By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
University of Wyoming students could receive up to $3,250 in federal coronavirus relief funds to help pay their school expenses in the fall semester, Gov. Mark Gordon announced in a news release Friday.
Gordon has approved $20 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security funding to launch a new program for university students affected by the coronavirus. The CARES Wyoming College Grant Program will help stimulate the state’s economy by supporting Wyoming’s workforce through increased student retention and completion at UW, the state’s only public, four-year research university, the release said.
“In this challenging time, it could not be more important that we invest in Wyoming’s future by investing in our college students,” Gordon said in the release. “Students who pause their college education often never return to campus. This is an opportunity to help ensure Wyoming students are able to continue pursuing their educational goals.”
To participate in the program, UW students must be U.S. citizens and have been impacted financially by the coronavirus.
Full-time undergraduate and graduate level students, including both resident and non-resident students, will receive up to $3,250 for the fall semester.
For part-time students, the funding will be prorated according to the number of enrolled hours and all funding will be distributed some time this fall.
All current and new UW students are eligible. The deadline for new students to apply for admission to UW and secure additional funding for the fall semester is Aug. 21.
Students who are already enrolled and qualify for the CARES Wyoming College Grant Program funding must apply for these funds on or before Dec. 1.
The university is setting up an online interactive tool for students to determine whether they are eligible to receive funding. Beginning Monday, Aug. 10, full details and application information will be available at www.uwyo.edu/cares.
UW’s fall semester begins Aug. 24, with a mixture of in-person and online courses.
“This plan will help sustain and even grow Wyoming’s talented workforce, critical to the economic future we need after the current financial difficulties,” UW President Ed Seidel said in the release. “Fortunately, we know the character of our Cowboys. Their grit and resilience and determination mean they have what it takes to get back on track, individually and as a university.
“Postsecondary certificate and degree attainment is one of the most critical factors that will assist in the robust and timely economic recovery of Wyoming after the COVID-19 health emergency is over or adequately mitigated,” Seidel added.
While UW has an existing program that awards federal, state and private financial aid to its students, this new round of funding will be awarded in a different manner.
CARES Wyoming College Grant Program funding will be distributed as “last-dollar-in” financial aid, after Hathaway merit or need-based aid, Pell grant funds or any other scholarships or grants.
The awards will help cover expenses other than tuition and fees, such as housing and meals, as the pandemic has eroded housing and food security of UW students, the release said. Recipients must commit to comply with UW’s policies to limit the spread of the virus.