OTTUMWA — Since Indian Hills Community College secured $1.1 million in federal funding two months ago through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act they were able to help many students.

In late June the college was able to process an additional $146,648 to 107 students who have applied for the college’s CARES funds. The funding helps address financial needs students have faced due to the disruption of college operations.

The funds are distributed to credit students who are eligible for federal financial aid and were not enrolled in online courses prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. Students must use the funds for food, housing, course materials, technology, healthcare, transportation, and child care.

“That amount is set aside for students who felt like they had a stronger need and may need because of the disruption to their school activities,” Marlene Sprouse, the college’s president, said.

Why is it so important to have these funds?

“We want to help them so they can access opportunities during their college career,” Sprouse said. “We want to make sure their goals and success doesn’t come to a stop just because of COVID. We distributed [aid] to 107 students. It just makes us feel so pleased to be part of the solution.”

“We want to continue with a normal life and make sure they don’t have to drop out of college because they can’t afford to pay for it,” she added. “This is our way of helping students and their families.”

Sprouse said the administration wanted to have a COVID-19 relief program for a long time. She said she is glad they can help now.

“We knew from the beginning we wanted to divide it out that way and disperse that to students,” she said. “We knew coming into summer and fall we were going to have students who have those needs and wanted to be part of the solution. We wanted to address and help as much as possible.”

Students who have not completed a (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) FAFSA, but believe they are eligible for the CARES funds should complete the 2019-2020 application as soon as possible. Eligible students will be contacted by the Financial Aid department within three business days. Those needing help in filling the FAFSA may call the Educational Opportunity Center at 641-683-5315 or emailingeoc@indianhills.edu.

Chiara Romero can be reached at cromero@ottumwacourier.com.

Chiara Romero can be reached at cromero@ottumwacourier.com.

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