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Texas State University has created the Bobcat Cares program, which will provide $30 million for students impacted by COVID-19. Daily Record file photo

Texas State creates Bobcat Cares program to aid students

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Texas State University announced a new program which will provide $30 million to aid currently enrolled and eligible students with COVID-19 related expenses.

Texas State’s Bobcat Cares programs will provide emergency grants for all students enrolled in summer courses, prorated refunds of certain spring semester charges and a new scholarship to cover tuition and fee costs for the fall 2020 semester.

“For many of our students, the financial insecurity brought on by COVID-19 is an overwhelming burden,” Texas State University President Denise Trauth said. “I want to thank the members of our Texas Congressional delegation for their support of the CARES Act and the help it is providing our students. Our goal is to get this money to them as quickly as possible to help meet their immediate needs so they can focus on continuing their education at Texas State.”

The university will utilize $15 million in federal funding from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund authorized by the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Emergency Security Act for its Bobcat Cares program. The federal money, which provides half of the program’s funding, will aid Texas State students working through financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and help with the costs of attending the university by providing money directly to them.

“No Texan should have to give up their education because of the economic effects of the coronavirus,” Sen. John Cornyn said when university funding was announced on April 14. “In addition to allowing students to defer their federal student loan payments for 6 months, the CARES Act provides targeted funding to Texas institutions to help students continue their education — even if that means taking classes online.”

Texas State students who are currently enrolled fulltime and part-time will be able to apply for funding from the university to offset expenses incurred related to housing, food and technology and course materials.

Additionally, students can complete a brief online application showing their need for the funds beginning on April 27. The emergency funding granted through Texas State University will be based on student expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. The funding is not tied to existing financial aid programs, like the Pell grant, the university stated.

Students will receive direct funding as soon as possible, the university said Thursday. Texas State has also created a new scholarship fund — Bobcats to Bobcats — to support students enrolling in the fall 2020 semester in addition to CARES Act funding. The university aims to provide $1 million to help students pay for tuition and fees to continue their education with the new scholarship fund.

Texas State has also identified $5 million to provide all students enrolled in funded courses during the Summer I or Summer II classes a onetime emergency grant equal to $50 per credit hour up to $600 across both sessions. Funding will be in the form of a credit to students' accounts to reduce the cost of summer classes. The university added that fees for the Student Recreation Center, Student Health Center, transportation services and the LBJ Student Center will not be charged for Summer I because classes will be held remotely.

Texas State is issuing students currently enrolled in the spring semester over $10 million in prorated refunds and credits for on-campus housing for those who moved from university residence halls to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, parking fees and dining fees will also be included in the $10 million. Students who were employed through the Federal and State Work Study programs who haven’t been able to work onsite or remotely because of the COVID-19 crisis will also receive emergency grants.

“I want our students and their families to know their safety is our top priority, and we are just as committed to helping them gain financial security in these very uncertain times. Texas State will do everything in our power to support our students during this difficult time so that they can continue to pursue the education and careers they desire,” Trauth said.

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