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USF awards financial relief to students for fall classes

The university will give 22,000 students the We Got U-SF Scholarship and Waiver, with awards ranging from $500 to $2,060, for the fall semester. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

With USF recently investing $20 million to create the We Got U-SF Scholarship and Waiver, many students are being provided financial relief as they start the fall semester and navigate these unprecedented times.

The scholarship, announced Tuesday, was created to help students stay on track for graduation and avoid making difficult decisions about their educational future due to possible economic hardships as a result of COVID-19, according to USF spokesperson Adam Freeman.

The scholarships will range from $500 to $2,060, depending on each student’s needs. 

To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be either a full-time enrolled undergraduate (12 credits) or graduate student (nine credits). In addition, students must not have received other tuition waivers, institutional scholarships or have the full cost of attendance covered by financial aid. 

For instance, those who were awarded the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act will not be eligible for the scholarship, according to Freeman.

While there’s no application process available, students who meet the eligibility requirements will be notified through an email from the Office of Financial Aid or the Office of Admissions, according to Freeman. With the scholarship, 22,000 students will receive financial relief from the university. 

The scholarship will be funded by institutional dollars coming from several university sources such as tuition money earmarked for financial aid and carry-forward funds, among other resources allocated for financial aid. 

“USF created this unique initiative upon recognizing that financial uncertainty may interrupt the academic progress of students, which could lead to increased debt and tens of thousands of dollars in lost wages from delayed entry into the workforce,” Freeman said. 

“Especially in light of COVID-19, many students and families may lack sufficient funds to enroll in college full time as traditional scholarships and financial aid may not cover the full cost.”

Students have reacted positively, given the circumstances. Payton Corey, a senior majoring in integrative animal biology, said the scholarship will help her manage classes and cover her costs for fall.

“I think this scholarship was such a blessing at such a well-needed time,” Corey said. “I wasn’t eligible for the CARES Act and I was finally able to catch a break when they awarded me $750 towards fall. I have the Bright Futures [scholarship] that helps me out, but I haven’t been able to work much due to the overload of classes I had been taking. … The $750 will cover most of the leftover costs and Bright Futures, and I am ecstatic about it.” 

Julia Concolino, a first-year student in the Vinik Sport and Entertainment Management MBA program, expressed relief after receiving the award June 12. 

“It will give me peace of mind financially, which in turn will help me worry less about paying off loans and allow me to put more time and thought into my studies,” Concolino said. 

Students who received the scholarship but have not been notified yet will get an email later in the week.