Higher Education Relief Fund Has Arrived at UTC

Photo by Olivia Ross

By Zoe Morton, Staff Writer

Some UTC students are in for a payday following new federal funding of $4.7 million allocated to supporting students with demonstrated need caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

UTC is receiving a total of $9,513,779 from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES). This is an addition to the original bill signed into law in March of 2020, which gave the university the first payment of $9 million, which was distributed in Student Block Awards. 

Congress passed the next round of funding on Dec. 27, 2020, and while it contains $4.7 million for students, it also allocates an additional $4.7 to university funding to assist in offsetting expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Tyler Forrest, a UTC alumnus and the current UTC Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance, explained that he expects the federal funding to be disputed via Block Grants, determined by a student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) range, while additional funds will be added to the Student Emergency Fund to assist those impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. 

While a final date for students to receive this funding has yet to be finalized, Forrest assures that a campus team is working quickly to follow the guidance offered by the U.S. Department of Education, but says as plans develop the UTC community will learn more. 

The distribution of these funds is necessary for many students, relieving some financial stress during the coronavirus pandemic. This is especially helpful when considering that most college students did not qualify for either distribution of stimulus checks. 

Although federal funding is just one way of lifting the burden of economic stress throughout the coronavirus pandemic, UTC students have already begun benefiting from them.

Alex Smith, a senior history major at UTC and a member of the Nation Guard, received emergency funds in spring 2020 with the first wave of the pandemic, when he was called to service handling Covid relief. 

“I got called out for duty for Nation Guard stuff, for Covid relief, handing out tests and I fell behind on my bills,” Smith said. This led him to reach out to Student Outreach at UTC, where they directed him to apply for CARES funding.  

Smith says while the process was complex, the federal funding helped cover his school tuition and propelled him further towards graduation this spring.

In addition to funds being distributed from the CARES act, UTC also offers other resources for their students, including a food pantry, telehealth services, and remote counseling. Links for more information on these resources is below, as well as UTC’s official news release concerning the new federal funding.

Scrappy’s Cupboard

University Health Center

Counseling Center   

Official News Release from UTC

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