SMCC awards nearly $1.5 million in emergency relief grants to students

Southern Maine Community College awarded nearly $1.5 million in emergency relief grants this month to students experiencing financial difficulties due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The College awarded grants to 848 students using funds from the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation Act (CRRSAA). The average award was $1,741.

In all, the College has now awarded almost $2.9 million in federally funded relief grants to students since the start of the pandemic.

“This money provides much-needed support for students whose lives have been upended by COVID,” said SMCC President Joe Cassidy. “The pandemic has caused serious financial problems for students who need help paying not only for tuition to continue their education, but also for food, housing, health care, child care and other expenses. These grants are lifelines for many of our students.”

This month’s grants come on top of last year’s grants of more than $1.4 million made available through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Those grants were awarded to 899 students.

Besides awarding federal grants, SMCC has also supported students in financial need through short-term loans, grants, assistance with purchasing food or books, and help accessing additional financial aid. SMCC’s on-campus food pantry, the Captain’s Cupboard, has provided food to any student in need, and the SMCC Foundation has redoubled efforts to award financial resources to students.

To help students with their technology needs, SMCC bought 75 laptop computers and reallocated dozens of other laptop and desktop computers to loan to students. The College has provided 179 laptop and desktop computers to students in the past year.