Harvey-affected UT students eligible for financial aid

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Photo Credit: Gabriel Lopez | Daily Texan Staff

The University is offering more funding and resources to Longhorns impacted by Hurricane Harvey, with students and faculty across campus stepping in to support and donate to these efforts.

Students affected by Harvey can receive immediate funding through Student Emergency Services, and those using federal financial aid can now appeal for more funding.

“We are very committed to assisting students who have been impacted by Harvey so that they can remain in school,” said director of financial aid Diane Todd Sprague. “Faculty, the Registrar’s office, Housing, everyone is trying to work with these students.”

Sprague said a special Harvey appeal form is now available on the Office of Financial Aid’s website. However, if students need immediate funding, Sprague said they should apply through Student Emergency Services.

Krista Anderson, director of Student Emergency Services, said the emergency fund can aid students based on need and is able to give more than the usual cap of $150 to $300, depending on the case.

“The initial step to ask can be exceptionally difficult for somebody,” Anderson said. “We try every way possible to give some sort of financial relief to anyone that applies.”

Anderson said after a student submits their application and documentation of expenses or hardship caused by Harvey, they can receive money within two to three
business days.

“Financial hardships and emergencies happen, and those things end up impacting you personally, emotionally and academically, so any sort of support can be astronomical,” Anderson said.

The SES emergency fund is allotting $30,000 to students at the UT-Austin Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, and several thousands more to other students affected. Anderson said 70 students have applied for funding since the disaster — an unprecedented amount since the fund was created in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina.

“There’s no cap, and we’ll find the funds no matter what,” Anderson said. “We have additional support to keep us going because the need will always trump what we have
in the bank.”

The emergency fund and several ongoing campaigns on HornRaiser, the University’s official crowdfunding source, are collecting donations to help with Harvey relief. Other resources for those impacted include a staff emergency fund, walk-in counseling in the Counseling and Mental Health Center and housing contract extensions.

President Gregory Fenves has designated $500,000 for Harvey relief and asks Longhorns to match the amount to potentially donate a total of $1,000,000.

Over one-third of UT students come from areas hit by Harvey and at least 1,500 have filled out absence forms because they were unable to attend class, according to data provided by UT spokesperson J.B. Bird.

Bird said the University is trying to accommodate these students in every way possible, including extending registration deadlines, raising money and even having other students take notes for those who were unable to attend class.

“We want to stand with our students and faculty and staff who have been affected by this terrible disaster,” Bird said. “I’m confident that Longhorn nation is going to respond very generously.”

For more information on Harvey resources, UT students and faculty can visit https://emergency.utexas.edu/resources/harvey.