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Millions available to help struggling university students

Posted at 5:59 PM, Apr 15, 2020

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The federal government is sending millions of dollars in relief money to universities including those located in the Coastal bend.

Three billion dollars is the amount of money the federal government is giving colleges and university’s across the country for Emergency Relief Funds authorized by the ’CARES Act’. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is getting about $10 million of that.

$10,105,662 to be exact.

“I'm just really happy that they’re doing something because I know I have a lot of friends that we got laid off,” said Haile Lokumbe, a current student at TAMU-CC.

College students like Lokumbe, who work in the food service industry, are feeling the immediate effects of the coronavirus as businesses remain closed while government officials try to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

But lucky for him and students who work in similar job; help is on the way.

“We want to be able to help them through this process, they’re not alone,” said Andy Benoit, Vice President of Enrollment Management at TAMU-CC.

Benoit says half of the $10.1 million dollars that the university is receiving will go directly to helping students like Lokumbe.

An online portal is being set up where students can fill out an application and receive the free relief money available to them.

“If they have a need of anywhere from $500 to $2000,” said Lokumbe. “They’ll just need to explain their situation.”

For students like him, that money would cover necessary expenses while they’re unemployed.

“Tuition, food grocers, utilities rent,” said Lokumbe.

Benoit says the other half of the $10.1 million will go to covering the costs for new methods of educating, adapted curriculum and tools during the pandemic.

“It could involve the transition to online learning and a variety of things that help the university as far as that operation,” said Benoit.

Benoit says the online application will be available to students by the end of this week.

“This is a unique time for all of us but we will make this through stronger and like they say ‘Islander strong’,” said Benoit.