Over 2,300 apply for Austin Community College CARES Act student relief in first 24 hours

ACC was awarded $13.9 million through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act in April. (Courtesy Austin Community College)
ACC was awarded $13.9 million through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act in April. (Courtesy Austin Community College)

ACC was awarded $13.9 million through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act in April. (Courtesy Austin Community College)

Austin Community College opened applications April 29 for its new ACC CARES Act Student Aid program and received more than 2,300 applications in the first 24 hours.

According to the community college district, ACC was awarded $13.9 million through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Of that total, about $6.9 million will go directly to students through the ACC aid program.

“With the CARES Act funding, I can't say enough how grateful we are as a college to be able to have the additional support to assist our students during these times,” ACC Student Affairs Vice President Shasta Buchanan told Community Impact Newspaper on April 30. “Our students are experiencing a lot and we want to be able to help them to ensure they stay on track and that they're successful.”

Money will be awarded to current and incoming students who have been financially affected by the coronavirus pandemic, she said. Students who apply for the program will have to fill out a Federal Student Aid application and be eligible for financial aid.

“The more students who get that complete, the more we can help students with their basics needs,” Buchanan said. “In order to be successful in college you need to be able to eat, and you need to make sure your bills are paid, you need to make sure you have what you need to so then you don’t have that burden and worry and can continue our educational pursuits.”

She said once applications are completed and processed, ACC will work on a 72-hour turnaround to get money to students who are eligible.

For students who do not qualify, Buchanan said ACC has been proactive in fundraising and has additional resources and support opportunities for students.

“We are asking students to fill out one application and then from there we will know how we can support them with the best financial options and resources we have available,” she said.

Other college systems in Texas also received federal coronavirus relief funding in April, including $40 million for Texas A&M campus in College Station, $4.1 million for St. Edwards University, $1.6 million for Houston-Tillotson University and $31.7 million for the Texas State University system. About $172.5 million that went to the University of Texas system, with the University of Texas at Austin receiving about $31.4 million of that total.


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