Students discuss importance of receiving coronavirus relief funds

By Tori Pender

Eligible students across the university received financial relief after Rider started distributing funds from the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation Act (CRRSAA).

CRRSAA and the previous CARES Act were granted under the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. However, when comparing CRRSAA to the CARES Act, the CARES Act aid was only for expenses relating to the cost of college, while CRRSAA funds do not have strict limitations.

According to Rider’s CRRSAA Act funding disclosure, “As of March 23, 2021, Rider University had approximately 3,358 spring enrolled students with a completed FAFSA eligible for assistance and we awarded 2,812 grants totaling $1,766,900.”

This second round of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund rolled out the week of March 23.

In a previous interview with The Rider News, Vice President of Enrollment Management Drew Aromando said it was unclear whether Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), undocumented or international students would receive funds.

Sleyker Tarifa, a junior business major, is a DACA recipient who received funds from the CRRSAA.

Tarifa explained, “It was really confusing, I didn’t even know [the check] was from the CRRSAA fund.”

Senior communication studies major Regina Askew-Jones also received aid from the CRRSAA.

Askew-Jones explained, “I used it to finish credit card payments that paid for graduating fees and other educational expenses.”

“It is helping me ensure graduating expenses are affordable,” said Askew-Jones.

Askew-Jones explained that she found the fund very beneficial, especially for students who have been ineligible for the stimulus packages.

College students who were claimed as a dependent on their parent’s 2019 tax return were ineligible to receive the first and second stimulus check.

Demara Barnes, a senior film and TV major, received $800 from the CRRSAA.

“I was super grateful to receive something because with all my money going toward tuition, I am just trying to save up as much as I can so that bills will never be an issue for me after graduation,” said Barnes.

She explained that this will allow her to take a break before job hunting and jumping into the workforce.

“My opinion on [CRRSAA] is I think it’s great, especially for those who are still jobless or are struggling. This money does help out immensely,” said Barnes. “For someone like me, who has bills, this money helps cover that so I don’t have to worry about not getting enough money from work to cover my bills.”

Barnes continued, “Like I said the money that I have I’m saving because I want to be able to take care of my mom first and make sure that if there is anything she needs, I am right there to help her out.”

Barnes shared that her mom has done so much for her in her life and during her time at Rider, Barnes said she wants to pay it forward whenever her mom needs it.

“So to end it, I am truly blessed and grateful to have received the funds,” said Barnes.

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