A UW-Stevens Point student studies on her laptop on the patio of the Dreyfus University Center. Federal COVID-19 relief funds helped thousands of students with costs of their education, from tuition to technology.

Emergency COVID-19 relief funds helped Gabriella Vecellio, who is majoring in family and consumer sciences, pay medical bills she accrued during her first year at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

Emergency COVID-19 funds helped Megan Smith, who is pursuing her master’s in education, pay for a root canal and other dental work recently.

COVID-19 relief aid also helped Nicholas McCandless and hundreds of other UW-Stevens Point students obtain new technology. With limited employment, he also used the funds to buy food.

They are among the 6,782 UW-Stevens Point students who received Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds recently.

Recognizing the significant effect the coronavirus pandemic has had on students, UW-Stevens Point has distributed more than $3.15 million in emergency financial assistance to students. These grants – a minimum of $150 – are part of the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act funding awarded to universities across the country. This is the second round of federal coronavirus relief aid students have received in the past year. 

“Overall it was a blessing to have. It helped with the shortfall I was experiencing due to lack of employment,” said McCandless, a junior majoring in political science who completed his associate degree at UW-Stevens Point at Wausau.

The funds were processed through students’ university accounts to assist with educational costs of attending UW-Stevens Point and personal expenses, such as tuition, food, housing, health care or childcare.

A portion of the aid was available by applying for emergency grants. Since last spring, 818 students have been awarded a total of $441,958 in federal emergency funds to assist with personal expenses, such as food, housing and educational materials.

“I am a single mom, grad school student and teacher, and this year has been pretty stressful. Due to COVID-19 I am not working my second job as a server, and so I applied for the relief funds,” Smith said. “I am so grateful for the help as I can now pay to get my dental work done and not worry about going over my budget. I appreciate UW-Stevens Point taking care of this bill for me.”  

Another 53 students received a total of $34,678 from the Baxter Student Emergency Fund, a donor-supported fund to help meet short-term needs. In addition, 34 students who attend UW-Stevens Point at Marshfield or Wausau campuses have also received emergency grants totaling $14,548 through a program specific to the branch campuses.

“At UW-Stevens Point, we want to help as many students as possible with these funds. This federal support, along with other grants, scholarships and financial aid, helps students pursue their degree and their purpose through the pandemic,” said Chancellor Thomas Gibson.

More information about these relief funds is available on the student resources page of the Dean of Students office, which administers the funds.

Federal institutional support has helped defray about 43 percent of the costs UW-Stevens Point has incurred related to the COVID-19 pandemic. With state support, about 50 percent of the pandemic-related costs the university incurred were covered.

Anyone interested in supporting UW-Stevens Point students may donate to the Baxter Fund or The Cupboard food pantry by visiting https://give.uwsp.edu/student-emergency-funds