Sunday, August 9, 2020

The COVID-19 financial resources available to MSU students

April 14, 2020
Coins, dollar bills, and a Lansing Board of Water and Light bill photographed on April 7, 2020.
Coins, dollar bills, and a Lansing Board of Water and Light bill photographed on April 7, 2020. —
Photo by Matt Zubik | The State News

Michigan State's community liaison compiled a list of available funds to students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The list includes university, state, and federal financial aid as well as other resources for students affected by the pandemic.

Emergency funds

MSU along with certain colleges are offering emergency funding for students. This money is to assist students that have unexpectedly lost a portion of their income from job loss, a death of a parent, or other circumstances beyond their control.

The colleges that offer emergency funding are: College of Communication Arts and Sciences, College of Education, Residential College in the Arts and Humanities, College of Natural Science, James Madison College, College of Arts and Letters, the Honors College, the College of Business, the College of Nursing, the College of Social Science, the College of Music, the College of Veterinary Medicine , the College of Engineering and Lyman Briggs College

There's also a fund for international students.

"MSU will receive at least $14.9 million in emergency funds for students under the U.S. Department of Education’s Higher Education Relief Fund." MSU spokesperson Dan Olsen said in an email. "The university is developing a plan to disburse the funds to eligible students and will be sharing that information in the coming days."

Loans

The MSU Office of Financial Aid is offering short term loans up to $500 for undergraduate students, $1,000 for graduate students, and $1,700 for medical students. The loans are available for any student enrolled in courses for the current semester. The loans must be repaid in 60 days and come with a 7% annual interest rate.

Legal assistance

The Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU) offers free, professional legal assistance for all eligible MSU students. Students can get advice and representation on landlord-tenant matters such as payment plans for rent.

Students are encouraged to talk to their landlords ahead of time if they are having trouble paying their rent, according to the resource list.

Food bank

Students struggling to buy food can contact the MSU Student Food Bank once a week for support. Due to COVID-19, students are required to call and place an order over the phone first. Once the order is completed, the food bank will place their order on a marked table for pickup to minimize contact between workers and students.

Federal and state assistance

The CARES act expanded the eligibility criteria for unemployment insurance. Students will need their social security number, driver’s license or state ID, and employment information from the last 18 months to apply for unemployment.

The federal act also made individuals who made less than $75,000 last year or couples who earned less than $150,000 last year eligible to receive a $1,200 payment from the federal government. Students will have to not be claimed as a dependent on their parents' or guardians' tax forms to qualify. According to the IRS, taxpayers who have filed taxes for 2018 or 2019 will receive payments automatically. 

If students did not file taxes in the past two years, but qualify for the direct payment, they should enter their payment information at the IRS website: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here.

“The IRS urges taxpayers to be on the lookout for scam artists trying to use the economic impact payments as cover for schemes to steal personal information and money,” according to the IRS website. “Remember, the IRS will not call , text you, email you or contact you on social media asking for personal or bank account information – even related to the economic impact payments. Also, watch out for emails with attachments or links claiming to have special information about economic impact payments or refunds.”

Editor's note: This article was updated at 9:15 a.m. to include information about the Lyman Briggs College emergency fund.

This article was updated at 11:35 a.m.to include all emergency funds listed on Michigan State's new website for COVID-19 relief resources and at 2:56 p.m. April 16 to include the College of Engineering

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