Texas college students getting assistance from COVID-19 grant money

Universities are reminding students impacted by COVID-19 that grant money is available for them.

Schools nationwide accepted millions of dollars in CARES Act money from the government and students can now apply for spring 2022 funds at one Texas school.

New mom Destiny Bibbs, attends Tarleton State University and says her loss of income made continuing school very difficult. That is, until a professor made her aware of available grant money through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. 

"It’s honestly helped me take more courses that I couldn’t afford before," Bibbs said. "What I’ve been doing the last two semesters, if I have any balances through Tarleton, I’ll let them use whatever I get through the program for those balances and I get what’s left over and I’ll use those for books, you know gas, anything I need, for bills."

Students who receive HEERF assistance can use the grant money for tuition, housing, food, transportation, even day care. Most universities have offered the federal funds to students through an application process that asks how they’ve been impacted by the pandemic.

The University of North Texas has allocated more than $47 million, Tarleton State has given out over $21 million and the University of Texas at Arlington has dispersed more than $49 million. Schools must utilize the current funding before spring 2022.

UNT’s Dr. Mark McLellan says his campus has roughly $24 million left to award.

"It’s, of course, all one-time dollars. They disappear with HEERF as that program closes out but I feel like it’s made a big difference for our students and with the programs we’ve been able to put in place for them," McLellan said.

Destiny says thanks to the emergency funding, she’s optimistic about hers and her 1-month old daughter’s future.

"I was able to apply again this morning for the grant for the spring, so I do plan on using it to my advantage. Not only for myself for my last two semesters, but for my baby girl," she said.

Tarleton State reopened its application process Wednesday for spring semester grants. UNT will follow suit soon, the school said. UTA has depleted it's funding and closed its application process.

MORE: Coronavirus coverage