Thousands of Stony Brook University students will see additional financial aid this year to continue to support them through the ongoing pandemic.
In one week in September, more than 11,150 students who demonstrated high levels of need received $12.1 million. The funds are part of $26.9 million in federal emergency aid that will be distributed to Stony Brook students this year as part of a larger higher education emergency relief effort.
“The Stony Brook community is tremendously grateful for this support,” said Paul M. Goldbart, Stony Brook provost and executive vice president. “It will help our students and also the University cope with the prolonged and pronounced financial implications of the pandemic.”
Through the federal Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, part of the larger American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Stony Brook University will receive a total of $53.8 million this fall. This marks the third time the Act has distributed relief funds to U.S. public and private higher education institutions to help offset the costs of the pandemic.
“Many Stony Brook students are first-generation college students and others work, like many of their peers around the country, to help pay for their education and to support their families,” said Dawn S. Medley, Stony Brook vice provost of enrollment management and retention. “We are proud that Stony Brook has been able to help them continue to progress toward graduation, helping them borrow laptops from the University, expanding student support services, and ensuring the students with the greatest need receive additional federal aid.”
Stony Brook distributes the money to students through emergency grants that students can use to pay off debt or to cover costs including tuition, food, housing, healthcare and child care.
“I am truly grateful for receiving this grant because, like other students and families who were affected by COVID financially, this grant will help cover expenses like cost of attendance,” said Nabila Abdulkarim, a senior psychology major. “My mom is out of work because she had surgery a few months ago, which meant I had to go to a family friend to get a loan. Thankfully with this grant, I will be able to pay off the rest of the loan.”
All undergraduate and graduate students, regardless of degree program, citizenship or residency status, are eligible to receive financial aid through the program. Students do not need to apply for the funds, or take any action to receive them. Instead, decisions are made based on each student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
“Learning that I received this additional aid granted me a lucky break from the financial stress that had me in a chokehold,” said Stony Brook sophomore Temedaya Taiwo of Brooklyn. “One of the two principal things college students stress about is money; the other is classes. The beginning of the semester, for me and many others, is about trying to find money for books, tuition, housing and other personal necessities. This grant has provided me with some respite from financial anxiety and will allow me to focus more on my studies with a clear mind.”
Grants varied from several hundred dollars to more than a thousand, based on student need. The University’s Office of Financial Aid worked to ensure that students with the most need received the largest grants.
“Stony Brook’s financial aid officers are dedicated to supporting our students and helping them earn their degrees and begin rewarding careers,” said Nick Prewett, Stony Brook’s director of financial aid. “We will continue to work diligently to ensure that these federal funds are distributed as efficiently as possible to our students.”
Stony Brook will continue to use institutional federal funding designated to support the university’s operations in keeping with guidance from the State University of New York.
— Lori Kie