News 11's Adonis Albright speaks with the college about who qualifies for the funds
YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Arizona Western College (AWC) in Yuma is looking to help out students who might be struggling to afford an education amid the pandemic. The college is receiving a one-time allotment of $16.5 million after President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law back in March. According to AWC, half of the money will be going toward students who need it most.
“We’ve heard of students who maybe had to share computers while they were working on school at home. You know, maybe had to go work more hours instead of going to school to help support their family", said Mandy Heil, the Associate Dean of Communications and Marketing at AWC.
The college will determine students' eligibility depending on their EFC, or estimated family contribution under the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, better known as FAFSA. Full-time students are also more likely to receive the full $1,500 payment, where as part-time will get less.
“So any students who do the FAFSA, complete the process and enroll full time will get $1,500, and then we kind of have a tiered system depending on the number of credit hours, if they enroll part-time, less than part-time.”
The funds are in addition to any pell grants or scholarships students are receiving and will not affect eligibility.
With enrollment down nearly 20% this past academic year, according to Dr. Daniel Corr, the president of AWC, the college is hoping the funds will help bridge the gap in education students might be experiencing, and get them back into the classroom.
Under the bill passed by Congress, the money must be spent before July of 2023. AWC says the other half of the funds will go toward shortfalls in the school's budget caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The negotiations over where exactly the money will be going remain ongoing.
The college plans to release guidelines regarding the extra financial aid assistance on the school's website later this week.