Bellevue College students who have faced financial setbacks due to the COVID-19 pandemic can heave a sigh of relief, as the college will be able to financially support some students through awarding grants for the upcoming academic fall quarter. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) is a $2.2 trillion stimulus package to provide economic assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Signed by Congress on March 27, CARES has provided the most direct federal funding since the Great Recession of 2007. During the 2019-2020 school year, Bellevue College received $2,072,545 in CARES funds, which was utilized to award student grants.
In an email to the Bellevue College student body, Dr. Brenda Ivelisse, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, wrote “During the Spring of 2020, 1,310 students were awarded close to $1 million. The remaining $1 million will be allocated to students during the summer and fall quarters. The average award was $756 which went directly to the student so they could determine how best to spend the money.” The five categories which CARES funding would support ranged from technology to childcare.
Previously, to determine which students are eligible for aid in spring quarter, a campus task force was created to establish requirements for how students could receive funding. For summer and fall quarter, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in addition to the Bellevue College financial application which can be found on the college website. The criteria to qualify for funds can also be located on Bellevue College’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) web page. The total funding Bellevue College has received can support up to 4,500 students. Students award aid will receive a financial letter detailing how to access and use their funds.