Thousands of students at Gulf Coast State College receive COVID-19 relief

Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 5:44 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - On Wednesday, many students at Gulf Coast State College logged into their school accounts, and were shocked.

“It was certainly a surprise. It was very exciting. And I was very happy,” Ashton Norton said.

More than $1.3 million was distributed among eligible students. Each received about $500, give or take.

“They didn’t have any idea that it was really happening. We just started dispersing money this week,” Gulf Coast State College Financial Aid Director Kristopher Hatcher said.

The money comes from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA).

“This is just more generally to help students, to keep them in school, and help them to eventually graduate,” Hatcher explained.

And many say they couldn’t be more grateful.

“It’s just a blessing really you know because with so much negativity in the world right now, it’s good to have a little positivity every once in a while, and that’s exactly what this was. A breath of fresh air,” Norton said.

“Money is hard to come by with covid going around so anything helps,” Aaron Manley said.

Students in a degree or certificate program taking at least five credits were qualified and didn’t even need to apply. Those awarded, can put that money towards anything that would help them attend classes, including tuition, books, food, housing, and health care.

The added money gives these students hope.

“People haven’t really been the happiest here on campus. It’s been pretty evident to see. Not just from myself but others as well. But with this relief, I feel like they kind of have some hope now,” Student Government Vice President Beckett Hamilton said.

Gulf Coast State College officials said they’ll continue dispersing the remaining money to eligible students over the next few weeks.

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