Youngstown State University Offers Pandemic Relief Grants to Students

In a press release issued Monday April 5, Youngstown State University stated that its students will be eligible to receive grants to help with their pandemic-related expenses. These grants are part of a new federally funded grant program. The grant is called the Higher Education Emergency Relief Grant. It provides money for students who are at any stage of their Youngstown State University experience.

How the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds Can Be Used

These grant funds will help students who have incurred additional expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Those expenses may include tuition, food, housing, healthcare, mental health care and daycare or latchkey services for a student's child. The grants can be used for any part of a student's routine expenses of attending the university or for emergency expenses that cropped up as a result of the pandemic.

Comments from President Jim Tressel About the Grants

Youngstown State University's president, Jim Tressel, said that these grants will be of great assistance to the university's students. The funds will help the students handle unexpected expenses during the ongoing difficult times. Tressel also noted that the costs of room and board or rent have been especially daunting for students during the past 14 months.

How Students Can Apply for the Grant Funds

Students at Youngstown State University can visit the website for more information or to apply. They will need to log in with their student identification and password in order to access the grant application. The university received $5.2 million in grant funds from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. This funding was approved by Congress in December 2020.

Eligibility Requirements for the Grants

A Youngstown State University student is eligible to apply for grant funds if they became enrolled at the university on or after March 13, 2020. This includes people who were already students then or who started their studies after that time. Students who are taking a fully online class schedule. A qualified applicant will also need to have an approved Free Application for Federal Student Aid on file with the university.

How the Grant Funds Will Be Awarded

The university will prioritize students who have an exceptional financial need. This includes students who receive Pell grants. Those who are not eligible for Pell grants can also qualify for these new grant funds. Elaine Ruse, who is Youngstown State University's Associate Vice President for Student Enrollment and Business Services, encourages all of the students who get financial aid to apply. If a student didn't qualify for federal student financial aid before, but their family had a change of financial circumstances related to the pandemic, they should file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid now and apply for these grant funds at the same time.

Why Students Should Apply for These Grant Funds

According to Ruse, all students should take a few minutes to apply for these grant funds. This is a rare and tremendous opportunity for a student to reduce some of the expenses they have incurred as a result of the pandemic. Similar grants were offered last year in the springtime. Those funds came from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Ruse explained those funds have already been depleted. This new round of funds will help students avoid unnecessary debt, eviction or other problems that could interfere with their education. The funds could also make a difference in a student's ability to afford their books and decent food to eat.

How Students Can Get More Information

For more information, a student should call the Youngstown State University Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships at 330-941-3505. Another resource for information about this round of grant funding is the university's Penguin Service Center, which can be reached at 330-941-6000.

Other Resources for Students

Students who have a low family income may be eligible for other types of assistance. They may qualify for SNAP or WIC if they have a child. Youngstown is served by the Mahoning Valley Second Harvest food bank, which offers food assistance to those in need. There are also a few church pantries in the area. Freecycle is a nationwide group with a local chapter in Youngstown and its suburbs. On Freecycle, people can offer up things they no longer need and ask for items they do need. The community also has several no-waste groups on social media.

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