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Howard Community College Offers Funding for Students Hit By Pandemic-Related Financial Losses, Increased Costs

Howard County Community College is offering support to students financially harmed by the pandemic through the loss of personal or family income, changes in childcare or increased technology costs.

“The new COVID-19 special funding available to Howard Community College students is critically important in helping students to continue pursuing their educational goals,” Tamika Bybee, Howard Community College director of financial aid services, said in a statement. 

“We want all of our current and prospective students, especially those impacted by COVID-19, to know that financial assistance is available to help them afford and succeed in college.”

Students who confirm that they have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, are enrolled in at least one credit hour and have accepted Howard Community College’s required aid agreement can receive the funding, said Elizabeth Homan, a college spokeswoman.

There is no application required, according to Homan. Instead, students can go into their self-service portal to accept the required aid agreement and will be notified once the funds are awarded. Students can find out more about the process at howardcc.edu/fundyourfuture. 

Howard Community College will begin reviewing funding for those eligible on September 17 and distribute the money once enrollment is confirmed, Homan continued. 

The financial award will vary based on how many students are eligible for consideration. Howard Community College plans to spend $4 million this fall and another $4 million in the spring. In the past, students have received between $150 to $2,500, Homan said. 

Federal pandemic relief packages included a Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) to support students who have been impacted by COVID-19.

So far, Howard Community College has given $5.8 million of its federal relief funding to 4,480 students, according to a press release. The college is expected to receive $13.7 million in federal stimulus funding to support students.

Howard Community College also received $18.7 million in institutional funding, which was used for campus safety, technology and to make up for budget shortfalls, according to Homan. 

DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) students, Maryland Dream Act students, undocumented students and international students are also eligible for the coronavirus funding, according to a press release. 

Last year, Betsy Devos, the education secretary for Donald J. Trump, prohibited colleges from granting emergency assistance to international and undocumented students. In May, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona from the Biden administration lifted the ban. 

Howard Community College classes begin on August 28 with in-person and remote learning options. Masks are required for all students. 

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