ECU to award $4.3 million to students

The Shawnee News-Star
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ADA – In the wake of economic hardships caused by the pandemic, East Central University will award more than $4.3 million in federal grants to its students over the next two months.

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) was signed into law in March, which authorized the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III). ECU initially received Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act HEERF funds to distribute to its students, so the supplementation of ARP HEERF III funds was automatically granted to the University. 

“We are grateful to be able to distribute relief funds to our students to help them cover their extra expenses brought on by the pandemic,” said Dr. Katricia Pierson, ECU president. “We are thankful for our students and proud of their resiliency and determination to succeed.”

The HEERF III money may be used for any component of a student’s cost of attendance, or for emergency costs that arose due to the coronavirus such as tuition, food, housing, healthcare or childcare. Approximately 2,500 ECU students will benefit from this grant program.

ECU distributed $45,700 of CARES Act HEERF funds in July to summer semester students. As with that initial disbursement, the HEERF III grant requires institutions to prioritize students with exceptional needs such as those who receive Pell Grants.

“It has been a privilege to work on distributing the HEERF III grants to our students,” said Dr. Brandon Hill, vice president of Student Development at ECU. “Many students have shared with me that these funds will help them to stay in school and continue pursuing their degrees.”

The HEERF III disbursements will take place in October and November, Hill said.