University offering $1,000 housing grants for Fall 2021

MSU Texas students benefit from American Rescue Plan Act 2021

Following guidance from the U.S. Department of Education to prioritize undergraduate students and students with exceptional need, officials at Midwestern State University developed a plan to distribute $6.9 million to help as many eligible students as possible through the Spring 2022 semester.

Students who were enrolled on or after March 13, 2020, the date the national emergency was declared, are eligible to receive emergency financial aid grants, including international and DACA students. As such those eligible students enrolled in Summer 2021, Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 semesters will automatically receive a grant.

The funds are a little more than half of the $13.5 million the university received through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). These funds provide direct aid to students to ensure learning continues during the pandemic. The remaining $6.5 million will be used for institutional support.

 “We are grateful that the federal government has provided these funds to MSU Texas so that our students can continue on their journey of earning a college degree,” said Fred Dietz, Vice President for Enrollment Management.

Undergraduate students enrolled in summer courses received grants ranging from $300 to $600, while graduate students received grants from $200 to $400. Disbursements are based on a number of factors, including level, financial need, and course load.

“By allowing these funds to be used among a broader student population, we will be able to provide many more students with financial assistance,” Dietz said. “We have already heard from numerous students about how these grants have enabled them to continue their education at MSU.”

For Summer I, the university disbursed 1,999 grants totaling $833,000. Estimates for Summer II are 1,056 disbursements totaling $450,000. Fall and spring disbursements will be distributed in the respective semesters, and early estimates indicate that more than 5,000 students will receive funding totaling more than $5 million.

Institutional aid

A top priority for the remaining $6.5 million in institutional support funds will be to recover lost revenue as well as help students persist and succeed in their college aspirations. This includes helping students who have account balance holds preventing them from enrolling in the fall, have graduated and have a transcript hold on their student account, prefer to live on campus and have general financial stress caused by the pandemic.

Of special interest for new and returning students is the one-time $1,000 housing grant available to eligible students who sign contracts by July 15, 2021. Notifications were distributed in early July to all returning housing residents, students who previously lived on campus and remained enrolled, all admitted students, and international students.

“Numerous studies have shown that students who reside on-campus generally realize higher GPAs and are more likely to graduate than those who reside off-campus,” said Keith Lamb, MSU Texas Vice President for Student Affairs. “After a year of relative isolation, it is important to help students achieve success by addressing financial barriers of residing on-campus.”

Additionally, 700 students, who had their college dreams on hold due to unpaid balances, received additional aid in the form of one-time grants, which the U.S. Department of Education strongly encouraged institutions to provide. As such, the university disbursed the following:

  • All students who have a student account hold, have attended MSU sometime since March 13, 2020, and are enrolled in a program of study are eligible to receive a one-time grant of up to $5,000 depending on the student’s account balance. As such, grants were applied to 600 student accounts in mid-June totaling $1,027,657, releasing all holds and opening up registration to returning students.
  • All students who graduated since March 13, 2020, and have a transcript hold on their account received a grant to satisfy their account balance. Grants were applied to 61 accounts totaling $190,300, releasing all transcript holds.

Beth Reissenweber, the Vice President for Administration and Finance at MSU Texas, said all students “need help during these challenging times, and we appreciate the broader support these emergency relief funds provide while prioritizing our undergraduate, domestic students, with the greatest financial needs.”

In addition the $13.5 million ARPA funds, MSU Texas received $4.4 million from the CARES Act and $5.4 million from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (CRRSA Act). More than half of all federal funding has been distributed in direct student aid. To learn more about these funds and the distribution of funds at MSU Texas, visit www.msutexas.edu/coronavirus/.