CUH Students Make Plans for Emergency Relief Funding


Albert Respicio

Thanks to the recent Student Awards from the American Rescue Plan’s Emergency Relief Fund, Chaminade students found themselves with extra money to spend.

For Amber Sablan, a Criminal Justice major from Guam who is paying for most of her tuition and rent out of her pocket, the student awards from the American Rescue Plan “is definitely something to appreciate.”

Although she does have some financial assistance from both her parents and Chaminade, as a Pacific Islander and a Religious Scholar, she often finds herself going from job to job for what best fits her busy academic schedule. Currently, she is working at T&C Surf in Kahala but also worked as a seasonal barista at Starbucks earlier in the semester.

But she got word in late October that she — along with full-time, undergraduate, on-campus Chaminade students — would be getting some extra cash from the university because of the American Rescue Plan’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, HEERF, III. The $1,500 award was distributed on Nov. 2 via direct deposit.

“So with the $1,500, it would allow me to pay rent this month and save up for an upcoming Christmas shopping list that is very important and expensive,” Sablan said. “My paycheck-to-paycheck [lifestyle] will be the thing that’s getting me by, and it’ll go towards saving up for Christmas gifts.”

The Psychology minor also said that the money would also go toward groceries.

“Groceries! … You know what I have in my fridge? Three-week-old baby carrots,” Sablan said. “So Christmas gifts, groceries, and rent. That’s awesome, I love it!”

In March, the American Rescue Plan was signed into law and gave many higher education institutions financial support for students so they can continue their education throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Through HEERF III, $39.6 billion was distributed to institutions nationwide and can be equated to the stimulus checks provided to the American public.

Chaminade students were given the three options of having the money go directly toward their tuition for the fall semester, having a check sent through the mail, or having it directly deposited through BankMobile.

“I have already actually signed the form to go to my tuition,” fourth-year Elementary Education major Alaina Mercado said. “I had to be a grown-up and put it towards my tuition.”

For Mercado, her allotted amount of money would be more than enough to cover the rest of her tuition for this semester with some leftover, although she didn’t know if she could get the remainder of that money put “towards my tuition next semester.”

Eligible college students were previously given funding throughout the pandemic under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act: HEERF I and Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, HEERF II.

Junior Maria Bernaldez, studying Environmental and Interior Design, said that she will be “saving it.” The Waipahu native said she doesn’t “really spend much on [her] clothes, food.” However, she said that she would buy things she needed first and “wait for a certain amount of time” if she saw anything she wanted.

“I don’t feel like I need to spend it on anything too drastic,” the 20-year-old said. “I’m not really the type of person that likes to spend my money, because I was raised to be pretty frugal with everything. … I know that I’ll use part of it for my own personal spending, but I try my best to just keep it all in a [saving] account.”