MTC receives $1 million in government aid | From the Observer

Funding will provide financial aid to at least 508 students and cover costs of moving to remote learning.
by: Liz Ramos Staff Writer

Manatee Technical College is receiving federal funding to assist students who have been impacted by COVID-19 and help cover costs associated with remote learning.

MTC will receive $1.02 million in Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds through the coronavirus relief bill.

The school is required to use at least half of the funds to provide direct emergency financial aid to students for expenses related to disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19.

MTC moved to remote learning March 30 as a result of the School District of Manatee County transitioning to e-learning due to COVID-19.

As of June 11, the college has sent $1,000 checks to 451 students as part of the financial aid grants.

Maura Howl, the supervisor of MTC’s communications and grants management, said the college expects to help at least 508 students with the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds.

“It was such a relief to have this unexpected gift from the government to be able to help our students,” Howl said. “First and foremost, we know a lot of people have suffered hardships because of the coronavirus. … We were so happy we had a source of funds that we could get to them.”

Students had to meet certain criteria to be eligible to receive funding through the relief bill. Criteria included being enrolled in programs that consist of 600 hours or more, submitting a 2019-20 FAFSA application by June 1, having a high school diploma or GED and being enrolled at MTC as of April 6.

MTC also can apply for a second round of funding — more than $1 million — to cover any costs associated with significant changes to providing instruction due to COVID-19.

All funds must be spent within a year.

Howl said MTC would use the funding to cover the costs of remote learning platforms and laptops for students. The number of laptops that will be purchased has not been determined.

MTC is hoping to reopen as normal in the fall but will be prepared to continue remote learning if needed depending on the state and School District of Manatee County.

“We’re grateful to our students for their flexibility during this difficult time and their understanding,” Howl said. “We’re thankful to our instructors for doing an incredible job in making remote learning work for our students.”

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