The Holmes-Hunter Academic Building on the University of Georgia's campus in Athens, Georgia, houses the financial aid office. 

The University of Georgia will distribute cash grants to students to offset expenses related to COVID-19, according to an email from the Office of Student Financial Aid sent Friday to students who qualify for the aid. The grants come from funds through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

Each eligible student’s grant amount will range from $200 to $1,000 for the spring semester. The amount that students will receive is determined by their expected family contribution from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, according to the email. Students may receive another grant ranging from $125 to $500 if they are enrolled in Maymester or certain summer class sessions.

The payment for students enrolled in spring semester will be processed beginning May 19, according to the email. If students are also enrolled in summer sessions, that will be processed beginning June 16.

Grant funds will be deposited to refund profiles in Athena. The grant will be paid directly to students to help offset COVID-19-related expenses even if they owe a balance on their student accounts, the email said. Students can receive a maximum of $1,500 in total from the grants.

UGA received nearly $24 million from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund created through the CARES Act, $12 million of which will be used to award grants to students, according to a Department of Education allocation document.

The amount of money distributed to universities was determined by the U.S. Department of Education based on a formula in the CARES Act, according to an April 9 Department of Education news release.

The allocation formula takes into account the number of full-time students who are eligible for Pell Grants — federal need-based financial aid — and the total population of full-time students. There were 6,674 undergraduate UGA students that received Pell Grants in fiscal year 2018-19, according to the UGA Fact Book. UGA had a total of 29,848 undergraduate students enrolled in fall 2019, according to the Fact Book.

The U.S. Department of Education allocated a total of $6.28 billion through the fund, according to the release. Although the Department of Education used a formula to determine how much money universities receive, the schools have the responsibility of determining how grants will be distributed to students and the amount of the grants.

The grant will not affect other financial aid awards of UGA students, the email said. Students can appeal their grant award through the HEER Fund page of the UGA coronavirus site and have their appeal reviewed by a committee of university personnel.

Jacqueline GaNun is the editor-in-chief of The Red & Black. She is a junior at the University of Georgia studying journalism, international affairs and French. She has held multiple roles on the news desk, including news editor and COVID-19 reporter.

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