NMU providing emergency grants: Funds are part of CARES Act

Colorful hearts and Upper Peninsula silhouettes cheerfully adorn the windows of a building in Marquette. (Journal photo by Trinity Carey)

MARQUETTE — Northern Michigan University will provide emergency grants of up to $700 to eligible students who have been financially strained by the COVID-19 pandemic.

NMU is using its share of the recently approved CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund monies for this purpose. CARES stands for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.

The application period ends May 25. The grants will be awarded after that date.

The emergency grants can be used to cover food, housing and utilities, course materials, technology expenses, child care and other expenses.

To qualify for the grants, students must be eligible to receive Federal Title IV financial aid programs such as Pell Grants, direct loans or federal work-study. They need to have been enrolled in the winter 2020 semester in courses not offered exclusively online prior to the start of the COVID-19 crisis.

Students must also have filed a 2019-20 or 2020-21 Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, so NMU encourages eligible students to complete that as soon as possible if they haven’t already.

“Our goal is to make this funding available to as many eligible students as possible,” NMU President Fritz Erickson said in a news release. “We hope this assists those who are in financial need due to the pandemic, and that it helps students recover unexpected costs.”

Because the Michigan Department of Education continues to release additional guidance, NMU will continue to review student eligibility as new information becomes available.

The application can be completed at https://aditweb.nmu.edu/ fa/caresact/.

For information about the process, contact the NMU Financial Aid Office at fao@nmu.edu or call 906-227-2327.

Hunter ed ongoing

Eligible online hunter education students will be able to hunt this spring despite the postponement of field day classes, which normally are required. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is providing temporary hunter education safety certificates to select online students who have not been able to attend a field day due to cancellations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Field days are the required final step in earning a Michigan DNR hunter education safety certificate for online students. Safety certificates are mandatory to purchase a Michigan hunting license. The face-to-face classes have been postponed as a result of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order.

“Since the beginning of March, we have seen a significant increase in students enrolling in our online hunter education course,” said Lt. Tom Wanless, DNR hunter education administrator, in a news release. “We want to thank our online course provider, Kalkomey Enterprises, for their fast response to help us develop a solution for future hunters.”

To receive a temporary hunter education safety certificate, online students must meet one of the following criteria:

≤ Completed the online hunter education safety training since March 15, 2019, but not yet completed the field day.

≤ Started the online program on or after Jan. 1, and still in process of completing the course.

≤ Begin and complete the online program between now and the end of the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order.

Eligible students will receive an email from Kalkomey Enterprises, LLC and be able to print a temporary certificate from the student portal, allowing them to purchase a license through Dec. 31. Anyone who receives a temporary safety certificate will be required to attend a field day once the classes resume.

Survey conducted

Recently 330 business owners and leaders from all 15 Upper Peninsula counties participated in an economic impact survey conducted by InvestUP, Upper Peninsula Michigan Works and local economic developers. With an average business size of six to nine employees, small businesses across the region reported the following:

≤ 46% anticipated not being able to survive more than six months if some economic reopening is not permitted in the near future.

≤ 68% have seen changes in payroll and workforce.

≤ 50% of businesses furloughed or temporarily laid off an average of five employees.

The comments illustrated a common call for the U.P. to be recognized as its own region, InvestUP said, with most businesses expressing a readiness to reopen. Concerns about the impacts of an extended closure on the region’s seasonal businesses were also expressed.

InvestUP also reported that according to the Community Bankers of Michigan, U.P. banks lent $286 million to over 2,100 businesses during the first phase of the Paycheck Protection Program, a phase that lasted two weeks. During normal times, U.P. banks collectively process these levels of application in 15-month periods.

Shooting ranges open

Outdoor shooting ranges in Michigan were allowed to open their doors to the public this week per one of the governor’s newest executive orders.

Whitmer enacted Executive Order 2020-77 on Thursday, which allows outdoor workers to resume operations under certain precautionary guidelines.

The Michigan United Conservation Clubs has been working on reopening outdoor ranges to the public since the beginning of the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive orders, including writing a letter to the governor’s office and legislative leaders.

Shooting ranges are a vital part of many MUCC-affiliated clubs, the organization said, and MUCC heard from members across the state about the closure’s financial impact on their respective clubs.

Christie Mastric can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net


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