COVID-19 stimulus funding distributed to Lafayette students


The financial grants are supposed to cover unexpected expenses, unmet financial need or expenses related to the disruption of campus operations on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Baris Yazici ’25)

By Kaitlin Ahern, Contriubting Writer

As of Sept. 30, over $1.8 million in emergency grants from the American Rescue Plan (ARP), better known as the COVID-19 Stimulus Package, have been allocated to Lafayette College by the federal government. According to a recent email from the Office of Financial Aid, money from the ARP will be disbursed, in various amounts, to enrolled students from Nov. 15 through Nov. 30, 2021. Priority will be given to students who demonstrate financial need. 

According to the United States Department of Education, ARP money that has been set aside for colleges and universities is distributed through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF III). The bill, which was signed into law last March, allocated $39.6 billion to colleges and universities with the explicit goal of supporting students and education throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The ARP is the third Covid stimulus bill that has passed through Congress since 2020. Congresswoman Susan Wild, the House Representative to Lafayette College’s Congressional District, discussed The HEERF III funding, in-depth, on her website.

“PA-07 is lucky enough to be home to some of the best colleges in the country. When we are supporting our schools and students, we are supporting our community,” Wild announced in a press release. “The American Rescue Plan makes a historic investment that will secure the future of these institutions and provide struggling students with urgent relief that will allow them to stay on track, complete their education and continue bolstering the skilled workforce here in our district.”

Shiloh Harrill ‘23 noted that the funding was an unexpected, but very welcome, surprise. 

I was not expecting to receive these funds, but as someone who is studying abroad next semester and is currently scrambling to pick up extra hours for extra money, this aid could not have arrived at a better time,” she said. “I was notified of the official amount [I would receive] yesterday and was so happy to see that it will cover my roundtrip plane ticket to and from Switzerland next semester. I’m so thankful for the help.”

Shirel Salinas ‘24 and Helena Koffigoh ‘23 said that the money will help alleviate stress and cover expenses for next semester. 

“I work most days in the summer–ten-hour shifts–so I’m happy to know I won’t need to work as much as usual. I can get a break, and not have to worry about working every single day,”  Salinas commented. 

“I’m excited for the grant, especially with next semester coming up so soon. I’ll definitely use it to help pay for my textbooks, which will be one less thing to worry about,” Koffigoh added. 

The Office of Financial Aid recently sent an email to eligible students, which explains the process of accessing HEERF III funds. The school strongly encourages students to accept their disbursements via electronic deposit. A direct deposit will be made before Nov. 30 for students who have updated their banking information in their TouchNet Student Portal by Nov. 15, otherwise, the office cannot guarantee electronic payment.

Paper checks will be mailed to anyone who does not have this completed information on file. Any eligible student who has not received a disbursement by Nov. 30 should contact the school, via email, through [email protected].