Gadsden State uses federal funds to support students

Gadsden State Community College used federal funds awarded to the College for COVID-19 to support students through monetary disbursements, scholarship programs and books/tools assistance. Funds were received from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund of the Coronavirus Assistance, Relief and Economic Security, American Rescue Plan and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.


Eligible students received CARES funds to be used for expenses associated with the cost of attendance, including food, housing, courses materials, technology, health care and child care. The award letter was received on May 4, 2020, but funds were disbursed throughout 2021 as well. Amount of funds received totaled $1,878,083. There were 2,495 students, or 62 percent of the student body, to qualify for the funds.


Eligible students also received CRRSAA funds to be used for a variety of expenses. The initial award letter for the grant funds was received by the College on Jan. 17, 2021. The total amount of funds received totaled $1,878,083. There were 2,950 Gadsden State students who received CRRSAA funding. That’s 83.75 percent of the student population.


The College was notified about ARP funds in a letter received on May 11, 2021. The total amount received through the fourth quarter of 2021 was $6,796,984. There were 3,419 students to receive ARP funding during the fall semester with 2,049 students during the summer semester.


In January 2021, Gadsden State once again awarded funds to students who were experiencing financial difficulty or disruption of their educational plans due to the pandemic. The funding program was known as the Emergency Financial Aid Grants. The College initially gave out grant funds in August 2020. Funds were awarded through an application process until the funds were exhausted.

“Many of our students continue to cope with economic and educational challenges because of the pandemic,” said Dr. Kathy Murphy, president. “We had students who were unemployed and were struggling to continue their education. The immediate monetary assistance provided helped ease their financial burdens.”

Eligible expenses that the funds could be used for included food, housing, course materials, academic assistance, technology, health care and child care. Funds were awarded in amounts from $100 to $1,000.


In October 2020, Gadsden State introduced the Cardinal Promise Scholarship for eligible students. The College announced in February 2021 that the scholarship would be available for the Spring Mini Term 2 as well. The “buy-one, get-one” option for students increased affordability of for-credit academic and technical courses for students who may have been facing financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The scholarship allowed eligible students to purchase up to nine paid hours while receiving an equivalent number of credit hours tuition-free.


Gadsden State offered a new scholarship to 2021 high school graduates who enrolled for the summer semester. 

“Summer Six was a wonderful opportunity for high school graduates to continue their education while having Gadsden State take on some of the expense,” said Kelley Pearce, associate dean of Enrollment and Retention. 

The Summer Six Scholarship covered up to six credit hours of in-state tuition and feed. It could be used during the full summer semester or any of the three mini terms.


In September and October, Gadsden State offered the Vaccination Incentive Program to encourage students and employees to become fully-vaccinated.

“With the number of COVID cases rising in our state, it was important that we do everything possible to encourage our students and employees to protect themselves and others by getting the COVID-19 vaccination,” said Dr. Kathy Murphy, president. “We did not make the vaccination required but we did highly recommend it.”

Students who provided proof of full vaccination by Nov. 1 were eligible for the Book Assistance Program during for the 2022 spring semester. The Book Assistance Program provided up to $500 in savings for students purchasing required books and tools for Gadsden State courses.

Full-time employees who received full vaccination received a $100 voucher to the Gadsden State Cafeteria on the Wallace Drive Campus or a $100 voucher to Gadsden State Bookstores located on the East Broad and Ayers campuses. Part-time employees received a $50 voucher.