While the university has not completely shut down, Missouri State University will be transitioning to online-only classes starting March 30, after an extra week of spring break.
This change may affect students’ ability to work on campus or at their off-campus Springfield jobs if they move back home. According to MSU's website, in the event that students “encounter unforeseen financial emergencies” there are five financial aid funds that may help.
The Senior Degree Completion Grant (up to $3,000), the Degree Completion Assistance Fund (up to $1,500), the Emergency Loan (up to $250), the Director’s Choice Grant (up to $1,500) and the Emergency Scholarship Fund (up to $2,000) are funds students may utilize depending on their situation and the availability of funds.
The website urges students dealing with food insecurity to visit the Student Food Assistance website.
Holly Holladay, assistant professor of media, journalism and film, first learned of these emergency funds about a year ago due to her participation in an advising initiative in the College of Arts and Letters called “Proactive Advising.”
“We specifically focus our efforts on first-generation and Pell-eligible students,” Holladay said.
On March 13, the Friday before spring break upon class cancellations that day, Holladay shared a tweet letting MSU students know about the existence of emergency scholarships.
“I shared it because I think it's something that a lot of students aren't aware of,” Holladay said. “It's a resource that’s there but you've got to know where to look.”
While these funds are a good resource to have, the criteria differ for each.
“Some of them you have to apply for it and then you have to do a ‘Student Academic Progress Report,’ which is like showing your path toward graduation,” Holladay said. “Some of them are just emergency, some of them are loans. Some of them are scholarships where they function the same way as (normal) scholarships.”
Holladay said these funds are important because MSU wants students to succeed.
“We know that this is a weird time, and we want to do what we can to help you,” Holladay said. “We know that everyone's feeling anxious and uncertain. We genuinely want to help you overcome a financial obstacle if we can.”