Undocumented Local Community College Students Now Eligible for COVID-Related Financial Help

Both Yakima Valley College and Columbia Basin College have announced a major change to the availability of CARES Act emergency funding for students. As the colleges prepare to distribute the forthcoming third round of federal financial support (known as Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III), the U.S. Department of Education has announced an expansion of eligibility standards, now allowing colleges more latitude in determining which students can receive the funding. Both YVC and CBC will now broaden eligibility to include their undocumented student populations. The new ruling from the Department of Education went into effect May 14.

Under the CARES Act, institutions must use at least 50 percent of their allocations “to provide emergency financial aid grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to coronavirus (including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care).” (Section 18004c)

The previous rounds of financial support resulted in awards generally ranging between $1,000 and $1,800 per quarter, per student. Both CBC and YVC have online applications available for students to apply for the support (links below). While emergency relief funds remain available, both colleges anticipate taking applications for Spring 2021, Summer 2021 and Fall 2021. Both colleges have operated mostly online since mid-March 2020.

For more information on applying for COVID-19 emergency relief funding at YVC, visit their website.

For more information on applying for COVID-19 emergency relief funding at CBC, visit their website.

As of April 2021, YVC had awarded more than $2.1 million in relief grants to a total of 2,644 students.

From the U.S. Department of Education: The Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III (HEERF III) is authorized by the American Rescue Plan (ARP), Public Law 117-2, signed into law on March 11, 2021, providing $39.6 billion in support to institutions of higher education to serve students and ensure learning continues during the COVID-19 pandemic. ARP funds are in addition to funds authorized by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSAA), Public Law 116-260 and the Coronavirus Aid, Recovery, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Public Law 116-136. Emergency funds available to institutions and their students under all emergency funds total $76.2 billion.

Press Release Contacts:
Dustin Wunderlich / 509.574.6870 / dwunderlich@yvcc.edu
Jay Frank / 509.388.6515 / jfrank@columbiabasin.edu