Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board organizes emergency relief for students impacted by COVID-19

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Photo Credit: Destiny Alexander | Daily Texan Staff

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is seeking applications from institutions for three different grants under the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund, a $175 million fund established over the summer to provide aid to students who have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. 

“The (fund) is federal financial assistance for Texas undergraduate students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to support them in remaining enrolled in college and on track to attaining their postsecondary education,” Amanda Karr, director of marketing and communications, said in an email.

According to a press release by the board, there are three grants available within the fund: the Open Educational Resources Grant, Texas Reskilling Support Fund and Emergency Educational Grant. All of the assistance provided under the fund was made available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, according to a press release by the Office of the Texas Governor.  

Applications for the Texas Reskilling Support Fund are available until Nov. 12, according to the press release. 

“The (fund) encourages collaboration so that we can make as many programs available to students who are looking to come back in (to school),” board deputy commissioner Ray Martinez said. 

 

Martinez said the reskilling fund aims to provide assistance for people who were unable to continue their college education as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Awarding of grant packages is expected to take place in early December, he said.

“The idea is for individuals who might have been disrupted in their higher-ed journey who lost their job and could not afford to continue to go to college,” Martinez said. 

 The Open Educational Resources Grant allocates a portion of the total $175 million to enhance resources for online courses, according to the press release.  

“The competitive grant program will enhance the quality of online course offerings and reduce the costs of educational materials for students at Texas public and independent institutions of higher education,” the press release said.

According to the release, the Open Educational Resources Grant is available for Texas institutions and is expected to have three rounds of grant awards: Nov. 17, Dec. 15 and Jan. 11, 2021.

Applications for additional financial aid allocated from the fund were due Nov. 2, and more than 3,000 UT students received aid equaling a total payout of over $1.5 million, Karr said.