the MYTSU portal.

 Students will be notified through their TSU email address whether they are eligible for the $850 or not.

Applications will be processed within 10-14 business days.

Although the funds may not be enough to take care of all of the members in Campbell’s household, she does believe the university intended to provide compensation for the emergency troubles that were suddenly placed at their students’ feet.

“Although the $850 is not enough to take care of all of the people in my house, I think that was intended to provide the necessary things like food, resources for school, plane tickets home, and any other needs to the university’s displaced students,” Campbell said. “Of course, everyone’s situation is different so the amount needed may vary but I think that $850 was a fair amount to ensure that the maximum amount of students were able to receive something for their troubles.”

The funds would be deposited to student’s bank accounts through the BankMobile VIBE: Student Checking Account.