BOISE, Idaho — College students at Idaho's public universities are receiving additional money from the CARES Act in the form of financial aid. The CARES Act passed in late March, and the eight public universities will receive over $36 million in federal aid.
For students at Boise State, the funding is meant to reimburse students for any expenses they incurred because the university decided to move classes online. Students had to be enrolled in the spring semester to receive funding and have incurred expenses as a result of COVID-19, including housing relocation, loss of food subsidy to address food insecurity, increased utilities, technology and additional course materials.
Karen Ngo, a recent Boise State graduate, says her utility bill has doubled since classes went online.
"My utilities have definitely gone up because I went from going to school and work from 8 to 5 or 9 to 9 Monday through Friday, and now I'm home all day," said Ngo.
According to Boise State, over 5,400 students will receive funds from the CARES Act for the spring semester. Most students will receive between $500 and $675, depending on their financial aid situation. Ngo said she was surprised when she learned she would be getting financial aid from the act.
"I usually don't qualify for financial aid, or if I do, it's a very low amount," said Ngo. "When the news was announced, I didn't think anything of it because I didn't think I would get anything. And I did so I was actually very surprised."
Funds will be available for the summer semester if students meet the eligibility criteria for spring and enroll in summer courses. Funding in the fall will be determined later, based on the availability of funds.
Students who did not receive CARES Act funding for the spring semester can be considered for future funding by completing the FAFSA application and the CARES Act Emergency Funds application. Deadlines for the emergency funds application are June 9 for summer and September 9 for fall.