Mercer County Community College (MCCC) is ready to begin the process of distributing more than $1.9 million in direct aid to students, made available through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“We have been anxiously awaiting the funds from the CARES Act,” said MCCC President Dr. Jianping Wang. “Our students are hurting, and many of them will not be able to complete the current semester without help.”

Last week, the federal government announced final approval of the $2 trillion CARES Act package, with $14 billion earmarked to help colleges, their students, and their families mitigate financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. New Jersey’s share is $323 million, with $3.85 million going to MCCC. Of that amount half – or just over $1.9 million – is slated for direct aid to students.

“MCCC intends to distribute funds to students expeditiously who are in need of help with tuition and fees, textbooks, technology, food, and other eligible ways to help keep them enrolled, and keep on learning,” Wang said.

In addition to tuition and fees, eligible expenses include any financial obligation that could prevent a student from completing his or her education, including housing, child care, transportation, or access to technology. Both currently enrolled students and those who will be enrolled for summer and fall semesters are eligible, Wang said.

To expedite the distribution process, MCCC has created a simple online application for students, which is available at www.mccc.edu/CARES.

“Community college students largely stay local, and they are an important part of the workforce for New Jersey,” Wang said. “When we reopen after the COVID-19 pandemic is over, we will need the participation of these students in the workforce to ensure a speedy economic recovery.”