By Jason Kim, Contributing Writer
Economic struggles due to COVID-19 come with changes in regards to financial aid. Here is what you need to know for the semester:
The college has frozen tuition for the academic year, with in-county tuition at $2,286.25 and $4,140.25 for out-of-county students.
Despite the closing of the campus, the Office of Financial Aid is still operating remotely. “We have moved most paper forms to an online version and we allow students to submit any document electronically,” said Frank Cuozzo, Managing Director for Financial Aid. “We do our best to notify students of deadlines and outstanding documents by both email and text messages.”
The office has also announced a series of steps for students to take to be reconsidered for financial aid. Since grants are awarded based on students’ (or their families’) income from the previous year, those who experienced financial struggles due to the pandemic may be initially denied aid.
Students can apply for reconsideration of their aid based on 2020 income by completing the 2020/21 Special Circumstances Request Form (available shortly on the Financial Aid Office website).
The Department of Education made headlines this summer when it was announced that it did not renew guidelines set during the Great Recession to allow colleges to reconsider aid decisions with more flexibility. Cuozzo said that while the appeal process does not follow the federal guidelines from 2009, the college will still be able to reconsider students based on recent loss of income.
In addition, students who are eligible for aid may also be awarded federal funds granted by the CARES act. Over the summer, the college received $4.2 million to provide to students. Those who qualify for the funds will receive up to $1,000, said Wilton Thomas-Hooke, Managing Director of Finance. The relief will not automatically cover tuition, but will instead be given to students directly.
The college said it has handed out over $2.7 million through the CARES Act over the summer, but there are still funds left over. According to BCC, approximately 5,902 students at BCC are eligible to receive emergency grant funds.
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